Are You a Mother First? Hmmm.

Motherhood is indeed a noble calling and one we should take seriously. In fact, many mothers, in my estimation, need to take it a little more seriously. Being a mother is not the same as owning a cat or a dog; it's not a hobby or a collection. Being a mother is a commitment, a job, a calling, a serious duty that has to be seen through from beginning to .... well, I suppose there really is no end, just changes in the job description.

And I know many moms who have embraced the role of mother completely. I see young moms choosing to stay home with their young children during formative years, other moms deciding to homeschool their young learners, and moms giving up many of their own dreams in order to help their children achieve their own. I see and know moms who invest in their children spiritually, praying for them and discipling them. I am acquainted with moms who spend a lot of time on their knees doing spiritual battle on behalf of their kids. So I'm proud to report that there is a host of dedicated, strong, dependable, and loving moms out there doing their jobs well.

But are we taking it too far?

Over the years I have heard more than one mom say that being a mother is the most important thing in the world to her. And, no, I didn't misunderstand. In each case, those moms would go on to elaborate, stating that their children came before anything and anyone else in their lives. They'd humbly boast about the dedication they showed to their children, forsaking all else to ensure their comfort, their education, their safety, their growth. Not only that, but these moms would then state that nothing brought them more joy, more satisfaction, more sense of accomplishment than being a mom.

To these women, they were a mother first...and last. Mother was/is an all-consuming title in their lives.

A recent Barna poll of Christian women revealed that 62% of Christ-following women said their most important role in life is as a mother or parent. Their relationship with no one else took precedence over that tie between mom and child, ...not even their relationship with Jesus. In contrast, only 13% of Christian women surveyed indicated that their role as a Christ-follower is their most significant role in their lives. Hmmm.

Please tell me I am not the only one who finds issue with this statistic.

Sweet sisters, Jesus himself told us that His true followers would consistently and dogmatically put Him above anyone else. He said it using these unsettling words,

"If anyone comes to Me, 
and does not hate his own father and mother 
and wife and children and 
brothers and sisters, yes, 
and even his own life, 
he cannot be My disciple."
(Luke 14:26)
{bold print mine for emphasis}

While most biblical scholars and theologians agree that Jesus intended for us to take note of the wide range of affection rather than literally determine to "hate" or loathe or scorn our family members, He definitely drew a bold line in the sand here. We either are His dedicated followers, putting everyone else at a far second, or we are entangled in the affairs of this world and have nothing to do with Him. There is no gray area here.

Is this an unfair request on Jesus' part? Absolutely not. In fact, He proves once again to know best. For when we put Him first, seeking Him and His priorities first and above all others, then indeed everything else falls nicely into place (see Matthew 33). When we make our relationship with Jesus the flagship relationship in our lives, then all of other relationships are affected positively:
Dear moms, it may seem noble and good to put your children first. And truthfully, we can get by with that misalignment of affection and loyalty even in the church (or so we think) because such priorities seem tender and sweet and sacrificing and even, mistakenly, godly. But don't fall for that. Jesus' calling on your life is that you put Him first...every time...all the all ways. And when you do, your children will reap a substantial blessing. 

What do you need to do to realign your priorities between being a mother and being a Christ follower? How can you invest more in your role as "Christian" today, this week? How can you demonstrate to your children that Jesus is first in your life?


***Post script:  Please note that I wrote this post in advance on Tuesday. At that time, I had no idea that one of our MOPS moms would hear that very afternoon that her two-year-old was being diagnosed with leukemia. My heart breaks for Jamie and her daughter McKenna. I ask that you please pray for this precious little girl and her family if you will. But I also want to note that this post in no way is meant to minimize or trivialize the great demands upon or the requirements placed upon moms, especially in such difficult circumstances. There are indeed times when the role of motherhood feels overwhelming and all-consuming. But that is only reason more that we moms must be committed to strengthening and investing in our relationship with the Lord, first and foremost. It is in that tight bond with our God that we are best able to handle and even thrive in the serious demands of motherhood.

I just felt, in light of the heaviness of this moment being experienced by so many of my MOPS moms on Jamie's behalf, that I needed to make that clarification. Jamie is a good mom, a dedicated mom, but she also knows her God. He will see her through this time. -

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