This article was originally published in the May 2020 issue of HomeLife magazine.
As a mother, there is a constant, uncomfortable battle that rages inside of me. It’s not the big or dramatic: Will I raise my children to love God? Will I train them to obey Him? Do my children belong to Him? Those big questions were settled a long time ago. The constant battle of motherhood is more subtle, more everyday, more hideable. At the center is one question: Will I sacrifice?
The Everyday Question isn’t answered one time, with the birth of a child, with the planning of school, or with the decision to discipline. This question is answered every day. It’s answered when a child wakes early with a need, interrupting my quiet hour alone with the Lord. It’s answered when a sick child keeps me from worship and adult interaction at church on Sunday mornings.
It’s answered when I’m emotionally spent, but a child’s behavior requires my patient, purposeful response. It’s answered as I systematically teach my special-needs son how to interact with others.
In motherhood, the Everyday Question is answered every time a child’s concern or need must come before my own. And as every mother knows, this is most of the time. Too often, I attend to necessary tasks — leaving the stove to help with pant buttons, helping to search for a beloved toy, excusing myself from a conversation at church to take tired children home for a nap — while my heart grumbles: If I just had one moment to complete a task or have an adult conversation without an interruption.
The Everyday Question asks not just about my duties, but also about my attitude: Will I joyfully pour out my life as a fragrant offering before the Lord for the benefit of my children? Will I serve my children out of obligation and duty, or will I serve out of the joy of serving God himself? Will I die to myself so that I might live for God in the specific calling He has given me as a mom?
The Everyday Question must be answered every day. Because motherhood isn’t so much the big, dramatic acts of sacrifice, but the little, everyday, unseen ones. Because we can have a clean house and obedient children and not sacrifice. Because we’re so easily deceived to think we can live for ourselves and be faithful to God in our ministry as moms.
Jesus said that those who live for themselves will have an unfulfilling life, but those who lose their lives for His sake will really experience life. As parents, our self-death for Christ’s sake not only produces fruit in our own hearts, but produces fruit in the hearts of our children, fruit that grows by the power of God. Let us choose to joyfully give of ourselves for our children. Every day.
Christine Hoover is a pastor’s wife, mom of three boys, host of the By Faith podcast, and author of several books, including With All Your Heart, Searching for Spring, Messy Beautiful Friendship, and From Good to Grace. Her work has appeared on Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, and For the Church. Originally from Texas, Christine and her family live in Charlottesville, Virginia, where they planted a church in 2008. Find her at her home online at christinehoover.net.