I need my shortsighted vision of motherhood corrected with an eternal perspective. Otherwise, I will not keep my gaze fixed on the horizon of eternity. I will not believe (and live as I believe) that sin—my sin and my children’s sin and my neighbors’ sin—is our biggest problem. Also, I will not hold out the gospel of Jesus Christ to myself or anyone else. I will ignore the deepest needs around me and pretend they are insignificant. I’ll stare at my navel and wait for a new “season,” neglecting the fact that right now and forever I am in a season of life.
God’s gracious gift of life, in spite of our sin, is overwhelming. We are alive for a purpose—to make known the Lord’s mighty deeds among the nations. Let your mind be blown by the reality that Jesus is currently, intentionally holding our very lives together by the word of his power. What mercy!
Season of Motherhood
Whatever season we are in, and whatever kind of nurturing work we are doing, and however long our season lasts, life in Christ is our new normal. And it will still be thirty trillion years from now. We are in a season of life in Christ forever! And this year. This month. Today. Right now. His grave is empty. Somewhere in Palestine, there is a hole in a rock that once held a lifeless body for three days until Jesus, the resurrection and the life, walked out. The world hasn’t been the same since. By the grace of God, you and I get to live in light of this cosmic renewal. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around that. We get to taste eternity now.
With God’s promises of future grace strengthening our hearts and hands, we can enjoy an eternal perspective as we mother others. In the middle of the pain of life in a fallen world, we groan with hope, knowing that when the new creation does come in its fullness, then all our groaning will not be remembered. In light of the long view, they are just “former-world” problems.
Because Christ burst through the de-creating cords of death and into eternal, resurrection life, suffering is not the end of our story. We can rejoice that the thousand deaths to self that we die each day are our servants—midwives that are bringing us to gain, an eternal weight of glory. We nurture others in view of God’s promise of future grace in Christ.
Redemption of Motherhood
Jesus redeemed our motherhood from the futility of sin. We follow Christ’s pattern by laying down our lives. We serve with the power that he provides. Also, we look forward to the fruition of God’s promises by faith. Lastly, we live out his big story, the story that says:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Cor. 5:17)
The old would not have passed away if Christ had not come. We nurture others as a new creation in Christ. That’s our story. Let’s live out of that. Our nurturing work done unto Christ is part and parcel of the new creation, an invisible kingdom that is growing like a mustard seed in a garden, and spreading throughout dough like leaven. It’s the story that says:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:8–10)
Doing the Good Work
We go about the good work God has prepared for us, knowing that our salvation (and the salvation of those whom we care for) is a gift of God by grace through faith. We boast in Jesus Christ and point to him. That’s our story. Let’s live out of that. Missional motherhood looks away from our works to the work that Christ has already accomplished for us on the cross. We freely and gladly follow his cruciform pattern because we have already been forgiven. We look forward to the promises he has secured for us on the cross. And the triune God gets all the glory when women say, “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls” (2 Cor. 12:15), because it is God who works in us to spread his glory among all the nations.
This post is an excerpt from Gloria Furman’s book Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God.