Worship is one of my favorite parts of a church service. Voices raised in adulation, taking time out of a busy week to praise and thank God for who He is and all He’s done. It’s an intimate, personal expression of my love for my King.
Of course, it doesn’t always go smoothly. Sometimes, I’m stumbling in late, still flustered from whatever meltdown or lost shoe put us behind. Sometimes, I’m distracted by someone clapping off-beat or singing off-key. Sometimes, as much as I want to, I just can’t put my whole heart into it because my mind is distracted by 100 other things that await once service ends.
Fortunately, once we leave the sanctuary, I have the opportunity to continue my worship—a worship that rarely ends, worship that truly takes all of me and presents it to God as the best I’ve got, however broken and imperfect.
This is when I enter into motherhood as an act of worship.
Colossians 3:17 tells us that whatever we do or say, we should do as a representative of Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. In The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence says, “We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”
Motherhood, at least in my experience, is filled with little things. Millions of little things, all done with love. Checking backpacks for homework, cleaning crumbs out of every crevice, kissing knees, comforting sick tummies, soothing nightmares, changing sheets in the middle of the night, making meals, reading books, buckling car seats, listening to unending stories about video games—motherhood is made up of millions of small moments and gestures. Gestures that sing of our love for our kids, and that can sing of our love for the God who placed us with them.
Mary is known simply as the mother of Jesus. Between the manger and the cross, she performed millions of tiny tasks to care for Him. Mary, the mother of God, bathed her infant son, taught Him to walk, fed Him, cleaned up after Him, encouraged Him, caught Him, nursed Him. In order for our Savior to make it to the cross, He first had to be raised by a mother. Motherhood was necessary to the will of God.
You, mothers, even when tired, drained, discouraged—you are necessary to the will of God.
Motherhood is hard, frustrating, even isolating. I often find myself with tears dried on my cheeks, in a ball of brokenness, touched out, talked out, and doubting myself. Jesus’ own walk to Golgotha was painful, and while I wouldn’t say that motherhood and crucifixion are similar, I will acknowledge that both are journeys of sacrifice and completion, both are the will of God that ask very much of us in the name of love for our children.
And though Jesus did ask God if there was any other way, and He did sweat drops of blood, and oh my, how He suffered, not once did His love or commitment to us waiver. Not once does the weight of what we do convince us to stop loving our children. Jesus stumbling as He carried His cross never meant He couldn’t do it, and the same is true for us. How much easier the brokenness is to bear when we remember that we are not alone in our struggle, when we’re reminded that we can be made whole by the One who made us to begin with, when we remember that every step is an act of obedience and worship to God.
Then at the end, be it on a cross or waving goodbye from a dorm room or wedding reception, we cry out that it is finished. We know that the sacrifice, the pain, the brokenness was worth it. We know that God was glorified, His will was done, and our children are better for it.
Each of us has a purpose, a calling. We have gifts, abilities, passions that uniquely equip us to fulfill our destinies on this earth. If God has made you a mother—be it through biology, marriage, adoption, fostering, or a caring heart—you are a part of His plan, a plan that leans heavily on the acts of motherhood. The acts of motherhood, which offer the opportunity to do whatever you do for the glory of God. Acts of motherhood which become, then, acts of worship.
Who you are raising is someone God needs. Who you are is someone God needs.
The selfless acts you are performing are essential to achieving God’s will; therefore, you, as a mother, are walking in the very steps God has called you to. By viewing motherhood as an act of worship, you are inviting God to be instrumental in your walk as a mother.
We are all called to serve and worship in a myriad of ways—not all women are called to be mothers and motherhood is not the only way to serve God. But since each of us is knit together with intention by a God who does not make mistakes, it takes the willingness and servitude of a very loving mother to see that each person God creates is raised and cared for.
Motherhood, then, is the will of God, and committing ourselves to His will becomes an act of obedience, an act of worship.
Every small, thankless job and every enormous, daunting obstacle you conquer is an act of worship, a silent offering to Him that says, “Here I am, Father, broken, imperfect, and tired. I don’t know it all, I doubt myself, and I’m so very, very tired. But I know You are good and that You have placed me here. Do whatever You can with whatever there is left of me.”
Every shoe you tie, every bit of math homework you butt heads over, every piece of yourself that you give to your children can be done as an act of worship to the God who put you right where He needed you.
Because when God looked down at the whole of creation, devised a plan to express His boundless love for us, He realized that in order to send Jesus, a love letter to His people, first He needed a mother.