A couple weeks ago, Jordan and I went out for dinner and coffee at a cute little cafe. Jairus went with us on our little date night because the boys gotta eat too and we haven’t given him a bottle yet . As our meal came to an end and we devoured the last bit of chocolate espresso torte drizzled with raspberry sauce (which was unbelievably delicious by the way), the waiter brought us the check and commented, “Don’t feel pressured, but I know things may have to be hurried when you have a child.”
I was a bit surprised by this statement. Not that he was trying to be offensive or that his statement was insulting in any particular sense, but that it carried with it an underlying, seemingly universal believe that enjoyment, fragile enjoyment, is nearly impossible when a little one enters the picture. We had planned for a long evening there, reading, writing, enjoying the live music-the place had the word “leisure” in the title for petes sake; we were going to enjoy ourselves and having a child didn’t impede that possibility- at least in our minds.
As we left the restaurant, we saw a lady with her baby in a stroller. Perceiving the “baby connection,” and excited to tell her about Jairus, we asked how old her little dude was. After looking at Jairus she commented, “6 months…and don’t worry it gets better.” Again, I was put aback. Now granted, Jairus is a pleasurable baby, probably more than most, but all I could think was, “Is this really what we believe about children?”
It dawned on me that our world sends a profusion of lies about motherhood and children in general- that relaxing evenings, quiet nights, travel and vacation, and personal enjoyment are all impeded when a child is introduced into the picture. Life stops as your raise your little one and only begins again after they leave 18 years later.
What lies we have started to believe.
I mentioned before that this type of thinking has infiltrated my own through process, and I have had to learn (and am continuing to learn) that laying down my life is not a burden, but a joy, especially in motherhood. See, I am a mother. Called to be a mother by God who desires that husbands and wives bear children, be it physical or spiritual, both of which involve sacrificing the self and putting in its place a heart and mind set on Christ.
Christianity is about a death that births true life- new life in Christ- new life that makes being a mother something other than a selfish desire or a burden- something with kingdom supremacy, where joy and freedom are found. We lay down our own life to follow Christ who is life, and motherhood is no exception.
God calls children a “heritage…a reward” (Psalm 127:3) so why do we look on them as a burden? That word “heritage” or “nachala” in the Hebrew can be understood as an inheritance, a possession, a property with the assumption that the thing in question is valuable, valuable enough in fact for one to pass it down through many generations. The words “reward” is “sakar” in Hebrew and means wages, the price for which anything is hired and has the idea of a temporary purchase.
Children are the Lord’s possession gifted to us and crowned with a myriad of lessons to be learned about Him. The lessons on love, peace, patience, joyfulness, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, and self- control abound in all things Jairus and we are constantly being sanctified in our interactions with him. I can only imagine that these lessons will continue and that these fruits will manifest themselves with greater depth and outpourings in our lives.
Mothers are spiritual teachers with a lofty command to teach their children the ways of the Lord. This instruction is not always formal but manifests itself in our attitudes as cleaners and cooks and chauffeurs- the daily duties that nobody but our children and the Lord will ever see. There is no greater calling than to bear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He will be glorified by the mouths of babes and Lord willing, one of them will be ours.