Indisputably, the ministry of motherhood is the most important ministry that a woman will ever have in her life. Personally, there is no place in my life that I have felt a greater need for God’s grace than in the parenting of my children. Being a mom has tried my faith and shown me my desperation and need for God’s power more than anything else that I have ever set out to do. I suppose that this is because of the infinite and everlasting ramifications of motherhood. When we raise a child, we are shaping and forming a human soul. We are nurturing an everlasting being, created in the image of God, one who has the ultimate destiny of everlasting life or everlasting death.
Our children are destined to live in either eternal joy in Christ or eternal death separated from him. How we care for our little ones will not only shape the immediate future of our families, impacting the world around us, but it will also affect the eternal existence of our children. Therefore, we can identify with the apostle Paul, who wrote, “We are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 ESV).
Dirty Diapers and Determining Destinies
But when our lives smell more like a dirty diaper than the heady fragrances of life or death… Or our days are full of spills and seemingly insurmountable mountains of dirty laundry… It is easy to lose sight of the merits of motherhood and the eternal significance of our labors. That is why mothering by faith is the sine qua non (without which not) of Christian parenting. We must believe God if we are to be the mothers that we as Christian women long to be. Believing God means believing His Word. Indeed, we will need to believe God’s Word if we are to prioritize the call of motherhood in the days of seeming mediocrity. If we want to see past the crosses of this transient banality and reap the resurrection fruit of our children’s everlasting joy in Christ, we will need to view our lives by faith through the lens of Scripture.
This is not to say that we are the determining factors in the eternal destinies of our children. Unquestioningly, God is the only determining factor in the salvation of all souls, and we do well to remember this is true, especially regarding the souls of our own children. None the less, God uses means in His saving and sanctifying works, and He appoints ministers to accomplish His purposes (2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 3:7; Titus 2:11-3:8). And, if our mothering is going to be a means of God’s saving or sanctifying grace to our children, we must pursue the ministry of motherhood by grace through faith.
Grace and Faith for All Things Motherly
Really, the whole Christian experience is one that depends on the grace that is received by faith. Christian motherhood is no different. When we are tempted to despair of our sufficiency or the significance of the calling of motherhood, we should call on God – seeking His affirmation and encouragement for the ministry that He has called us to as mothers (2 Corinthians 2:18). When difficulty seems to be our daily bread, and we feel weak and malnourished in our souls – we must call on God for strength to pour our lives out on behalf of our families (Phil. 2:17). When circumstances arise that perplex us and leave us feeling paralyzed with indecision, frustration, fear or sorrow – we need to rely on God for wisdom, power, and comfort to press on and fulfill the call for which Christ Jesus has called us (Phil. 3:12-14). In all things motherly, we must act in faith, relying on God for both the immediate and eternal outcomes of the souls of our children. In other words, we must pursue the ministry of motherhood by grace alone through faith alone.