Preparation for Motherhood
‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’ – Benjamin Franklin
As human beings, preparation is part of our genetic make-up. We think long and hard about a journey we are about to embark upon. We ponder long and hard about the prospect of going to college; we work hard to secure a scholarship to help offset college costs. In all our endeavors, we take the time to prepare before we undertake any project. As believers, we believed it when Christ said, “I have gone to prepare a place for you.” In fact, our hope as believers is anchored on the fact that we have a place in Christ’s house. Preparation or the act of it is a noble one; our success or failure is determined in large part by the quality of our preparation. The parable of ten bridesmaids, as illustrated by the Lord, shows us that five of them were wise just because they planned ahead. The five bridesmaids had their lamps trimmed and shone for the moment of waiting; while the bridegroom was delayed in his coming, their lights went out while they slumbered. Though the delay was not on the agenda, they prepared for it regardless. Foresight made them see that delay of the bridegroom was a possibility; with this in mind, they made room for extra oil. Their preparation paid off; they made it to the wedding banquet when the bridegroom appeared. On the other hand were the five foolish bridesmaids.They lacked foresight and made no serious preparation for the coming of the bridegroom. They were not prepared for the situation that came to their ways; as a result, they missed out on the great feast. Motherhood is no different. In this parable, we learned that we should give thought to proper planning and preparation for whatever we do.
What type of preparation do we spend our time on when we are waiting for the arrival of our baby? We take the time to prepare the baby’s nursery; we array our baby’s room with costly and fine linen, and the rooms are decked with furniture appropriate for age. While we are waiting for the arrival of our baby, we started preparing for their first day of school. We were already preparing for contribution into their RESP. Much of the clothing we buy for them will not be worn because no sooner than the baby arrives, they begin outgrowing the size. We fill our days with lifeless routines that have no eternal value. If this is all our preparation for motherhood is about, we are not doing well. We are missing out on the opportunity to prepare ourselves for a life-changing and life-enriching experience called motherhood.
How should we prepare for motherhood? I will consider two important ways in this article.
Be prepared by knowing your calling:
The day a soldier gets enlisted in the army, he has answered a particular call to service. He swore an oath to defend the motherland against any form of aggression. In a way, he has surrendered his life for a greater purpose. He stands in defense of his fellow countrymen. The homeland security becomes his preoccupation. As mothers, we must understand motherhood as a calling that requires our utmost dedication. We must see this calling as God sees it. Motherhood is a place of influence. As a soldier stands guard for the homeland, fully armed with weapons of warfare, so also must mothers be willing to stand guard for their children in prayers. Abraham Lincoln said of his mother, “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They clung to me all my life.” Mothers through the ages have influenced the life of their children through prayers. Sometimes, the result of such prayers is not immediate, but with persistence and perseverance, we will see the fruit of our prayers. When we accept prayer as part of the calling, it is only then we can begin a lifetime of prayer. Many, I believe, will say, I am not a new mom, so what? The good news is that it is never too late to cultivate a life of prayer for our children. Moms-to-be can begin prayer, even well before their babies are born; new moms can start right now. For the older moms, prayers can prepare children for their first day of school; prayer can help them make the right decisions for their life. Whatever the stage of the motherhood, prayer can become our weapon of warfare on behalf of our children. Different stages of life come with various challenges; our prayers will go a long way to support them at these various twists and turns of life. Mothers, just like soldiers, become a solid line of defense for the children through prayers.
We must also know our calling as a teacher. In this age of moral decadence, the generation that calls good evil and evil good; our mothers are called to a frontline of teaching the word of God to their children. Mothers have a unique opportunity to do this every day: when we nurse them in our bosom, when we walk with them in the way, and when we drop them off and pick them up from school or the playground. The opportunities are boundless. We occupy a place of significance and influence. Results from a recent study in Australia indicate that 52% of people in the survey said their mother was the single biggest influence on shaping who they are today; 56% of women and 48% of men identified their mom as the person with the largest influence on their lives. Four in five men and women put their mom in the top three most influential person list. In the study, responders put mother, father, and spouse as the major influencers in their lives in that order. From the result of that study and others like it, the question is not if we will have an influence on our children; the question is how we will influence them and what our influence will be. There is no better way to influence our children other than influencing them for God. Teaching and imbibing in them the character of Jesus is the best hope this generation has. That’s our calling as mothers, and we must be faithful in fulfilling it.
Be prepared by knowing the Caller:
God himself is the one who has called all mothers on this lifelong journey of motherhood. He made himself known to us through his only beloved son Jesus Christ. When the journey of motherhood becomes dreary, and it seems we are failing in our calling, our only source of hope and repose is Jesus. He’s willing to work by our side every step of the way. We can learn from a historical figure such as Susanna Wesley; she was the mother of John and Charles Wesley, those great preachers, who significantly influenced their generation and extended the frontier of the gospel. One great influence in their lives was their mother. She said, “We must know God experientially for unless the heart perceive and know Him to be to be the supreme good, her only happiness, unless the soul feel and acknowledge that she can have no repose, no peace, no joy, but in loving and being loved by Him.” Unless the Lord builds a house, the builders’ work is useless” (Psalm 127:1). The Lord is willing to make the burden of motherhood lighter and easier to bear. My encouragement for our mothers is to allow Christ’s love to be made manifest in their lives. When no one understands our pain, He does; our mothers should make Jesus the source of their joy; He is the solid ground that will not shift in the face of the challenges that may come their way. He is the one that has called you to this great calling, and we have the assurance of the Holy words of God that faithful is He who has called you, who will also do it. There may be some mothers today who are weighed down by failure; some believe that their lives and past decisions have alienated them from their children, and it appears there is no more of hope of restoration, but there is great news: Christ can make the best of a bad situation. He is a restorer of hope and joy, and He can restore them today. All we need to do is to trust in His loving arm and accept the true love He offers. When we believe Him and walk by His side, the journey of motherhood takes on a new whole meaning. When all our best efforts in motherhood fall short, when it appears we can’t fix what has broken, we have Christ by our side, and He will help us through those difficult times.
Susanna Wesley: Christian Mother – Christian Living, Trivia, (http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1701-1800/susanna-wes (accessed November 29, 2015))
Mothers are the most influential life-shapers (http://mccrindle.com.au/the-mccrindle-blog/mothers-are-the-most-influential-life-shapers)