As we approach Mother’s Day, I wonder if I might be so bold as to reach across these vast internet spaces to encourage you. I don’t know you—the number and needs of your kids, the state of your marriage, your other vocation(s), your unique circumstances, your heart-struggles, or your deep fears. But I know myself (sort of). And what I know is this:
I need a better kind of encouragement than Mother’s Day can give me.
Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. You know this. It’s a privilege, yes, and a high calling from God, full of sweet enjoyments and worthwhile rewards—but often the most rewarding things are also the hardest. And motherhood is hard. You’re not crazy for thinking it is.
Day after day, you are laying yourself down to build your little ones up. You are sacrificing your interests for theirs: that last helping of ice cream, your plans for the day, precious nighttime sleep, your finances, your mental capacity, and your good desire to slow down and rest.
Motherhood by its very nature is a humble work.
This means that one celebratory day of honor won’t make up for the whole of what you’re doing, nor will it carry you through to next year. We need a better, more lasting encouragement. We need a hope that won’t disappoint us.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t receive our family’s gifts this Mother’s Day, or enjoy breakfast-in-bed, or ask for our husbands’ help with the kids. You can, and you have the freedom to. Every good and perfect gift comes from our good Father, a creative God who thought of celebration. But these enjoyments are temporary, and so are the honor and rest that Mother’s Day brings.
How many of us have come to the end of the day thankful, but wanting more? Maybe you wouldn’t call it disappointment per say, but you know what it is to yearn for something you can’t quite put your finger on, that elusive sense that all is not right with your world, however wonderful it may be. Most days, this is my reality. I wonder if it’s also yours.
Press into it, sister. It’s telling you something, something about how God wired you. Something about what God has in store for you. Something about God himself.
Before Jesus, the Son of God, went to the cross, he spent some time praying for his disciples and for us. The climax of his prayer—his greatest desire for all those who would believe in him, for you and for me—is the answer to our deepest, most elusive yearnings. He prayed,
“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”(John 17:24)
Mom, you were made for glory.
Jesus, your Creator and Savior, made you for the soul-fulfilling, everlasting joy of his presence. He both created you and also saved you from his immeasurable love, and his goal is to bring you finally and fully into the perfection of that love in the heaven-on-earth he will redeem.
You were made for glory, the glory of God.
And the result of finally being home in Jesus’s glory is truest honor and rest:
“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”(John 12:25–26)
Rest and honor are two things we yearn for, but rarely enjoy in motherhood. We may get tastes of each—a catnap here and there, a “thank you” card on Mother’s Day, some help around the house—but it’s never enough. If we’re looking to these things to help us endure the marathon of motherhood, we won’t get very far.
Not joyfully at least.
But consider what’s coming: An eternity loving and serving the One who has first loved and served you, and who forever will.
Unending rest in his presence, and permanent residence in his house.
And more than these, perfect enjoyment of his glory, forever. You were made for this.
One special day about us moms, once a year, won’t make up for our lack of rest or honor right now. But eternity will. Oh, it will. As we stand before his throne, we will discover with wide-eyed relief that serving Jesus as we served our children was worth it all, and we will hear him say, “Well done.”
This Mother’s Day, may the anticipation of his voice and his very presence—the beauty of the glorious Son—be the encouragement we hold fast to above all else, the better encouragement that frees us to not only enjoy today, but eagerly yearn for the never-ending tomorrow when Jesus is before our eyes and our faith becomes sight.
Happy Mother’s Day,
This article originally appeared in a Christian Standard Bible email last Mother’s Day. Want more encouragement? Check out my book Humble Moms: How the Work of Christ Sustains the Work of Motherhood.