The Joys and Sufferings of Motherhood
I became a mom four years ago. I learned something about the experience of going through pregnancy (and in my case, the medical intervention necessary just to get pregnant), labor and delivery, nurturing infants, and then toddlerhood—I thought I had seen and heard all there is to know about each phase, but began to hear from others about unsuccessful fertility treatments, miscarriages, stillbirths, long-term ailments from labor, colicky infants, autistic toddlers, and more. What I began to realize is that the “joys of motherhood” which I always heard about are not exempt from the sad consequences of the Fall. As Christians, we should not be surprised that motherhood, too, is marked with suffering. This can be a discouraging realization if we do not see that our suffering serves an important purpose instituted by God in love as a means to continue melding us into Christ’s likeness.
I write this as we are about to conclude this year’s Fellows program. Over the course of two semesters, we have discussed everything from the cultural mandate (Genesis 1:28), vocation, common grace, the effects of the Curse, and motherhood. We also spent a week studying this concept of what it means to suffer, why we suffer, how it shapes us as Christians, and God’s purpose in permitting us to suffer. As mothers who undergo seasons of suffering, we must look to God’s Word where we are reminded that God has promised to be there for us and with us. In 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, we read about Paul’s sufferings and that though he pleaded with the Lord in his affliction, God did not deliver him from his suffering, but rather through it. The Lord’s response to Paul in the midst of his suffering (v. 10) reads,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
As mothers who suffer in various forms, we must take comfort in knowing that in our suffering, we find the grace we need and the Lord’s perfect strength to see us through. Like Paul, we should follow up by boasting all the more in our weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon us (v.12).
Mothers, there is great joy to be found in seasons of suffering—joy that has its most ultimate anchor in the glorious hope we await as those who are united to Christ both in his death and in his resurrection.