Mothering Like Jesus

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10

Sometimes, being a stay at home mom is a struggle. There is a point where doing the same thing again and again every day starts to feel meaningless. This verse from Ephesians should be an encouragement, but to be honest, it can be discouraging. Part of me wonders what kind of good works God could possibly have prepared for me to do here in this house every single day with two children. And for how many years? My oldest is just four, and a third baby is due in the spring.

What are these good works? Laundry? Vacuuming? Wiping up messes? I know these tasks matter, but on some level it is a bit depressing to think that these are the good things God has planned for me to do for the next 15 years. I find some days so absolutely boring and joyless. When I feel this way, I know in my heart that something is wrong with my perspective.

As Christians we know we are born into God’s family, and then we are called to invite others to be part of that family as well. We have been given a wonderful gift, and now our life purpose is to give it away. It is a gift that never runs out, and it is there for anyone who wants to receive it. This is such an amazing truth, but sometimes it can be hard to see what that means for your individual life. What does it look like for me, as a stay at home mom, to live like this? It can feel like if I am not out serving in some “big” way, I am not doing anything of significance for God’s Kingdom.

But Jesus served in small ways and big ways. Some of his most significant work was investing in 12 men, just while doing regular every day life. He walked with them, talked with them, lead them by example, taught them through regular mundane moments, and he served them. Those 12 men went on to change the world forever. Jesus invested in these men in very small ways, but when put in proper context, we see that there was really nothing small about those supposedly mundane moments that he spent with them.

In Deuteronomy 6:4-7, God instructs his people concerning their children: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise…”

Here God instructs parents on how to teach children. And it is surprisingly similar to how Jesus walked with his “children”, the disciples. He is our perfect example of what it looks like to parent in a way that puts God at the centre.

When I reduce my role as a mom to tasks, I have missed the point completely. I fail to see the significance of what I am doing with the children God has entrusted me with. It’s not about “getting stuff done”, it’s about giving them Jesus. All of the mundane moments are opportunities for me to show them what God is like, and what walking with him looks like. And perhaps what gives it the most significance, is that when I do this, I am acting like Jesus. I am following the pattern of his life. If Jesus Himself spent his life in this pattern, why do we devalue it so much?

When I see things this way, it changes the way I look at my role as a mom. It is true that sometimes the good work I have to do might be to simply get the laundry done, as an act of service to my family. But sometimes, it might mean walking away from the pile of laundry and sitting on the floor to play Uno with my four year old. When done with this perspective, the act of playing Uno is no longer simply about playing a game. It’s about showing my child that I delight in him, and want to be with him, in the same way that God delights in us and wants to be with us. Sure, it is only a moment. But these moments add up to days, years, entire lives. Lives that have been shaped by tiny moments of intentional acts of love and service.

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