Motherhood: Season of limitation or opportunity?

“University: possibly the best opportunity for evangelism you will get in your life.”

We’ve probably all heard it said, and perhaps with good reason. Is there any other stage of life when people are as open to new ideas, when you have plenty of free time, when you are so supported by churches and Christian Unions in evangelism, when you can share your life so fully?

I want to make the case that life as a mum can offer just as many good opportunities for sharing Christ.

How about motherhood?

It might not immediately strike you as the obvious answer… but I want to make the case that life as a mum can offer just as many good opportunities for sharing Christ.

Opportunity outside the home

Maternity leave and university are both seasons where you do a lot of sitting around with friends, drinking coffee and eating cake.

You share motherhood; an experience that transcends nationality, age, education, background, wealth, personality.

As a new mother, you have the unique opportunity of extended leave from your job and most new parents want to connect with others going through the same experience. There’s time to frequently meet up and develop friendships with a whole new group of people. And, bonus, there’s no awkward struggling for topics of conversation or common ground – you share motherhood; an experience that transcends nationality, age, education, background, wealth, personality.

Not only are people open to making new friends, they can also be more open to new ideas.

Pregnancy is a pretty awe-inspiring time as you watch your body grow a person! That can raise all sorts of questions. As can the arrival of said person and the sense of chaos they bring, not only to your life, but also to your sense of who you are. You no longer have a job to define you. You frequently feel a failure. Big questions about what makes you you come to the surface. There might well be wobbles, but fundamentally the Christian mum knows who she is: a beloved child of God. What a wonderful opportunity to witness to the anchor of your soul.

There might well be wobbles, but fundamentally the Christian mum knows who she is: a beloved child of God.

But aren’t I missing something? The debilitating tiredness, children hanging off body parts, hair that is 80% dry shampoo, the inability to have a complete conversation… how can I possibly be effective in sharing Christ?

Answer: because God’s power is most clearly shown in weakness.

Remember what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:7 – “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us”. So don’t hide your weakness, don’t gloss over when you feel you have come to the end of your resources, don’t try to make it seem like you have it all together, thinking that’s how to be a good Christian witness. Instead, share the mess and, as my friend puts it, “be open about who it is that’s propping you up and giving you life when you feel at your worst”.

Opportunity within the home

Having said all of that, I often find myself frustrated at how my children seem to limit my opportunities to share Christ. Again and again I have to remind myself that they are the biggest and best opportunity God has given me.

Listen to what Paul says of Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5 – “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”

Mothers, it is no small thing to share Christ with your children in your daily words, actions, priorities, demeanour, repentance, hope.

Just imagine what lies behind that verse: years of Lois faithfully sharing Christ with Eunice, modelling to her what it means to follow him, inspiring her with the way she loved Jesus, exhorting her to trust him in the twists and turns of life. And then in turn, Eunice giving birth to Timothy, changing his nappies, rocking him to sleep whenever he cried in the night, serving him sacrificially, and again, speaking to him of Christ. And wonderfully, Timothy not only takes her faith for his own, but he also goes on to be a pretty amazing church leader, sharing the faith he was taught by his mother with countless others. Just look at all that fruit – only God knows how much it truly is and in how many lives the impact of one faithful mother was felt.

Mothers, it is no small thing to share Christ with your children in your daily words, actions, priorities, demeanour, repentance, hope. It may be unseen, unglamorous hard work, often with little visible reward. But God sees and “at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

Do you hear that weary mother? God sees all that you do day by day and He can take what seems ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary. Just ask Lois.