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To moms: God didn’t call us to suffer, but to rest in Him

Unsplash/Bethany Beck
Unsplash/Bethany Beck

When you have a baby, your entire world changes. Or, more specifically, your brain and body dramatically change the way you experience it. 

Birth reshapes a new mother’s brain and hormones like oxytocin help forge a deep, unbreakable bond between her and her child. As a result, it’s easy to get swept up in your identity as a mother. One poll shows that 88% of women consider their motherhood “the most or one of the most important” aspects of their identity. Every mother I know has had at least a season where she knows she put herself last far too often. 

In fact, I count myself among them. My kids tease me sometimes. “Mom, what are your hobbies?” they asked one time. “Y’all are my hobby,” I replied. 

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We all laughed, of course — but the fact is that I’m in the thick of a season where time and energy for self-care is hard to come by. Yet each morning, I choose to get up early, walk down to my basement and work out, because I know that makes me a better person and a better mother. 

I also know the only reason I can take care of my children, let alone myself, is that Jesus holds us close to Him every day. He gives me the strength and grace I need to be a faithful steward of my own life and of the children He has blessed me with.

More importantly, He gives me the strength I need to make sacrifices without getting lost in them. This balance is one of the most important, and most difficult, balancing acts of motherhood. 

After all, the hard years will always be hard, even for the moms who make it look easy. Newborns will always test the limits of our physical endurance. Toddlers will always test our patience. Even as we mature in our motherhood, our emotional capacity and available time will still be strained. 

Those sacrifices exist for every mother — and they’re good to make. They’re part of how Jesus draws us closer to Him. But they aren’t the whole picture. 

Jesus wants us to live our life to the fullest. We can’t forget that truth when things get really tough, and our mom guilt tells us we’re selfish for having needs. He wants us to flourish as mothers, and to model the joy of life in Him for our children. He wants us to take care of ourselves and to rest and rely on Him. 

He knows that our marriages will be happier and richer if we personally are in a good place. He knows that we will be more gentle and resilient in motherhood when we’ve been able to rest. He knows that our work, whatever it may be, will be carried out more faithfully if we have peace. He knows that our children will learn from the example we live out more than they will ever learn from the words we say.

He also knows we can’t do any of these things well on our own. Let Him fill your cup, before you’ve poured yourself out. Self-care is essential, but it’s not the first step when you’re overwhelmed as a mom. Jesus is. 

So spend time with Jesus. Then, as you can, make more space each day for the things that help you grow and heal.

Set aside time to read a good book. Carve out uninterrupted space with your spouse and watch a movie. Schedule a romantic date or a spouse-only vacation. Work out. Bake a complicated loaf of bread. Build something. Climb something. Write something. Plant something.

Tend to yourself, so that you can bring the peace God gives you and the well-being God wants for you into the home that relies on your work and your love. Let go of the guilt holding you back from this kind of self-care. 

I see moms dropping their kids off at our WinShape camps who are wracked with guilt. They cry in the parking lot. They think they should be the ones taking care of their kids. But once their kid comes back happy, more confident, and full of stories, they realize just how good the time away was. 

Us moms are really good at feeling guilt — but Jesus doesn’t want that for us. He wants to give us joy and peace.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Jesus asks us. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The Lord has given all of us a charge as mothers: follow Him, and lead our children to Him as best we can. He hasn’t asked us to be perfect or tireless. He has asked us to rest and live out of the overflow of His love for us. 

So this Mother’s Day, find out how you rest in Him. 

Amy Lowe is the director of WinShape Camps for Girls and oversees WinShape Camps for Families. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Samford University and a Master of Arts in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Like most other moms, her hobbies include laundry, running the robot vacuum, and unloading the dishwasher.

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