Mothering is one of the greatest joys and greatest challenges of my life. As my children grow, I find the seasons and demands change and yet this truth remains. Mothering is the thing I want to do to the best of my ability, though it also consistently works to bring my flaws to the surface. Prior to having my children, I once had a conversation with someone who said they didn’t think they were selfish until they were a mother. I laughed and nodded, naively thinking I would be different. In that first week of motherhood, consistently giving of myself, my body, my sleep, I realised that I was no different: I was innately selfish and this tiny specimen was demanding I give of myself over and over and over again. In the years since, somewhere between countless nights of broken sleep, vacuuming up the ever expanding crumbs on the floor and the endless loads of washing, I have come to recognise that motherhood is one of the greatest tools God uses to sanctify me. Motherhood repeatedly shows me my need for the truth of the gospel to sink from my mind into my heart to help me look to him in those mundane, repetitive moments when all I crave is some silence from the demands of others and a nice cup of hot tea.
Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler speak into this reality with their book “Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments” (2019: Harvest House Publishers). In their opening chapter “What is the Gospel?” Jensen and Wifler write, “ Many of us feel a disconnect between our Sunday-morning faith and our Monday-morning mom life.” (p.21). And isn’t that the truth of it? Even if we manage to wake up early to have a quiet time where we soak in the holiness of God, an argument between two of our children but a breath later can bring our feet rapidly off that mountain top, dumping us in the trenches of parenting. This makes so many of us feel that there are our God-moments and our everyday-life moments; two separate spheres of a fractured life. However, this isn’t how it should be. Jensen and Wifler say, “Our faith and life should be woven together, inseparable. Like Play-Doh in the carpet threads, it’s impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins.” (p.21).
Throughout “Risen Motherhood,” Jensen and Wifler aim to teach us how to weave our faith into the fibres of our mothering tapestry. Tearing open common disappointments, broken dreams, questions and perceptions, they model to us how the Gospel, the Good News of a Saviour who enters the muck of the mundane to save our fallen heart, helps us mother in a way that glorifies him in the raising of the next generation. The Gospel redeems. It redeems us, it redeems our children and it brings meaning to those moments. Praise God.
In Chapter 11: The Gospel and our Relationships, Jensen and Wifler share honestly how complicated relationships in motherhood are. From the moment you announce your pregnancy, tensions seem to arise between extended family and between friends, between those in the church and outside the church; and at every turn we are examining what we believe about ourselves as women and as mothers. Jensen and Wifler write, “Each relationship, conversation, and interaction has the potential to threaten your identity in motherhood, making you feel ashamed or small. Or you can choose to rise above, not caring what other people think because your way is the only way that matters. All these issues lead to things like brokenness, isolation, and unforgiveness in our relationships.” (pp.120-121). However, as they continue to explain, the love and truth of Jesus in the Gospel, provides an example for us on how to extend grace, how to walk humbly and how to “overlook offenses in conflicts big and small” (p.121).
“Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments” (2019: Harvest Hope) is my new ‘go-to’ gift for mothers of young children. It would be a brilliant gift for a Baby Shower as well as a belated Mother’s Day gift. It is easy to read and very practical. It is deeply founded on the word of God as the foundation for all of life and I confidently recommend this as a book to encourage, inspire and equip mothers in mothering young children with the Gospel as an integral part of the fabric of our mothering and our lives.
First published at Equip Women Bookclub.