Battling for Significance
Imagine the scene: You have been home with your children all day when your husband comes home to tell you about his exciting day. He’s been involved in life-changing meetings, made a huge business deal, or had the opportunity to meet and disciple a young couple who plan on getting married. You listen with pride but deep down your heart is hurting. After he finishes, he then asks: “How was your day?” You hear your mouth declare: “Well…I changed three poopy diapers; Anna threw up all over me; and I tried to get dinner fixed, but Anna had a meltdown.”
The battle for significance is a very real struggle to many mothers who have the amazing privilege to work inside the home. Many times young mothers bring their newborns home, and they are filled with excitement at the adventure and prospect of motherhood. This is what they dreamed about…having the opportunity to raise children to become godly men and women.
Yet, at some point, normally within the first year of her child’s life, Satan begins to attack her significance. He begins to whisper lies into her heart and causes her to question her worth and the job God has called her to do. Satan’s goal is to convince these mothers that their husbands or their friends who work outside the home are accomplishing something greater than they. After all, the “only” thing a mother does all day is change diapers and seek to prevent her two year old from tearing up the house. But, in the midst of the lies, you suddenly begin to hear God speak.
So, what does He say about the significance of motherhood?
First, God says that He has created mothers to be the nurturers and caretakers of their children in order to instill within their children the commands of God. Deuteronomy 6:4-9, in the Jewish tradition, is known as the Shema. In this passage, God tells parents to teach their children to “love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (vs 5) God also tells parents to model His commands, talk about His commands, and teach His commands to their children throughout the day. Why are we to do this? So when our children ask one day: “What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you? Then you shall say to your son…the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous…”(Deut 6:20-22)
Mothers, who stay home with their children get to spend all day with them and, throughout the day, share with them the wonders of God’s creation and glory. Children need to hear about the amazing works of God, and mothers have the opportunity to show them with their children. They also get to train their children in the commands of God through teaching them how to handle feuds with their siblings or teaching them how to share and demonstrate kindness.
Though motherhood sometimes looks like chaos (especially when a mom has young children), God affirms and encourages mothers to continue in the intentional training of their children. Training young ones in the commands of God is a full-time job and ministry that is vital to growing children to become men and women who have a heart to serve God.
Secondly, motherhood is an opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission. Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” When Christians hear this verse, they often attribute it to missions, and rightly so. Yet, this verse goes far beyond just a mission’s command. God has given mothers “live in” disciples. When children are first born, they are a clean slate in which to instill God’s commands and principles. Many researchers show that a child’s personality and temperament is established in the womb, but parents can help nurture and develop their child’s personality during the child’s formative years. God has given parents the amazing ministry of discipling their children, and a stay-at-home mother has the opportunity to pour into her children throughout the day.
In her book, The Ministry of Motherhood, Sally Clarkson encourages mothers to develop a parenting plan on how to intentionally disciple their children throughout the day. In her work, she uses the acronym GIFTS as a guide. She says that God wanted her to instill within her children the “gift of Grace, the gift of Inspiration, the gift of Faith, the gift of Training, and the gift of Service.”
Making disciples is not just about going to another country and sharing the Good News of God’s salvation, but it is also being willing to disciple your children in the truths of God’s word. This ministry of discipleship is one of the greatest ministries of motherhood.
The battle for significance is a battle that I have fought and will probably continue to fight as I grow in motherhood. Satan knows that one of the most powerful tools is a mother who is dedicated to discipling and growing her children to become godly men and women, and he will do and give her whatever lie she will believe to cause her to give up on this incredible task.
But, we serve a God who is for us and wants to help us be the mothers who He has called us to be. So when the enemy begins to tempt you to question your significance, I encourage you to allow God to speak these tender words over you: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matt. 25:21)
What great joy and significance is found in motherhood!