The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (I Corinthians 9:6-8)
You know deep down in your bones that motherhood is your highest calling. You know, when you stop to consider, that you want to do this well, for his glory. You know, that when you invest in your children and your family that you feel fulfilled in deep and marvelous ways.
But, when the demands and interruptions of the everyday reality are unrelenting, you also wonder what on earth you signed up for! How could all this nose wiping and bum wiping be making a difference? You feel unseen and worn out. Sin crouches at your door, and tempts you to resent all these expectations; these impossible expectations that others have and you have of yourself. Suddenly motherhood doesn’t feel like a calling, it feels like a life sentence. You self-medicate with chocolate or social media, but it doesn’t really cure the ache. You start to snap at your kids over little things, you deny them the love and grace they long for.
Mama, you need the gospel.
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18)
You are loved, more than you know. You have been given so much. Now be generous mama, and give yourself away.
When your son wakes early and wants to cuddle up with you in bed, be generous. Make a little room for him.
When the milk spills at breakfast, dripping off the table and splashing the chair legs, be generous. You haven’t finished your tea yet, I know, but take a moment to remember it was an accident after all. Grab two dishcloths and clean the mess together, with a smile on your face.
When it’s time to go and every sock in the house has unfathomably lost its mate, be generous. Don’t lose your cool. Go on a scavenger hunt, or wear sandals.
When it’s 2:30 and you’ve given every bit of yourself, brew a cup and find a sliver of chocolate. Put up your feet. 10 seconds later, when the big kids fight and wake the baby and dash all your hopes of a quiet, refreshing moment, be generous. You thought you were poured out, and there was nothing left to give but there is just a little bit more.
When it’s 5:30 and your husband walks through the door and asks what’s for dinner, be generous. He’s just hungry, he’s not making a statement about your worth. If you have no idea what’s for dinner, make scrambled eggs or order pizza. Bellies will be full and no one will complain about your culinary failures.
When it’s 8:45 and one of the kids gets up for the 5th time, be generous. Remember that they aren’t infringing on your chill time on purpose. Tell them you want to hear their story about the latest episode of Paw Patrol – in the morning. Kindly, firmly, send (take) them back to bed. The boundaries are for their good, but so is the generous spirit of their mama.
Be generous with your time, with your patience, with your love. Give grace liberally to all, whether they deserve it or not.
Mama, I know how easy it is to resent all the demands, interruptions and expectations. It’s easy to groan and grumble when you are bone tired and they need one more thing.
I know it’s easy to believe that if you don’t take time for yourself, don’t make sure you save a little bit of energy for your own needs that you won’t have anything left. I know that culture repeats the #metime mantra over and over, and it’s easy to become bitter when you don’t get what “they” say you deserve.
The lies are easy to believe, the truth is hard
Stinginess is easy. It feels right, to keep a little (a lot) back for yourself. To begrudge the child that tries to steal a little more than what you want to give. But is that Jesus’ way?
Yes, there are biblical rhythms of Sabbath – and resting in them you will find true refreshment for your soul. But there is also your selfish clinging to unhealthy ways to R & R – the kind that leaves you feeling sick and more drained than before. Too much ice cream, too many levels of Candy Crush, and too many pairs of shoes come to mind.
Enjoy the blessings God gives, enjoy creation and creativity – but don’t forget that blessings are meant to be shared. Be generous.
Sweet mama, I suppose it all comes down to faith and trust. Do you trust that when you sow cheerfully and generously that he will cause a bountiful to harvest grow from those seeds? Do you trust that the one with his eye on the sparrows is watching and caring for you too? Do you believe that he will give you strength in your weakness?
Do you believe that you must hold back like a miser? Do you believe that your energy, time, talents, love are your own to keep or give as you desire? Have you forgotten that you are not your own, but were bought with a price?
Do you trust that he will show your where to sow your seeds? Where to let go? When to persevere in love?
He will fill you up when you feel poured out. He will sustain you. He will meet all your needs. Rest in Him.
Be generous to those he’s called you to, not to earn his favor, but because he has given you favor already. Be generous for the benefit of others and yourself. Lose your life, so that you may find it in Jesus.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25)