hen I was a teenager, my best friend and I loved to discuss parenting. We analyzed the parenting differences we saw in families around us and tried to connect the dots between parents’ actions and the children’s success. Sometimes the outcomes within a family varied widely, and we wanted to understand why. It’s no wonder that we both went on to be psychology majors in college.
Now that I’m parenting three teenagers, I sometimes fall into a similar results-based mentality. Most of my adult life has been focused on raising children, and I hope my efforts will bear fruit as my children enter adulthood. It’s tempting to think that my children’s worldly success or biblical faithfulness determines whether I fulfilled the mission of God as their mother. But I also know that only God is sovereign over my children’s hearts and lives. They are the Lord’s vessels, not mine (Isa. 64:8). I need a shift in my thinking about God’s mission for motherhood.
Long before the fruit of our labor is revealed, our motherhood fulfills the mission of God when we glorify Him by humbly and obediently laying down our lives for our children. In our daily tasks of instructing, disciplining, and caring for our children, God gives us opportunities to pass along the truth of His Word to the next generation. He uses our work as mothers to conform us to the image of His Son and to increase our dependence on Him. And He is glorified when we obey His call to serve our families sacrificially.
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