Tim’s parents are our go-to people for anything life. They have been in ministry well over twenty years after being saved in their mid-thirties. They have been married for forty years, through thick and thin, have raised four strapping boys. They know gritty life, they know grace, they know the gospel. I love them fervently.
When we go and see them, as the kids run around crazy, I love sitting down and having a natter. My father-in-law and I often talk in-depth about current church issues or cultural crazies. Today was no different.
Somehow the topic got onto work and I mentioned that I am often asked when I’m going to go back to work. When I say no, I’m then asked if I will when the kids go to school. {I then have to explain that in all likelihood, they won’t be going to school.} And I said to my father-in-law, “I feel so different.”
We talked about the unseen pressure from culture, even in Christian culture, to do certain things. It’s normal for a mother to go back to work when her child is still a baby. In a friend’s ante-natal group, out of fifteen, only two mothers remain at home {age of children: twenty-one months}. And my father-in-law said to me, “As John MacArthur said to me once, ‘Just because thousands of others are doing it, doesn’t mean it’s right’.”
Firstly, um, my father-in-law has personal quotes from John MacArthur! That’s the legacy God has knit me into {gosh, I am so thankful}.
Mostly though, it was what he said next:
 
“You’re doing this [staying home and teaching the kids life at home] because you have a long-term vision. You’re looking down the track and what needs to be done now, for then.”

 

In my last post, I wrote about how important it is to have a vision for motherhood. Not only does having a vision keep us focused on the over-arching goal we have for our children’s childhood and family life, but it also keeps us from getting trapped in the ‘now’ mentality of our world.
We don’t become mothers and have only a few years with our kids before we send them to school and then return to our pre-mother lives. We have these people in our care for our whole lives – with different seasons requiring different levels of us and our devotion. And as Christians, our motherhood ought to look different to the world’s view of raising children. 
Whatever arrangement our family takes – stay-at-home mother or working mother, homeschooling kids or public school kids – how we mother must look different. A big part of that is having a vision, a heart attitude, a mindset that directs our days, our actions, our dreams, our decisions.
For me, I have explained my vision before, but I’ll quickly recap:
As a mother, I desire to dedicate my life to my family whole-heartedly. I want to be an undivided wife and mother, spending my days pouring out myself for the sake of God, on the people He has given me. Specifically for our family, this means I stay home raising the kids and, most likely, we will homeschool our children. Our desire is to keep our children in the security of home for as long as we deem appropriate so that we can: lay the foundations for a faith built on a strong understanding of the gospel and God’s Word; and to equip them with the ability to live in this world when they are ready.
I believe strongly in our duty as parents and the serious task bestowed on us. Mostly because our children are not really our own. They belong to God. And, just like a shepherd for his flock, it is our job to care and protect and “show them the way” {Proverbs}.

How did I come to this vision?

It’s been years in the making. Years of family sin, family brokenness, my own failures, redemption, growth in biblical understanding and the hope that a new generation can be different from the previous. I’ve done a lot of reading, lots of listening to faithful teachers, and lots of time soaking in the Scriptures.
During my time in the Word, over time, the Lord has gently – and sometimes strongly in times of need of direction – personally given Scriptures that have pressed upon my heart what I believe to be His desire for our family, for my motherhood. The Book of Proverbs has been a very fundamental foundation for my vision, and here are some specific verses:
“My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life.” 6:20-23
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” 14:1
“Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.” 14:26
“Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.” 19:18
“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” 24:3-4
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” 22:6
“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” 13:20
And, finally, in Colossians:

“He {Christ} is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end, I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” 1:28-29
I don’t think these are promises for our family. I don’t think God is saying, “Be this kind of parent and your children will be Christians/godly/obedient/loving”. Rather, I believe that God is saying to me, “Here is my Truth about parenthood. Listen to My Voice and not the world’s. You are called to mother these children, follow this way with them”.
Recently, my two little ones – a preschooler and a toddler, sixteen-months-apart – have been so much fun hard work. There have been many trying moments and days where I have struggled to believe that this is all worth it. It would be so easy to throw in the towel and give them to someone else to raise. I have had many pity-parties feeling sorry for myself and bringing us all down.
But then, the Spirit nudges me. I open up His Word and I am gently and lovingly reminded why I am called to motherhood. I am a mother, therefore I am called to do it. It is my responsibility, and my joy, to do it. Through God’s grace, I build our house with wisdom; I guide my children from being fools and companion of fools; I start our children on the way they should go. And I know this is what I have to do because the Bible tells me so.
 
“This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilige. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, it it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.”
 ~ Elisabeth Elliot
Having a vision, rooted in Scripture, helps me stay faithful in this job.
Having Scripture keeps me anchored in the Scriptural calling and duty of motherhood.
It is an anchor. And the memory of the moment these verses came to my eyes and entered my heart, speaking to a question in my soul I had asked of God – that sweetness and personal moment with the Lord builds me up as I lose my footing.
Do you have any specific Scriptures that God has given you as a vision for motherhood?

6 Replies to “Visionary Motherhood:: Truths To Hold Onto For The Long Haul”

  1. Lovely post, Sarah. We need to cling to the Word in order to fulfill this role we have as mothers. I love your list of scripture. I am at the other end of the season you are in and I am seeing the fruit of our work. In spite of all we have done wrong, God has blessed our family with children who are committed to him. It is worth whatever sacrifice it seems we are making at the time. Have a blessed day!

  2. Great Post! Being a mother is such amazing and hard calling. My favorite scripture about mothers is about a group of 2000 strippling warriors. Their fathers had laid down their weapons and committed to never fighting again. When their enemies came against them they laid down and died instead of fighting. 2000 of their sons came together and said they would fight and defend their families so that their fathers could keep their promise to God. The scripture I like is: “Now they never had fought yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.” Alma 56:47-48 I just love this section in the scriptures and pray that my children will be able to face hard things in life because I taught them to love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I hope they can say they know God will deliver them because their mother taught them and doubted not.

  3. Thanks, Amy! I haven't heard of that passage or book before, but it certainly would be inspiring for warriors to fight a battle with a passion instilled from their mothers. Loving God is the heart of our goal and vision as mothers. Thank you!

  4. Praying for you as you hang in for the long haul <3. Sally Clarkson's Mission of Motherhood {which you've referenced elsewhere in this series} was such a breath of fresh air to me in my motherhood too! And I'm so delighted that you have such a wise father-in-law. Wish I could meet your whole family and spend time with them... maybe someday :)?

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