Feeling Fulfilled as a Mother: Essays on Motherhood Part One

How Does God Feel About You as a Mother?   The Tiny Button Analogy

I was pregnant with my third child and feeling pretty miserable.  Everything ached, I was nauseated, I wasn’t sleeping well at night, but my two older children still needed me. All. Day. Long. I am embarrassed to say that I was completely grouchy about all of this. I felt forgotten by God, somehow.  I believed that God valued my sacrifices to bring life into the world, but I just couldn’t feel it.  Very little positivity penetrated my perpetual discomfort.  One day, I had spent some considerable time asking the Lord for help.  I wanted to feel the joy of motherhood.  I wanted to feel valued by Him.  His answer came subtly, but I still feel the echoes of that quiet voice in my heart.  It happened like this:

Picture me wallowing like a beached whale, trying to muster the strength to be useful. Meanwhile, my 4-year-old son decided to get his little sister dressed that morning.  He helped her into a happy sundress with bright flowers. As they wandered past me on their way to play, my mind registered two thoughts.  First, I felt gratitude for his simple help.  Getting the children dressed had become hard.  Secondly, I zeroed in on the tiny hook-and-eye button at the back of the dress. It was difficult to button. For the sake of simplicity, I always left it undone. But today, It had been faithfully fastened.  I knew this would have taken some patient effort on the part of my four-year-old, as his fine motor skills were still developing.  I felt my eyes mist over at the mental picture of him carefully buttoning that little button for his sister.

At that moment, a thought raced through my mind like lightening.  This is how your Heavenly Father feels about your work as a mother.  He is filled with love over even your tiny efforts to serve.  I felt God’s glowing affirmation that my service as a mother was highly valued in His heart.  Profound realization dawned as I followed that line of thought. 

From the perspective of God, I am very much like my four-year-old.  Here I am, watching over these children, who are not really my own, but His. I labor over tasks and stress over situations which are infinitesimal to Him, even tinier than a hook-and-eye-button.  Although my capacity to help is nowhere near His, He honors my feeble efforts because I am still learning.  He knows this work is difficult to me and He loves me all the more for that. 

He appreciates even the tiny services mothers render, for they are known to Him. Our work is sacred because He cherishes these children whom we are serving.  In this way, I understand the spirit of the scripture, “If ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt 25:40) applies thoroughly to parenthood.  All that we labor over as parents, all those thankless tasks are known to God.  In fact, our service as parents is received by Him as if we performed it “unto Him,” just as the scripture states.

If you’d like to test this, think back to a time when someone did something kind for your child.  Didn’t your heart melt with love and appreciation for them?  It probably felt EVEN BETTER than if hey had done that kindness to you.  I am certain that God feels just that way toward us as we provide for and nurture His children in our homes.  And just think!  God is moved with love as we dress our children each morning.  As we feed them, or get them a snack, as we worry over their friendships at school.  He loves us for our careful nurturing as we help children develop their talents or their sense of integrity or even good habits of hygiene!  And how much more God rejoices to see us teach them, or share our testimonies with them.  I am certain that every noisy, imperfect attempt at family scripture study is precious and hallowed service in His eyes.  Let’s think more about THAT and claim more of the joy of knowing we are pleasing our God with our service as parents.

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