Each Mother’s Day, my family gathers at my grandparent’s farm. Pecan trees shade the driveway, bent over time by storms. Hydrangea bushes frame the front porch. Kids play hide and seek in the front yard, while adults converse over glasses of sweet tea. Three generations of mothers are celebrated with hugs, flowers, cake, and kind words. Mothers, daughters, and daughters’ daughters, all sharing one common title—“mom.”
Once I was a kid at these events, but now I have joined the “mom club.” And I laugh because as a child, I thought those in the “mom club” had life figured out. To me, they held endless amounts of wisdom. They kissed boo-boos, wiped tears, and mediated arguments. They were superheroes without capes, queens without a crown.
Now I laugh at my childhood naivety. Now I know the insider secret. Mothers are a work in progress too. Moms grow just like pecan trees. Their wisdom is only as deep as the storms they have weathered. They bloom over time like hydrangeas. Motherhood is sanctifying.
Inherently, viewing motherhood as sanctifying—which means to become Christlike through the work of the Holy Spirit—implies that mothers are not perfect. In fact, far from perfect. We are growing as our children are growing. We are learning as our children learn.
This truth holds both freedom and responsibility.
Freedom in sanctification
In Christ, we are free from the yoke of perfectionism. Our identity no longer lies in upkeeping a perfectly manicured home or having perfectly behaved kids. Our identity no longer lies in our successes or failures. We can pause from trying to prove ourselves. We can come to Christ in our weariness and find rest just as we are (Matthew 11:28). We can find our identity in the only man who did achieve perfection.
Christ is our strength in motherhood. Ephesians 2:8–9 reminds us that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Christ extends to us a love that we could not earn, forgiveness that we do not deserve. And it is out of this love that we can love and serve our families. We join Christ in His humility and humbly lay ourselves down to lift our babies, our husbands, and our communities up.
Christ’s love transforms us through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is our sanctification. Day by day, conviction by conviction, prayer by prayer, our hearts are being softened and molded to look more like our Savior. This is a lifetime journey—a daily surrender. It means apologizing to our children when we raise our voices. Washing the dishes again without recognition. Praying and snuggling sick kids. And keeping our eyes focused on our true victory, the victory earned by Christ on the cross. In our lack of perfection, we see our desperate need for Jesus.
Responsibility in sanctification
When we accept Christ as our Savior, we gain a purpose for our motherhood journey. The goal of motherhood is not to produce college graduates who are functional members of society. The goal of motherhood is to ensure that our children understand who the real hero is—Jesus Christ. As Christians, the goal of motherhood is to make disciples.
But how do we make disciples while we are still sinners in need of daily grace? We humbly live out our love for Jesus right before our children’s eyes so that they may grow to love Him alongside us. Deuteronomy 6:6–7 instructs us to keep God’s words in our hearts, to “Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” We are not given a mission in motherhood without a “how-to” manual. We come to Scripture for wisdom, for comfort, for rejuvenation, and for truth. God’s Word is our greatest asset in motherhood, our greatest tool in fulfilling our responsibility to make disciples.
We do not need to wait for more knowledge or more faith to begin discipling our children. Christ is our strength of in motherhood. He gives us what we need (2 Peter 1:3). He hears our prayers (1 John 5:14). He promises to be near (Psalm 119:151). We have a friend in Jesus (John 15:15).
On this Mother’s Day, may the faithfulness of God bring us to worship Him. May our mouths be filled with gratitude and our hearts be filled with cheer. Because we have a promise in Scripture, a promise that we can count on. God will be sure to finish what He started (Philippians 1:6). Perhaps the greatest blessing we offer our kids is to allow them to see the real transformation of our hearts—real conviction, real repentance, real hope, and real joy. May this be our legacy that carries throughout the generations.
May God be glorified in all seasons of motherhood.
Additional resources on biblical motherhood