Thoughts on the Sacrifice of Motherhood
The following is a guest post by Imperfect Homemaker contributor Andrea.
The Lord has really been working in my heart recently about one specific area of motherhood: sacrifice. I don’t even feel qualified to write about it because many days I kick against the sacrifice involved in rearing my little people. But as the Lord has continued drawing my heart, I am realizing the incredible privilege and reward involved in being a sacrificial mother.
Most moms are self-sacrificing for their children. I was blessed with a godly mother who sacrificed day in and day out to stay home with her three children, homeschooling all of us from kindergarten to graduation, cooking for us, cleaning up after us, and much more that I am sure I will never fully realize. And while I knew that being a mom involved these kinds of sacrifices, I didn’t truly understand the full extent of it until I was knee deep in the trenches of motherhood myself.
Especially if you have little people in your home, I’m sure the sacrifice seems very real. I know – I have four kids, ages four and under. Sometimes I think they wait for my head to hit the pillow and then they start crying. I am usually the last one to sit down to eat, and often my meal is cold by the time I get to it. Just when I finished the breakfast dishes there is a pile of lunch dishes to wash. I can change bed sheets pretty quickly – I do it nearly every morning right now on at least one bed/crib. Some days I feel like I discipline for the same thing all day long. The laundry and floors are two things that are never clean! Yes – motherhood is sacrifice.
Many times I have struggled with all that I have to do, all that I need to do, and how fast the time seems to fly away. I have lamented to my husband that I never get to scrapbook anymore, or that I just spent all day cleaning the house only to have it messy again at bedtime, or that I am so tired from being up several times in the night with sick children. Sometimes I just want a little time for myself. Sometimes I just wish I could stop and take a vacation from mothering. But then the Lord reminds me: motherhood is sacrifice.
This point was really brought home to me when I came face to face with these facts. Did you ever stop to consider that your child is an eternal soul? That one day – he/she will spend all of eternity in either heaven or hell? If that is not sobering enough, consider that your child is entrusted to you for the first 20-ish years of this eternal existence. And then consider the fact that we only get one chance at this mothering thing. We can’t put it off until later or a more convenient time, we can’t start in when they are a teenager and hope to fix all the problems, and we can’t go back and do it over a different way.
I had never seen parenting from that perspective before. I get to be the one to influence and raise my children for the first 20-ish years of their eternal existence. My children are really the only thing I can take with me when I die. The house? It stays here. The money? It will be left to someone else. The scrapbooks/hobbies? They will probably end up in the garbage one day. But my kids – I can take them with me for eternity…If I am willing to sacrifice what I want now for what I want my kids to be someday. Because motherhood is sacrifice.
It really comes down to what is most important to me. I could put my kids in day care so that I could pursue a career which will ultimately be of no lasting value. I could be selfish with my time and energy, insisting upon “me time” instead of pouring the Gospel into my children’s lives and living it before them. I can fuss over having a clean house instead of playing with my kids and building life-changing relationships with them. Motherhood is sacrifice.
Now I am not saying you can’t ever have any “me time.” Or that you can’t ever leave your children with someone else. But I am saying we should be willing to sacrifice some of the temporal pleasures and entertainment in order to be the right kind of mother to our children. My scrapbooking can be picked up again when my kids are bigger or on their own. Eventually I will not have a living room full of toys. There will be time for hobbies or pursuits later.
If I neglect my children now for other things which I deem to be more valuable, then one day I will be left with empty arms and fading accomplishments. But if I sacrifice temporal things now in order to influence my children in their foundational years, then when my kids are grown I will have a full heart and rewards in heaven. Proverbs 22:6 promises, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” When my kids grow up to serve the Lord, I will get to share in that reward because I will have poured my life into discipling them. That is something that is worth the sacrifice in my book.
Mothering is a hard job. It is not for the faint of heart! Many days I earnestly desire to be done with diapers and discipline. But until then I am trying to remind myself that this sacrifice now will bring rewards and benefits far into the future that I cannot even begin to imagine. So be encouraged to keep giving, to keep teaching, to keep sacrificing because your rewards are eternal!
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”