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Motherhood is not glorious.

The day went downhill from the point I wrote that last post.

I usually record the precious moments here, the ones I want to cherish and remember with my children.  I don’t usually record the difficult, ugly moments.  The ones where I lose it and yell at Cub for being two and knowing so little of hygiene, danger, noise control, and self-control.  The ones where I bury my face into my hands and suppress a scream.  The ones where I let Cub watch two hours of PBS Kids so I can regain some sanity.  The ones where I tell my kids to go away, be quiet, stop talking, leave me alone.

When I was single, I didn’t really understand why Titus had to exhort the older women to teach and train the younger women to love their children.  Why would you have to teach them to love the fruit of their womb?  Why would you have to teach them to love these little blessings from the Lord?  Are they so hard-hearted?  Are they so self-loving that they have to be taught to love their kids?

But I’m understanding why a little better.

Yes, I am that hard-hearted.  Yes, I do love myself that much.  Too diseasedly much.

Love — the whole, holy, Christlike kind — doesn’t come easily.  Self-love does not move out, even for your own child.

Jesus said the only person we should love with that kind of intensity is God.  That we should love Him so much that all other loves appear as hate (not that they are, of course, because loving Him purifies all other loves).  But it seems that sin distorts this and makes it so that we love ourselves so much that all other loves really are hate when it comes down to it.

And added to the daily struggle with my self-love and sin is the struggle with the wills and sins of my children.  Ugly, messy stuff slopped against the canvas of our home.  And I don’t mean just the kids’ snot, pee, poo, spit, and spit-up.  I mean the snot, pee, poo, spit, and spit-up of our hearts that comes out through our words, looks, actions.  An ugly, messy, hopeless situation were it not for Christ.  Because only He can transform my weary, griping attempts to clean up snot and poo into something redemptive.  Only He can redeem my attempts to shepherd my kids’ hearts.  Apart from Him, the mess is only cleaned up so it can become messy again.  There is nothing but futility apart from Him.

Apart from Him, my instruction and training toward the kids will produce me a Prodigal at best and a Pharisee at worst.  My motherly instruction and discipline can do nothing at their hearts’ levels apart from His mercy at work.

There is no glory in motherhood.  There is only glory in the God who is able to redeem mothers and their children and the whole messy process of raising children.

Our days lately look like a mix of fun, laughter, yells, tantrums, cuddles, discipline, repentance, tearful prayers together, and (thankfully) lots of forgiveness.  None of this would be worth the headache, the heartache, the weariness were it not for Christ in the midst of us.

Our home is full of wayward, stiff-necked Israelites … and a gracious, saving God who gives us mercy, grace, forgiveness, and new life in His Son.  Every day.  Over and over again.  According to our need.  According to His unfailing love.

(As soon as I wrote that last part, we had another toddler episode.  We need Him ev.er.y sec.ond.)

 

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