The missional vision of motherhood helps correct our nearsighted mothering. It propels us to bank on the cruciform victory of Jesus and looks forward to receiving future grace because of what he did.
That sounds like a wonderfully lofty idea of religious hopefulness, doesn’t it? But the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13)—is a hope more certain than your newborn taking her nap this afternoon, more reliable than your husband coming home on time, and more sturdy than your commitment to pray for your unbelieving friend. Christ’s return is the future of this present age, which is passing away. His second advent will mark the commencement of the fullness of the new creation. You can bank on it. No, you must bank on it. You must look forward to it. Also, you must hang onto that blessed hope. You will not be disappointed. We can’t say so much for our other hopes, now, can we?
Hope Found In the Long View
We like to encourage ourselves and each other with short-term encouragements such as, “Just hang in there, I promise you’ll feel stronger in the second trimester.” Or, “Once we get this or get rid of that, life in our home will be easier.” Or, “After the kids reach a certain age, our family life will be more enjoyable.” “This new Bible study or book will do the trick for my problems.” And those thoughts may be of some help. But these temporary helps cannot compare to the hope we receive from considering the real long view.
The real long view is actually longer than we think. It wasn’t at the end of the ark’s voyage atop miles of water. It wasn’t at the end of Sarah’s barrenness. Thirdly, it wasn’t at the end of the Hebrews’ Egyptian slavery. It wasn’t at the end of the conquest of Canaan. It wasn’t at the dedication of the temple. Also, it wasn’t at the beginning of the exiles’ return, temple construction, or wall restoration. The long view is not at the end of this no-good, terrible day. Or at the end of this magically brilliant day. It’s not at the end of five years or seventy-five years. Or five hundred years. The long view stretches past whatever earthly ideas we have into a vision of a new world, into eternity and the new earth.
Become Heavenly Minded
Contrary to popular opinion, when mothers take this long view, we actually become so heavenly minded that we are of immense earthly good today. If we want to get technical, we should say that the real long view is not actually even heavenly minded—it’s new-earthly minded. We’re looking forward to the consummated new creation. Being new-earthly minded corrects our Seasonal Obsessive Disorder. It corrects our nearsightedness and returns our vision to God’s mission to glorify his name in all the earth.
Seasonal Obsessive Disorder
You’ve probably heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s a common condition among people who live close to one of the north or south poles, where daylight is dramatically limited during certain times of the year. Sometimes SAD affects people who live in regions of the world that experience overcast and rainy weather. The locals describe feeling gloomy enough to match the ever-present, dark clouds in the sky.
Well, Seasonal Obsessive Disorder is just something I made up to remind myself of the hope I have in Christ. SOD is a condition in which you are preoccupied with finding a name for your temporary circumstances. You define them, obsessively compare your circumstances to others, and covet a season that God has not given to you. I seasonally suffer from SOD and self-medicate with things such as coffee, complaining, and daydreaming. When this is over, or this begins, or this changes, or we fix this—or whatever—then, I’ll be content. Last day of school. Never mind, first day of school! Does that sound familiar?
The missional vision of our motherhood, with its sights set on the return of Christ, reminds us that we are all currently in the season of life. We are all in this season, from empty nesters to singles to widows to new moms to high school students and every other woman. It’s true of all of us. We get to live outside of the garden. We get to live.
This post is an excerpt from Gloria Furman’s book Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God.