“That’s it? That is all the juice we get!” gasped my 4-year-old son in disgust as he eyed the small amount of orange liquid yielded from the pile of oranges we had juiced.
My older son begged for us to make homemade, fresh-squeezed orange juice with our breakfast, so I obliged. There is something about the taste of fresh juice, isn’t there?
As I glanced at the small amount in the bowl, I replied, “I think we’re going to need more oranges next time” and divided up our fresh orange juice into cups for us to enjoy.
My 4-year-old’s statement, so blunt and honest, resonated with me but in a different way.
Isn’t that how motherhood feels at times? Staring at what’s in front of us asking honestly “Where’s the fruit?” I don’t see it.
Questioning how we’re mothering our kids, asking these things: Am I a good mom? Am I messing up my kids? Am I doing enough?
How do I know I’m doing a good job?
We conduct our daily duties blindly hoping, trusting, and praying that our kids will turn out all right. That the countless hours of work have instilled positive character traits in them that truly matter like kindness, responsibility, perseverance, and resilience.
We go through the motions of our chaotic days and resent all the daily tasks that require our attention. We grumble about the laundry, dishes, and the mess all over the floors and counters.
We give so much of ourselves to others that we forget about our needs. Exhaustion and burnout ensue. The cycle continues as we throw our hands up, saying, “Where’s the fruit? What am I working tirelessly for?”
The enemy gets into our heads and preys on our shortcomings, whispering “You’re screwing them up,” “You’re a bad mom,” or “You’re not making a difference.” Sometimes we believe these lies, which quickly diminishes our confidence like a vanishing vapor. We allow guilt and shame to put walls up around us because we’re convinced that we deserve all the blame.
Mama, when you find yourself looking for meaning in being a mother, remind yourself of these three Biblical truths.
1. Do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
The dishes for the third time today. Wiping up another spill. Calming down your child after a tantrum. All of it! Keep going even when you don’t feel like it. Rest assured that every seemingly little thing we do as moms matters. It all adds up and shapes our kids into who they will become. God sees every single thing you do for your kids and family.
2. None of your labor is ever done in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Trust this process of teaching and refining, knowing that God doesn’t waste anything. Ask God for confidence that what you’re building in your kids truly matters for eternity.
3. Build a foundation of faith in your child and they will not part from it (Proverbs 22:6).
Teach them which path to take. A solid foundation of faith will help them when life doesn’t go their way and they experience heartbreak or hardship. Faith will get them through the hard days.
With this next chapter of my kids entering elementary school, I am starting to see the fruits of my labor little by little. That doesn’t mean I still don’t question what I’m doing or feel ill-equipped at times. I do. But God is faithful and is great at showing us, in His timing, that we are on the right track with mothering our children. If we ask God to show us the fruit, He will. God will reward you along your journey of motherhood. Your harvest is coming. Trust Him!
As my son’s teacher pushed over her report to me, I glanced at the first words at the top of the page. To the right of the word “strengths” was the first word she used to describe my son: kind. I felt not only a sigh of relief but a moment of satisfaction and gratefulness as my eyes fell upon that word again and again as she talked.
That word right there, I thought, is all I can ask for: kindness.
The countless hours, days, weeks, and years have yielded kindness in my son’s character.
There is a piece of fruit right in front of me written down as a reminder. And I’m gonna hold onto it. Because I’ll need it for the hard days that will inevitably come.
Don’t miss the small moments where you see your kids reflecting an ounce of God’s character. Those moments are gold in the eyes of a hardworking mother. Hold onto them. Write them down. Put them on the fridge. Celebrate! Let those beautiful moments give you satisfaction, purpose, and motivation to continue this journey of motherhood, bearing fruit along the way.