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Have You Lost The Joy Of Motherhood?
 

by Maranatha Chapman

Are you a tired, worn out, frustrated mama who loves her children deeply but has lost the joy of mothering? Is every day with your children such a drain that you cannot wait for it to end, even to the point that you count down the minutes until their bedtime? Do you feel an incredible burden of guilt because you know you are supposed to love and enjoy this beautifully fulfilling role of motherhood, and yet you don’t, so you ashamedly scratch your head and wonder what is wrong with you?

 

Recently I have talked with quite a few precious mothers who find themselves in these types of situations and have asked for help in trying to find or rediscover enjoyment in their mothering. Perhaps you need help too.


Enjoying motherhood is not some unrealistic fantasy or worldly ideal. As with anything the Lord has for us, I believe we can be filled with His joy and the life of His Spirit while we engage in all of the daily, day-long aspects of mothering. We know from the Scriptures that it is very important for us to have our hearts fully engaged in loving our children and giving ourselves to the God-given role we play in their lives. Sure, we may get tired or have to endure the unpleasantness of disobedience, bad attitudes, or any number of other hardships. But “joy in the Holy Spirit” and the abundant life Jesus came to give us are not contingent upon favorable circumstances—they are “in Him,” and if we are saved, we are in Him too. (Rom. 14:16-19, John 10:10, Eph. 1:3-21) Most of us know this on at least a theological level, but how is it that we still lose the substance, the real life experience of it? I have found that it is typically our wrong ideas, assumptions, conclusions, and beliefs that keep us from abiding in the joy of the Lord.


Below I have compiled a simple list of reasons why mothers many times lose their joy. The point here is not to go through the solutions for each of these causes, but rather to help you identify the obstacle or the lack which hinders you from abiding in His joy. As you read through this, ask the Holy Spirit to help you see if any of this applies to you. If it does, then ask Him to give you His wisdom for how to get your heart freed up and go on from here. (James 1:2-8)

 

As you read through this, ask the Holy Spirit to help you see if any of this applies to you. If it does, then ask Him to give you His wisdom for how to get your heart freed up and go on from here

 


You may have lost your joy in motherhood because…


You are just performing a duty or fulfilling a commitment. Obviously there is no heart in this. Truly loving our children involves more than merely functioning and accomplishing. There is the enjoying of one another, the bonding, and the heart connecting that goes on in the process.


Your eyes are focused on yourself. There is nothing but death in being self-focused or self-absorbed. If you are constantly looking at your need, you end up alone, unfulfilled, and depressed. You really don’t have to devote your time to looking at all of your self-interests. Draw near to Him, focus on Him—He is the only One who has Life in Himself. (John 5:26) We sure don’t, do we? Trust in the Lord and take in His care for you. Your heart will feel so much freer to love and enjoy everyone, especially your children.


You have unmet expectations. I’m sure all of us have dealt with this one! I have found this to be the Number One joy-killer among mothers. Your unmet expectations can be either very general or really specific depending on how and where you are focused. For example, you expect that your children will be (fill in the blank) or do (fill in the blank), and it just does not turn out that way. These unfulfilled expectations can be very disappointing and leave you feeling sad and disillusioned. The emotions are so powerful you just know (assume) you have perceived the situation correctly, but you haven’t. All the pain you feel is the result of your having decided ahead of time how something would be, or should be, when in reality you have no control over the outcome or the motives, choices, needs, limitations, or intentions of others. You set yourself up to be let down.


The key to dealing with expectations is Proverbs 3:5. If you do not have the heart of “acknowledging Him in all your ways” and “not to leaning on our own understanding” you are going to feel constantly frustrated and stressed. This, in turn, will rob you of any joy in motherhood or enjoyment of your children as you go through daily life. For example, let’s say you decide to have this big wonderful breakfast for the whole family to enjoy, but then one of them gets sick or there is something wrong with the oven, and you can’t do it. Then, instead of enjoying a bowl of cereal with your children, you are sitting there stewing over the big breakfast and the “quality family time” that wasn’t. Your frustration blinds you to the opportunity for “quality family time” that is right in front of you. Or say you expect your husband to be home by 6 p.m. and lead the family in a wonderful time together, but something comes up and he cannot make it home until 8 p.m. You then feel the evening is ruined. Rather than seeing what the Lord has instead for those two hours, and then enjoying whatever your husband does lead in when he gets home, you are ready for this “horrible” day to be over.


You have to constantly lay down all of your expectations for how you expect life will be. Learn to be one who acknowledges the Lord in all your ways, waits upon Him, watches for His leadings, and follows His Spirit. Life is full of interruptions, unanticipated events, unexpected outcomes, and simply not getting what we want. Learn to accept this with a smile from your heart and even enjoy the change-ups.


 

You have to constantly lay down all of your expectations for how you expect life will be. Learn to be one who acknowledges the Lord in all your ways, waits upon Him, watches for His leadings, and follows His Spirit. Life is full of interruptions, unanticipated events, unexpected outcomes, and simply not getting what we want. Learn to accept this with a smile from your heart and even enjoy the change-ups.

Your belief about children is off/wrong. If you view your children as being in the way or an interruption or a hassle, you will not enjoy them or being their mother. Learn to see them as the blessing the Lord says they are, (Ps. 127:3-5, 128:1-6) even when they are in the midst of training or in a stage that requires a lot of “hands on” attention and hard work. Repent of any worldly ideas about children being an impediment to your life, and do not participate in any conversation or event or media propaganda where they are viewed as bratty or leechy appendages.


You believe the lie that you must have more money or material things to be able to enjoy your children. This is simply not true.
But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang. (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

 


There are always going to be things you need—gadgets or appliances that will make life easier, books for the home library, toys that promote creativity and good character, clothing, etc. But do not buy into the lie that it is these things that bring joy to life and motherhood or that they will facilitate you enjoying your children. The Lord and His life is the only thing that brings joy, and this is true regardless of where you fall on the scale from poor to rich. You can have an incredible time with your children whatever your financial/material circumstances. Just see what the Lord has and go with it. It could be that you sew some nice dresses with your older daughters or that you gather up sticks with your little ones. The point is the life shared together not how many props you have on the stage of the drama we call “life.”


You are hanging on to your past status... (This article does not appear in it's entirety. To read the full article, you can order the back issue of an An Encouraging Word titled, "A Word Fitly Spoken", Issue #40. Order from our back issue pages here or write to An Encouraging Word, P.O. Box 374 Covert, MI 49043)

About the author: Maranatha and her husband, Matthew, homeschool their six children on a small farm in Central Texas. Maranatha has a 2-tape series for women called, “Created For The Man’s Sake,” which is available for $11.50 postpaid. Materials by Matthew and Maranatha can be obtained through Kindling Publications, P.O. Box 306, Hearne, Texas 77859-0306. © 2004 Matthew Chapman
 

 

This article was published in An Encouraging Word issue #40, and may not be reprinted or distributed in any form without express written consent from the publisher. All Rights Reserved.

 

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