“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd:
He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom,
and shall gently lead those who are with young.”
I have to admit, these words didn’t mean that much to me when I was a college girl singing the piece from Handel’s Messiah. Beautiful song, poetic words–but sadly, nothing that really got my attention.
However, this prophecy of comfort quickly began to penetrate my heart after the birth of my third child.
I was tired…
I felt like a lousy mother…
But perhaps the strongest feeling that I had was a deep sense that what I was doing was completely unappreciated. When it came to the constant demands of my family, I believed that I was giving myself completely to the task, but that my efforts were always coming up short.
(Okay, so maybe I still feel this way from time to time…okay, most of the time…)
I want to be a good mother. Doesn’t anybody see how hard I’m trying?
Doesn’t anybody notice what get’s done around here? They sure seem to notice what doesn’t get done!
What about me? When do my needs get met?
If I’m honest with myself, the troubles I have as a wife, mother, and homemaker have at least 90% to d0 with my own sin. My own selfish desires. My own self-righteous attitude and lack of dependence upon God.
If I want to start talking about me, that’s the brutal truth of it.
Yet, what does our culture say to weary young mothers? Does it admonish us to die to ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ?
No, of course not. Rather, struggling ladies are regularly fed lines such as these…
You know, I could never stay home with my kids. I’d go crazy! Why don’t you just put them in school and get a job?
Well, you made your own bed. I don’t know why you guys had to have so many kids. Haven’t you figured out how that happens yet?
You need to stop thinking about everybody else and start thinking about yourself for a change. I mean, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!
There it is again…it all comes back to personal peace and happiness, doesn’t it?
Since when has following Christ been about the pursuit of personal peace and happiness? If that’s what we’re selling to the lost world around us, maybe that’s why we have so many people walking around who claim to have had a conversion experience, who have subsequently walked away from Christianity!
It also seems to be what our world is selling young couples in regards to parenthood.
The decisions about whether or not to have children,
how many children to have,
and how to raise and educate them,
seem completely predicated upon what is most likely to make the adults happy.
As a timely example, I read this article in the Vancouver Sun this morning:
The author discusses overpopulation and the plight of “unwanted” children, but the number one reason to not have kids? Childless couples seem to be happier.
One commenter on the article wrote the following:
“My childfree choice has allowed me to experience the greatest freedom, independence, free time, sleep time, life success and happiness. I spend most of my time enjoying my life doing things that make me happy or will help me become happier; if I were not childfree, then I would be spending most of my time doing things that made me unhappy.”
There it is again–“Me, Me, Me!” Me and my happiness.
Now, to be fair, the author of the article does not claim to think that all people should be childless. In fact, this article is merely one in a series of articles about the choice to have–or not have–children. But no matter which side of the argument is being addressing, it’s still all about what makes adults happy.
This is what secular humanism has given birth to in our culture–a society full of people who don’t look past their own desires, pleasures and prosperity.
“For people will be lovers of self…”
2 Timothy 3:2a
“Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”
The sin of self-indulgence has given birth to a culture of death, where children are treated as a blight and a curse instead of a blessing.
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 3:14
Does the Bible have a different message for weary mothers? You’d better believe it.
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
Is it worth dying to ourselves to serve Christ in our homes? Is it worth giving up aspirations of career and prosperity to instead give our lives to raising children who will serve Him? Is it worth all the sleepless nights and weary days to have, at the end of our days, a legacy of faithful sons and daughters who are changing the world for His glory?
Is it always fun? No.
Do I cry a lot? Um…Yeah.
Do I get to travel on a whim, go to the spa, or spend my money at the mall with the girls? You have to be kidding me.
But it’s not all about me…and those who live as though it is all about them are kidding themselves.
“Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave– just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”