Often when I tell other mums I’m a Christian, they ask – ‘Do you pray with your children?’ I think they might be trying to figure out if being a Christian makes any real difference to my life. I tend to say something like ‘Um, yeah but it’s more than that…’ and then fumble my way through some attempt at an explanation.
If you ever find yourself in this situation, you may find the post below helpful. Either way, I hope it encourages you. I was given four to five minutes to answer this question yesterday at church (they did forewarn me!) and this is what I said:
I’ve been asked to answer the question, ‘What does it mean to be a Christian Mum?’ Let me just say that I’m not up here because I’m an expert. I’m not the most experienced mum here, or the wisest mum or the mum with the best skills. And I know as well that there are loads of different kinds of mums here. There are married women who are mums, single mums, there are mums with tiny children and mums whose children are grown up. So we’ve all got different experiences but I just want to spend a few minutes encouraging you – and if you’re not a mum please listen too because we can always learn how to better encourage mums in the church family.
I think we’d all agree that being a mum is hard. It’s a wonderful blessing and it also can feel like a huge burden. Your children are a precious gift, but they also take a lot out of you. Some days you feel great as a mum. Other days you feel like you’re doing a terrible job and you’ve got nothing else to give. Sometimes everyone thinks you’re fine, but you’re just putting on a brave face. Really, you’re lonely, sick and tired and stressed.
So what difference does being a Christian make in this?
Let me show you a few verses from Hebrews Chapter 4:
13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to feel sympathy for our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
v13 – God sees everything you’re doing. Not just what you do, but what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling. He sees you when you’re up in the night with a baby; he sees you going without things so you can buy stuff your kids need. He sees, and he knows. So if you feel like nobody sees how hard you’re working for your kids or how difficult your situation is, remember this. God knows.
That’s great news, but it’s also a challenge. That means God sees my bad attitude even when I hide it from everyone else. And God really cares about that. I might be serving my kids every day, but if I’m annoyed about it and feel I deserve better, then he knows that and it doesn’t please him one bit.
But there’s more good news, look at the next bit – v14-15. If we’re Christians then we have a saviour who knows exactly how it feels to be tempted. He knows how it feels to be unappreciated. He came to earth to give his life for the very people who killed him. I might think my kids don’t appreciate all the washing I do for them, but they’re not trying to kill me. So Jesus knows better than we do how it feels to serve ungrateful people, and he knows temptation, too. So we can ask him for help. We can approach him boldly. Even when you’re having a bad day – you’ve shouted at the kids and you feel guilty and rubbish, you can approach God boldly because Jesus has paved the way for you to do that.
(Read v 16) When we ask God for help we get mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. Being a mum is certainly a needy job isn’t it? We need all the help we can get! And we need forgiveness because we keep messing it up. But let’s be honest about that. You can admit it to your kids, and your friends, and most of all to God.
So three things: God sees you all the time; Jesus knows how you’re feeling; and God’s grace and mercy can help us every day.
One more thing – as Christians we have the unique blessing of being part of a church family, so it would be great if as mums we can keep encouraging each other and asking each other for advice and sharing wisdom. I’m sure we can all learn a lot from each other, and we can all use encouragement because being a mum is a beautiful thing, but it is also… tough.