Have you ever found yourself in a season where you feel lost? The kind of “lost” I am referring to is not for lack of knowing what to do, but rather, lacking the conviction and confidence that what you are doing actually matters.
Recently in a conversation with a dear friend and mentor, I noted that my oldest child had just turned eleven. As a thirty-three year old, that means an entire third of my life has been spent in this role as “Mom.” I reminisced a little about life before children and marveled at how quickly it has all gone. Then I wistfully added, “I feel like I’m not even the same person now that I was then.” It wasn’t until I audibly heard my tone that I picked up on the subtle notes of loss revealed in my observation. She must have as well, because she graciously smiled and replied gently and hopefully, “That’s because you’re not.”
It is so true. I have changed. I am still being changed. There is a sense in which deep down our hearts fear exactly that—being changed by another. Doesn’t that mean something is being lost? That I am being lost? But that is the beautiful paradox found in the kingdom of God. We cannot possibly understand how losing our life is the only way of finding it. We cannot possibly see how death could lead to life. We cannot possibly fathom how pouring out one’s self is the path to being filled to overflowing. We cannot possibly comprehend any of these truths except through eyes of faith.
In Christ, our whole lives are a journey of being changed into the image of Another. Motherhood is just one of many tools through which God accomplishes this good work and one of the most tangible ways we experience this divine cause and effect.
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). The way of Jesus is the way of putting our flesh to death; it is the way of self-sacrifice—my life for yours. And what is motherhood if not one continual opportunity to lay down one’s life for another? But Jesus’ life didn’t end at death, and in him, neither does ours.
The way of Jesus is also the way to life. This reminder will serve us well in our motherhood: True biblical love is always sacrificial. And genuine self-sacrifice always feels like dying—because it is. By faith, we follow him into that death because on the other side lies life and joy we could never experience by any other means. We can joyfully lay down our lives for our children in a thousand little ways today because, when we do so, we know we are being transformed into the image of Christ. If we follow him into death, we will find that very same path leads us into the presence of God “where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf” (Hebrews 6:20).
I am not suggesting to simply lose yourself in motherhood. I am saying to believe Jesus when he says “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25, emphasis mine). When you find yourself in a mothering moment that feels like death or simply looking in the mirror and finding someone unrecognizable, take a moment to rejoice that you are counted worthy to be placed on the same path as your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
According to our flesh, the idea of losing ourselves feels like a tragedy. In those moments, ask the Lord to help you see the call to motherhood through eyes of faith. When we look at death to self through the lens of the gospel, we will be reminded that resurrection to new life only happens on the other side of death and, because of that certainty, we can continually lay ourselves down for our children with joy. And more than that, we can trust that the “new man” God is creating in us is far better than the “old man” we leave behind. 1
I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 3:18: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” God’s transforming work is done over the course of our entire lives, and when we submit ourselves to this work, it brings about something more glorious than we could ever produce by trying in vain to preserve ourselves. Take some time to read through the Gospels and familiarize yourself with the ways and faith of Jesus. Lay yourself down willingly before God and rest in the full confidence he will, indeed, raise you up again.
1 Ephesians 4:22-24 KJV.
Jody has been married to her husband, Forest for almost 14 years and is a mother to their four precious children. She has been a stay-at-home mom for the past 12 years and enjoys managing her home to serve her family well. In a new season of having all of her children in school, she has also enjoyed stepping into the role of leading women in her local church. In her free time she enjoys baking, reading, writing, and studying theology.