New mothers often receive a lot of advice. If motherhood were a house, it would have many corners and nooks, ready to be filled with wisdom, suggestions, and life hacks. Moms do need plenty of practical strategies—often just to make it to lunch time.
But we also need to remember our supreme goal as mothers—otherwise, we’ll get sidetracked by the day-to-day minutiae. The apostle Paul reminded Timothy of the ultimate goal of all Christians: “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5). God’s Word exhorts us to aim for faithfulness in motherhood, in order to mirror God’s faithfulness to us in Christ.
Faithfulness in motherhood begins with sincere faith in Jesus, because without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). In his Word, God gives us shining examples of such faith. Paul wrote to Timothy, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (2 Tim. 1:5).
These women taught young Timothy the Scriptures that bring wisdom, leading to salvation (2 Tim. 3:14–15). And what was the result of Eunice and Lois’s sincere faith? Timothy, a son in their home but more importantly a son in the faith. Every time we pray aloud at a little one’s bedside or explain God’s Word to our kids, we walk in the faith-led footsteps of Lois and Eunice.
Once a mother has a sincere faith, how does that affect the practical aspects of mothering? Consider three truths.
1. Faithfulness depends on God—not self.
A faithful mother recognizes that her strength to live faithfully flows from grace. We daily rely on God’s Word and pray for his power to help kill our own sin, and we ask him for wisdom to deal with our kids’ sins. The thousands of opportunities we have to depend on Christ in mothering are gifts to be treasured, not despised.
The thousands of opportunities we have to depend on Christ in mothering are gifts to be treasured, not despised.
2. Faithfulness exhibits repentance—not self-righteousness.
A faithful mother sees pride as a barrier and ongoing repentance as a gift. When we take a moment to ask forgiveness from our children for yelling at them, or to confess our sin before them in times of family prayer, we model a life of faithful repentance.
3. Faithfulness commits to the church—not isolation.
Faithful mothering doesn’t exclude the body of Christ, even for a season. At times I’ve been tempted to believe the lie that the church gets in the way of my mothering. Many Lord’s Days I worked up a sweat getting the kids and myself ready, driving them to the gathering, unloading, settling us into seats—only to get up five minutes later to take a child out of service or spend the whole time feeding, changing, or getting someone to sleep.
In trying times, our flesh is tempted to forsake what we need most.
Why did I even bother coming? I used to think. I should have stayed home. In trying times, our flesh is tempted to forsake what we need most—and the church is often at the top of that list. But it’s always vital to gather with God’s people for worship.
Beware Pharisee ‘Faithfulness’
Sometimes we can think we are being faithful mothers. Maybe people compliment us on our kids or we throw fantastic birthday parties or we volunteer the most at our kids’ school. These can all be great things, but just because we look good that doesn’t mean we’re being faithful. Perhaps the greatest warning in Scripture about false faithfulness is the Pharisees. They seemed faithful, but Jesus said they were just whitewashed tombs (Matt. 6; 23:27).
I’m sure their lives would have been Insta-perfect, but they were ultimately empty. To them, godliness was only a means to worldly gain (1 Tim. 6:5–6). Moms, if not for the grace of God this would be us. We have been given a role of authority and influence, but we must let faith propel our work, contenting ourselves with sacrifice and obscurity, knowing that God sees our hidden righteousness.
Hope for the Faithless
We are deeply flawed mothers who have a flawless Savior. But there is hope for the unfaithful! Aim for faithfulness, and you will have an unequaled joy in Christ when everything is going right and when the laundry is piling up, the kids are fighting, and dinner is burning.
Sincere faith nourishes and energizes even the most exhausted of moms, as we learn to depend on the strong arms of our heavenly Father. May we daily point others, not to ourselves, but to God’s faithfulness so that the next generation might treasure the gospel and love him faithfully too.