My mother gave me this sweet and encouraging fridge magnet a while back. When I look at it, it makes me laugh and reminds me that my job isn’t easy, but it is very worthwhile and will also help me to grow!
Over the last few weeks I have been thinking a bit more about it. I read through 1 Corinthians 13 on love recently and it was like a light went on in my head as I realised that I have grown a lot. I don’t struggle half as much with some of these outworkings of love as I did before, though I still need a lot of work on them of course! For the last few years with small children I have been barely keeping my head above water, just struggling to get through each day as Sally Clarkson described so well recently. But it dawned on me that during this time even though it often seems like I’m in a tunnel, God has been helping me grow as I have sought to obey Him in the little things.
I have often read and heard that trials are supposed to produce good things in us and to make us more like Christ, for example: Romans 5:3 ‘tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.’ This has proven itself to be true in my life, and I have only just realised it because it has been so slow and so tough, and I’ve felt like I’ve been buried under mountains of nappy changing and cleaning up messes!! But the fruit of this period has been in my character, and was totally unexpected.
I think we are really all angels in training, because Jesus said that in heaven we would be like the angels, Matt 22:30! However I think mothers need special encouragement, as it can seem like all the work we do at times is so endless and all the messes return as soon as we clear them up, the laundry basket fills up again, the children misbehave again and so on… The children are a wonderful fruit of our labour, but added to that, WE are a fruit of our labour! As my husband so often says, ‘Marriage makes you realise how selfish you are, and kids even more so’. Relating to your spouse and dealing with your children all day really gives you great practice at putting Biblical love into action. If we will just keep putting one foot in front of the other, seeking to obey God every day and fulfil His calling in our lives however humdrum of an existence that is, we will be rewarded not just by seeing our sin, but also by growing in our character.
We can apply this principle to all the trials we go through, as God will work in our lives through all our problems if we will respond to them rightly. Charles Stanley said, ‘Valley experiences are the most profitable times of learning for the child of God’. I hope this will turn our attention away from the difficulties of motherhood and anything else we may be going through, towards what God is doing through it. ‘For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.’ 2 Corinthians 4:17,18