13 Feb 2012

The gospel according to motherhood

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
~1 Corn. 1:27

I came by motherhood backwards.

It was never my intention or my dream. It was a slow revelation that “barefoot and pregnant” was not a phrase ever used by Jesus. It took me years and a good man to put those three words behind me. And then on a Tuesday morning in South Africa I birthed a baby boy with the sunrise and discovered that God had saved the best till last.

It was so good.

I am not a Bible scholar. I write stories. They’re not long ones and they last all of a couple days on this blog. But they are the gospel that speaks the loudest to me. Not buried in Greek or Hebrew, but lisped by baby boys who hate when I call them babies. God’s love for me is so loud when I look at my children that even my worst days can’t drown it out.

Every day I wake up knowing by the time I crawl back into bed with my laptop, a book or a favorite movie I will have learned more than I bargained for. I will be tired in every part of me. I will feel stretched out and squishy. I will often be frustrated that no one is staying in bed like they’re supposed to. But I will also know that the Lisa-Jo today has grown up. And the Lisa-Jo tomorrow will grow up further still.

Grown up, dragged up by her kids and the God that made them.

This unglamorous truth is my Gospel.

It’s where I understand why Jesus would have died for me and why the Father would have sent Him. It’s the place of Cheerios stuck to the sides of bowls and self sacrifice on repeat with the loads of laundry. A parent will always lay down their life for their child. Jesus loves me this I know, for my children teach me so.

Gospel climbs off the pages of Scripture on Mondays during the pre-school rush and reminds me that Christ lives in me. That this must make a difference in my day. It must slow me down when I want to rush and shout and gnash my teeth and wail at the child who’s lost his shoes again. And some days I snap, “see, that’s what happens when you don’t put them away like I’ve told you a meeelllion times before!” And other days I remember the Gospel buried here in my mess and I swallow my shout and instead work hard at remembering that love is patient and kind.

Because it is hard work to remember to be kind and patient when you know mere minutes stand between the kid who can’t find his shoes and a “tardy” note from school.

In the living room, between the discarded pajama pants and the left over bagel I work out my salvation with fear and trembling. And then we buckle everyone into the car and Micah tells me school is stupid.

This afternoon I will walk to pick Jackson up from school. Zoe comes along in the pink stroller all bundled up in purple layers. Later we will go and get Micah. Then there might be tacos for dinner and Tae Kwon Do this evening. Someone will fuss and someone will cry. Someone won’t be able to find something.

And tonight everyone will want to sleep in my bed.


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Comments

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  1. 1

    I love you so much for writing these posts. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who struggles to be patient and kind. Sometimes no amount of love for your children can keep your frustration from exploding, but God always can. Thanks for the reminder to turn to Him at those times and to see His love clearly displayed in the silly remarks, laughter, smiles, and painted toes of my girls.

  2. 2

    amen. and again I say, amen.

  3. 3

    Sheer truth captured in your words – thank you….

  4. 4

    Honestly shared and Holy Spirit-inspired- I feel like these words are meant for me. Thank you for so eloquently expressing how this stage of parenting “fits in” with the daily Christian walk.

  5. 5

    Thank you. I needed this today!

  6. 6

    Good, true words. Thanks.

  7. 7

    You have described a universal truth that many of us forget: children have a message that we, as adults, have forgotten. Their love brings us closer to God if we accept it uncoditionally. I know that I am blessed every day that passes with the inclusion of children in my life.

  8. 8

    Oh yes…motherhood…the gospel in action…Just spent the weekend with my grandlove…oh how this has renewed my love for motherhood…when you do it to the least of these…the unspoken love given…all the ways love is given…but overlooked by the world…and how the love of a mom reflects and speaks so much of His love for us…
    Blessings as you continue to walk the gospel where it counts the most….

  9. 9

    AMEN!!! I have not seen our Father’s heart more clearly then in the light of my children. They humble me and keep me clinging to Maker. They break my heart and show my a glimpse of what breaks His heart. Oh and the great need for patience and Grace… To mt knees I go. Thank you!

  10. 10

    I knew I needed to wait to read this when I could fully focus. Your words show the daily struggle to die to self in motherhood in such a beautiful light. The beautiful light that it is. Thank you for sharing! This encouraged my mama heart today!

  11. 11

    I have nothing profound to say, except that your writing has really been getting me lately. Thank you for being transparent.

  12. 12

    “Every day I wake up knowing by the time I crawl back into bed with my laptop, a book or a favorite movie I will have learned more than I bargained for. I will be tired in every part of me. I will feel stretched out and squishy. I will often be frustrated that no one is staying in bed like they’re supposed to. But I will also know that the Lisa-Jo today has grown up. And the Lisa-Jo tomorrow will grow up further still.”
    Thank you for this. I think I go through my days very mindful of what I’m doing (moreso, what I’m NOT doing) for my kids, but not very mindful of how it’s affecting, molding, changing, teaching me. In a very non-descript and unexplainable way, this paragraph explained that to me. Thanks again.

  13. 13

    Wow. All I can say is WOW and THANK YOU.

  14. 14

    As the mother of a young man who, through all of his nineteen years, has never been able to find his shoes, I say, “Glory, hallelujah, and amen!”

    But, oh, how I love that young man. And, oh, how he teaches me that when I am weak, He is strong!

  15. 15

    this made me smile with the knowing. these boys here are getting so big. and everyday we’re out of something – milk, bread, shoes that fit, cash for the older to use for gas….

    and i love that you feel like you are growing up. i never ever feel like a grown-up mom. and i just hit 42. it just seems that everyone else knows what she is doing and i am clueless!

  16. 16

    Love this line: Grown up, dragged up by her kids and the God that made them. Isn’t that the truth? Thank you, Lisa-Jo…you are so blessed, and so are your kids :)

  17. 17

    I truly enjoy your blog – your honesty and humor. My boys are long grown with children of their own now, but your words bring back memories. So glad you are sharing your heart with other young mothers.

    • 18
      thegypsymama says:

      Thanks Brooke – it’s always nice to know that there are others who can cheer us on, still here in the trenches. I’m glad you find something here too.

  18. 19

    LOVE this post….such a sweet reminder that our mothering, our daily living, really is our way of working out our salvation…oh, I needed that this morning-as I am sure there will be lots of crying and homework not completed and tardy notes!!! again….

  19. 20

    God’s love for me is so loud when I look at my children that even my worst days can’t drown it out. I love this sentence…it brought tears to my eyes!!!!! Thanks for sharing what all mothers have to go through….and realise we are not alone. Keep up the good work!

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