“Life’s a journey, not a destination.”
These words, which just so happen to be lyrics in an Aerosmith song, dance around my mind. I know Aerosmith is not known for their Biblical perspective, but I find these words to be true.
Philippians 1:6 echoes the sentiment that Steven Tyler put to music. “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (NLT).
See? We are forever on a journey, being made more like Christ, until the day God calls us home. God uses the stops along the path of life to teach us and mold us into people who look and act more like His son.
The journey of motherhood is just one super-effective tool that God uses to shape us. Okay, let’s be real, sometimes it feels like that tool is a sledge hammer. Being a mom is not a job for the weak.
I heard an amazing sound bite from author Jeannie Cunnion the other day. It went something like this: “God doesn’t just use us to shape the hearts of our children; He uses our children to shape our hearts.”
Our children are gifts from God, and those gifts take so many different forms. They are blessings, bringing us joy and moments of pure delight. But they are also battles, testing our faith, patience and our determination.
Yes, our kids are gifts—gifts that God uses to direct us to Him.
If you’re like me, you can see your need for God on a daily basis, sometimes in humiliating ways. Like when your four year old daughter eats a muffin off of the floor in a restaurant even after you tell her not to. And everyone sees her do it. Or when your five year old son drops his pants in the middle of the soccer field to go to the bathroom.
If you’re like me, you cry out in your need for God, like when you can’t get your daughter to stop talking back, or your son seems perpetually negative, and you don’t know what to do.
I think we need to change Aerosmith’s words. “Motherhood is a journey, not a destination.”
Motherhood is not meant to make us lose hope, exhaust or defeat us, or to make us question ourselves and our abilities. Motherhood is meant to lead us to Jesus and make us cling to Him moment-by-moment.
The apostle Paul understood this idea of the journey and the shaping process it brings. Paul had a daily battle, a “thorn in the flesh,” he explained. It bothered him. It was a struggle for him. He asked God to take it away, but God said no. Paul wrote, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong,” (2 Cor. 12:9-10, NIV).
Even the apostle Paul, writer of half of the New Testament, struggled on his journey. He didn’t have children, but he did have something that caused him pain, worry, stress, and anxiety. Sounds kind of like being a mom, right?
God gave Paul a special message, and I’m so glad Paul wrote it down because it is a message for us moms too. In the New Living Translation verse nine reads, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
God’s grace is for us, mamas, and so is the power of God. But there is a little catch.
To access the grace and the power of God, we first must acknowledge our weakness.
Accessing God’s Grace
Just as God told Paul, His power works best in weakness. One of the amazing things about our God is that He is not pushy. He does not force anything upon us, even the stuff that would be for our own good. He waits for us to come to Him, to express our need for Him, and then He works and moves in our hearts.
Yes, friends, we have to admit to God that we are weak, that we are lacking, and that we desperately need His help on the journey of motherhood.
It’s hard to humble ourselves and say this, even to our God who already knows. No one likes to admit weakness; we are trained to never let anyone see it. But God, who knows what’s best, knows that our weaknesses are really a key to unlocking His grace and power. And what mom does not want and need the power and the grace of God while she parents the little gifts God gave her?
Instead of hiding our weaknesses, let’s be open about them. I don’t know that we need to go as far as Paul does and boast about them. Can you imagine? “I’m so good at letting the laundry pile up!” or “I haven’t cleaned the toilet in a month!” No, we don’t need to go there. (Please clean your toilet.)
But being honest and humble before God about our weaknesses, our worries, and our concerns only leads us to His power. When we do this, we have God’s grace, and we allow Christ’s power to work through us.
On this journey of motherhood, let us boast in this: that God helped us through and never once left us. That He gave us grace and power every step of the way.