Full-Strength Joy for Motherhood
At dawn the white light from the desert sun starts to illumine the wall from behind our dark curtains. That’s when I shuffle into the kitchen and look forward to an obnoxiously strong cup of Americano (if I remembered to set the automatic brew for the coffeepot). Each and every day, all the time, all around the world, moms wake up to long hours of hard work. “The days are long, but the years fly by,” they say. Whoever they are, they’re right.
Fake Help and Real Help
When it’s 7:30am and we’re already looking forward to 7:30pm… or it’s 7:30pm and we’ve got a full night of hard work ahead of us, what will sustain our joy? It’s easy to turn on the fake cheer—or sneer at cheer altogether. On and offline, we’re tempted to consume a steady diet of pot shots at parenting. Taking care of this baby is bloody hard work; these kids are why I can’t have anything nice; my motherhood is a trainwreck. Getting honest with others about our struggles is a step in the direction of receiving real help. And we need real help! We feel relief when we open up about our frustration. But if we’re just watering seeds of cynicism for the sake of winning a sarcasm contest we will only cultivate disappointing weeds of bitterness. Can joy flourish where bitterness rules in your heart?
“They” also like to say, “If you can’t stand the heat then get out of the kitchen.” This is where they are wrong. The truth is none of us can “stand the heat.” When the heat is on we’re parched for real help, we need to quench our thirst with precious living water. The only place to get this living water is from Jesus Christ.
Promised Manna for Mamas
The place we meet Jesus is in his Word. Through his Word the light will shine in the darkest places of our heart and light our path.
From cover to cover, the Word of God reveals and displays the glory of God who sent his Son to rescue for himself a people gathered from every tribe on the earth. It’s this Word—this truth that reveals God’s promises—that will cut through the clouds in the very darkest of times. God’s promises are what encourage you to keep going as you daily lay down your comfort, your money, your time, your energy, your ideas, and perhaps even your health for your children.
When your soul feels like it is melting with sorrow, God will strengthen you according to his Word (Ps. 119:28). Let the testimonies of God’s faithfulness be your delight and make God’s Word your counselor (Ps. 119:24). Wise up to the sour indigestion of the world’s fake soul food, and taste the sweetness of God’s Word. “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Ps. 119:103).
We’re going to need something a lot stronger than fake hope to empower our motherhood today. There is manna for us, busy, exhausted mamas, as we engage in the daily grind of disciplemaking. It’s in the Bible that we read about the divine joy of the Lord that sustains our motherhood. So, since our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18), let’s not fix our eyes on our temporary pains. Let’s open our Bible, ask God to open the eyes of our heart, and lay our very real struggles at Jesus’ very real feet and really fix our eyes on him.
Gloria Furman (@gloriafurman) lives in Dubai with her husband Dave, a pastor at Redeemer Church of Dubai. They have four young kids. Gloria is the author of Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home (Crossway, 2013) and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms (Crossway, 2014).