When I had my first child, everything shifted. I welcomed the shift, because as I held his warm body next to mine, I realized that the entire meaning of my life had now taken a new course. No one can really prepare you for that when you are expecting your first child. It’s simply something that happens. It’s a good thing.
It can also lead to an identity crisis.
Before having children, I operated in full freedom. Putting faith in action seemed so much easier then, because I could get up and go when I felt like I needed to. Add a child to the mix, however, and suddenly everything gets a little more complicated. It happened rather slowly. In fact, I didn’t even realize it was happening until many years later, when I had three children, all pulling at my feet and vying for my undivided attention.
I had gone from a doer to a talker.
Where once I was quick to put faith in action – serving my neighbors, going on mission trips, participating in service projects – now I fell into the trap of talking about how important those things were, but not actually doing any of them.
I even shied away from making meals to friends having new babies because the effort it took overwhelmed me entirely.
I got so caught up in the mire of young motherhood that I forgot the most important tenet of my faith:
“What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?” James 14-19
There is a level of practicality that must come with the role of motherhood.
We simply are not free to pursue every whim of our hearts because the responsibility of raising children is too great to push aside. The greatest ministry opportunities now rest inside the walls of our own home, and this is a grand privilege, indeed.
But this doesn’t mean that our faith can’t be put into action outside our homes as well. My usefulness to the kingdom of God is not limited to my children. I can still put my faith into action outside, and I should. My children need to see me serving others, pouring myself out, and growing in both faith and deed. This will model to them more than a simple faith in words.
As I model an active faith, I will also have the distinct privilege of working and serving alongside my children, and the true joy in this is that my children teach me, more than anyone else, what it means to serve joyfully and whole heartedly. They love to know they are being helpful.
The faith of a child, passed from them to me. This is the beauty of motherhood.
A prayer for your mother’s heart:
Dear Lord, give me a heart that loves to serve you beyond the walls of my home. Give us opportunities as a family to serve our neighbors and the world, and grow our faith together as we put it into action. In Your Precious Name. Amen