When you see a mama who’s struggling and you want to encourage her, what comes to mind first? I’ll take a guess that it’s something along the lines of “you’re a good mum!”.
We all need encouragement sometimes – to know that we’re doing okay, even when things are hard. In motherhood, much of the work is hard even when you’re doing a good job.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”Galatians 6:9
Doing good is wearying because it can be hard work and we don’t get the reward immediately.
Building one another up
But while we all need a pat on the back sometimes, what if we could encourage each other with something deeper and more sustaining than what is essentially looking to our own goodness?
The Bible is clear that we should be encouraging and building one another up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). But what does that mean – how should we be encouraging and building one another up?
There are very good reasons we can take heart as Christian mums, and our personal goodness is not one of them.
So next time a friend is struggling and you really want to build her up and encourage her in the Lord, reach for one of these solid truths from the Bible…
Jesus has already paid the price for your sins
While the Holy Spirit is sanctifying us day by day, we will continue to fight against sin for the rest of our days on earth. The good news is that we who are in Christ are no longer guilty for any of it!
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace…”Ephesians 1:7
Don’t hold onto feelings of guilt over past sins. Jesus has already paid for it and forgiven you – now, go and sin no more. You are free!
God is sovereign, even when you fail and make mistakes
You can’t “mess everything up” for your children because God’s purpose will prevail.
“I am God, and there is no other;Isaiah 46:9-11
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.”
That doesn’t mean motherhood is a free-for-all and what we do is of no consequence. It matters what we do as Christian women because if we love God, then we want to obey and please Him.
But it’s important to remember that we are not able to get God’s plans off course. He will achieve everything He intends to in our lives and our children’s lives.
You’re not responsible for your child’s salvation
Along those same lines, you’re not responsible for saving your children – only God can do that.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”Ephesians 2:8-9
By all means, we should pray for them, bathe them in truth and love and raise them to love the Lord, but we don’t carry the burden of responsibility for their salvation.
Train your children to follow Jesus out of love for the Lord and love for your children, but don’t do it out of fear.
The work you’re doing has eternal value
This might sound like a contradiction with the previous point – if it’s God who saves our children, then how does our work have eternal value?
Our work has value because everything we do to the glory of God is fulfilling our purpose on this earth. There is eternal value in raising children because this is often the means God uses to bring His people to himself. As a Christian parent, you get to be involved in bringing your children to the Lord!
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”Psalm 127:3-5
Remember that you don’t have kids simply because of a biological reality, but because God gave them to you. They are a blessing, a heritage, and a reward. The work you do in motherhood is important and it matters!
God will sustain you with his strength
When you feel weak and tired and like you can’t possibly go on, pray and ask God to sustain you.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”Philippians 4:13
This verse is specifically referring to enduring through difficult times. Paul was writing about how God strengthened him to endure having nothing, being beaten and locked up in jail.
And we can endure the same way – through God, who strengthens us.
God sees and knows every hard moment, every mess, every night waking. He knows it all, and he is able to strengthen you through those hard days.
God will give you the wisdom you need
Do you ever have moments as a mum where you just don’t know what to do? You’ve done the research, and you still feel stuck. You need to make a quick choice, and it doesn’t seem clear. Or you’ve been agonising over a big decision for a long time, and you really don’t want to get it wrong.
God promises in His word to give us wisdom whenever we need it, for any situation.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”James 1:5
There is no problem, mystery or mess that is beyond His comprehension. And if you ask, He will give you the wisdom to know how to handle it.
God is using motherhood to sanctify you
The hard days and seasons are not for no reason. God is working all things together for the good of those who love him.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”Romans 8:28
And what is our good? To be complete and mature, made into the image of Christ (Philippians 1:6).
God has a purpose for all our moments – the good ones and the hard ones – which is to make us more like Jesus.
Try changing your perspective: Instead of constantly trying to avoid hardship and pursue comfort, in every circumstance ask yourself, “What is God teaching me, or how is He growing me, through this?”
Jesus doesn’t change
In motherhood, nothing stays the same for long. Just when you think you’re in a good rhythm, your child will have a new sickness or bout of teething.
Take heart – while nothing in your life may be the same day to day, Jesus is.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
Put your hope firmly in Jesus – He doesn’t change and you can always trust Him. When life feels like a storm, put your feet on the Solid Rock so you can stand firm.
Biblical encouragement for Christian mums
Whatever motherhood throws at you; whatever you personally struggle with; whatever is uncertain and shaky in your life, you can know that God doesn’t change and He won’t let you go.
Cling to Christ and look to Him for your hope on those days when your confidence is shaken.
Remember that you are saved by faith, not by your good deeds, when your deeds aren’t good at all. And remember that you have the Holy Spirit giving you the power to have victory over your sin when you feel stuck.
Jesus bought you, Jesus is with you, and Jesus will never let you go.
Now, that is an encouragement that will last.