Tuesday, June 25, 2013

POST #3: The High Calling Of God: A Lament Of Hope For A Return To Motherhood

(This is the third in a series on the fallen state of motherhood based on the Book of Lamentations. For more information, see previous posts.)

The high point of hope in Lamentations is found in chapter 3, verse 57: “You came near when I called you, and you said, ‘Do not fear.’”

Motherhood is afflicted and walks in darkness. In many ways, motherhood has become a laughingstock, trampled in the dust of self-promotion and materialism. She is deprived of peace, and in many homes, does not prosper. Therefore, “my soul is downcast within me (Lamentations 3:20).

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him” (Lamentations 3:21-24).

There was a time when I was conflicted in wanting to stay at home and be a mom to my kids, negatively influenced by the world’s low estimation of that desire. The truth claims of the women’s liberation movement were clashing with my inner call to be a stay-at-home mom, more and more so after I became saved and born again in Jesus Christ. After hitting a low point, I read something in Scripture that I believe was Titus 2:3-4, but to this day I am not really sure. But it spoke truth to me, imploding the false claims of women’s liberation. I write of this epiphany to freedom in a previous blog, dated July 23, 2012:

“Many Christians compartmentalize service into ‘service to God’ and service that is below us or irrelevant because we don’t perceive it as being directly for God. God’s word, however, does not compartmentalize. When He tells us to train up a child...he doesn’t spell out when it is for Him and when it is not for Him because it is always for Him."

"I’ve often wondered why some people assume serving a child in a foreign country is service to God while serving their own children under their very roof is not (see Proverbs 22:6). I once talked to a pastor’s wife who worked part time, attended college and conducted women’s ministries. When it came to her own children still living at home, she said, ‘The Lord will provide.’ Really? I decided to test this concept (I need to interject here that my husband was holding up his end of responsibility by working long hours to support our family and then coming home and helping out. I, in turn, was an at-home mom)."

"So, as the new Christian that I was, I tested the pastor’s wife concept that “the Lord will provide,” regardless of my ditching of my responsibilities at home for other pursuits. I got involved in serving everywhere: I volunteered in the elementary school library, sat on multiple committees, worked pizza sales, went on mission trips, ran money-raising 10 K’s and biked week-long bike rides (under the justification that I was doing it for a 'good cause', when secretly it was often an act of my own pride or of believing the lie that said a woman cannot be fulfilled within her own home and that 'true' service remains 'out there')."

"What I discovered is, (contrary to what the pastor’s wife said), God, in fact, did not do my laundry. He didn’t cook the meals. He didn’t keep my house in order and pay my bills for me on time. He didn’t do the ironing. He didn’t keep peace in the house when homework didn’t get done or we couldn’t find the fieldtrip permission slip because everything was reduced to chaos while I was ‘out there’ serving the world (not God) and neglecting my household."

"Why does God give us children if He can just raise them Himself? It doesn’t make sense and it isn’t Biblical. Our first duty is always to our families (read Titus and Proverbs for starters). And ‘duty’ to our families doesn’t mean farming the kids off to sports camps and every other which way so we can get on with being busy in our own pursuits, even if those pursuits are ‘other-centered’ or ‘for God.’ James 3:14-16 says, ‘But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.’"

"God’s perspective on service to Him is something He had to repeatedly hammer into me. And one day, the light bulb went on and stayed on. These children of mine, God showed me, are not my kids, they are God’s! He entrusted them to me. Just like my marriage is a covenant with God, and so participation in my marriage and with my husband is service to God, so is the raising of God’s kids. God knitted my children in my womb. They are His gift."

"When I understood this—when it really hit me that my children and my husband belong to God—I suddenly understood service to my family as service to God, and marveled at the grace of God to include me in such a high calling. Only then was I able to tap into God’s joy in serving my family so that it became my joy to serve my family.” Post, July 23, 2012.

Motherhood can only be reclaimed for God when it is redeemed by God in the hearts and minds of women. “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD” (Lamentations 3:40). This is the hope for Motherhood’s vindication and restoration.

Lament for the Hope of Motherhood’s Redemption

I lift up my heart and hands   (Lamentations 3:41)
for the winter of this dark time to end;
to re-flower in the warm rain of Your righteousness,
bound to your everlasting love.
You desire Your people to be nurtured;
Nurture us, Lord,
in Your keeping.
Teach us to replicate Your sacrifice
to the offspring You have entrusted to us,
The dear ones You call Your own.
Forgive us, Lord,
the trampling of motherhood for other idols.
Entreat us by Your Spirit
to run to Your offspring in Your equipping;
to cradle them in our arms with Your love.
                                                         Barb Harwood

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