Thursday, September 11, 2008

Jean Williams on motherhood

During our seminar on motherhood on Saturday, I gave my testimony about being a mum. Here's a potted version. Readers of this blog will be familiar with some of the themes. You see, I've been thinking about this for a while!

Motherhood came relatively easily to me. I prayed and longed for a baby. I've never forgotten discovering I was pregnant, or seeing our babies for the first time.

But motherhood challenged all my expectations: there’s nothing like 8 months of sleepless nights to make you wonder just how wonderful this thing called “motherhood” is! And I came to motherhood so untrained: 6 weeks into caring for my first baby, I felt utterly bewildered about how to settle her. Mums also get little encouragement: my least favourite question, "Do you work?", always makes me feel like I'm achieving nothing.

We come to motherhood with high expectations, little training, and little encouragement.

My girl's school taught me that women should be doctors or lawyers, if they got the marks, and never once mentioned motherhood. Society tells me every day that children are a burden, an obstacle to my status, my ambitions, my fulfilment. The church tells me that ministry is something you do for people outside the home, leading Bible studies, mentoring people, or filling the church roster.

Sometimes I start to listen to those voices. This year was one of those times. I became so immersed in ministry outside the home - writing, teaching, leading seminars - that I think my mothering suffered.

Until I realised a startling fact: motherhood is one of the most important ministries you will ever have. We’re not marking time, waiting for real life, real work, real ministry, to start. We’re doing that important ministry today.

Just think how many opportunities we have, every day, to talk with our children about God! Not only when we read the Bible with them at night. But also while we cook, chat with them about school, or take a casserole to a family in need; or as we walk with them through anxiety, sickness or grief.

It's our incredible privilege to raise children, God willing, to be happy, healthy adults, who love God with their whole heart, who love and serve others, and who will help to take the gospel to the world. For one day you and I will let our children go, perhaps to marriage, work, or ministry, perhaps even to ministry overseas.

Some parents are unwilling to let their children leave the nest. We see this all the time in our university ministry. Parents are unwilling to see their educated children choose a low-status job in Christian ministry. They are certainly unwilling to let their children take their grandchildren overseas, to bring the gospel to those who have never heard.

I hope that I can let my children go with joy, knowing that I have taught and trained them to become the people God wants them to be.

If you'd like to see the full version, please contact me using the box to the right.


Louisa said...

Hi Jean, thanks for sharing this. I have linked to it from my blog - I hope that's Ok.

Jean said...

Like all bloggers, I love a link! ;) Link as much as you like. Glad you enjoyed it.

Cathy McKay said...

Thanks Jean, that is worth sharing!

mattnbec said...

Amen, amen, amen.