It’s four o’clock. On an ideal day, I’ve read my Bible over nap time, but that’s an ideal day. Now a few hours later, I’m checking my email, my Facebook page, my Instagram account, scrolling through for a boost to get me through the last few hours til bedtime. The mom-centered messages abound:
–Just a few more hours til you can relax with a glass of wine!
-Remember how much you like your kids. That will get you through!
-You’re doing the hard work. Your husband so owes you this weekend.
-Forget it. Your husband doesn’t see your hard work; treat yourself.
-We all make mistakes. Forgive yourself and move on.
The unifying theme behind all these messages is that what I’m doing is thankless, mundane work but hey, my kids are cute and I deserve a gold medal for doing my job, no matter how well. There’s a culture of false martyrdom surrounding motherhood, especially in secular culture.
The truth about motherhood is that it is service, but it is beautiful, sanctifying and God-glorifying work. And yes, we all make mistakes, but I cannot forgive myself for yelling at my kids or pouring out the minimum of care and effort. Only Jesus can forgive me and help me walk in life-giving grace. These messages all turn my gaze inward, where I find insufficiency and insecurity in my mothering and homemaking abilities.
Or, maybe it’s four o’clock and I’m being careful to take in only what’s beneficial and points me to Christ. I’ve avoided Scary Mommy and all the woe-is-me, “I work so hard” blogs. So I go to Desiring God looking for posts on mothering, or I grab Missional Motherhood, hoping Gloria Furman’s Jesus-saturated words will inspire me to mother with grace for the next few hours. Maybe I’m even picking up where I left off this morning.
But am I turning first to Jesus?
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve turned to supplements to the Bible, rather than the source of grace and peace Himself. Good gospel-centered writers like Gloria Furman inspire me to live focused on loving much, drawing on the supplier of all grace, because I’ve been loved much. They’re amazing resources. But no matter how many verses they quote, they cannot replace time in the Word and prayer. Time with God himself first and foremost, not time with Jen Wilkin talking about God.
This is so hard for me on days when I’m pressed for time, or maybe getting by on coffee and grace alone. A vibrant prayer life and deeper understanding of the Scriptures are hard work. They take effort and focus I don’t always want to pour out. But they are worth it– Jesus is worth it.
This year I’m committing to run to Jesus first, then nurture my affection for Christ and knowledge of him with good resources. I’m confident He will richly reward me with more of himself– and enough grace to make it to bedtime, too.