Dear Miss Graceful and Miss Joyous,
Lend me your ear as I talk to you about a conversation I overheard at a Mother’s Meeting awhile ago. It is something many mums might say to one another, especially in groups of of mums of many children. It may be spoken as a pithy yet affectionate acknowledgement of motherhood and the trials that go hand in hand with it. It goes something like this,
The more children one has, the more one grows and becomes more humble.
But is this right? Is this godly advice?
In my own walk as a woman of God and as a mother, I have gone through the gamut of emotions that comes with parenting. And the Lord certainly has used my life as a parent in order to grow me. Only God knows how much you children have had me on my knees, drawing me closer to Himself when otherwise I might not have. Yes, I do believe that part of His plan for parenting is that we, the parents, are drawn closer in our walk with Him. Parenting is one of the tools He chooses to use in His transforming work.
When I was a new bride, your father and I wanted to become pregnant straight away. We sure tried hard enough, but it was not to be. Oh, my heart ached to be a mother, to have a child to hold in my arms and care for. I remember the pain of Mother’s Day, made all the more painful for me when I’d hear some women’s comments at church: women jokingly talking about their family in that slightly-Aussie-put-down way that only we seem to do. I saw mother’s who were not full of joy with their job of parenting, I saw women who lamented over the burden that one extra child brings. Oh my heart would scream in hurt and anger because I dearly wanted a child and was not able to and here they were, with a child or a few and they didn’t seem to rejoice in their blessing. My time of infertility, although short lived, taught me a lot.
People would make comments like, “Oh, you just need to enjoy this time as a new wife” and I knew they meant well and there certainly was validity in their statement but it still hurt. I’m not sure they used the THINK Principle. What I really needed to see was women rejoicing in their blessing – a blessing that I was not blessed with at that time. What I needed was a hug and an ear that would listen. Sometimes we speak far too often.
To say to a woman who is blessed to have one child that the more children one has, the more one develops in humility is not only wrong but quite insensitive. It could be quite hurtful. We do not know the life story of most people we meet. We don’t know if a couple desires many children but they are only able to have one child. The infertile woman or the woman of one child is no less a woman than the woman who hasten children. Femininity is not about the number of children we have but neither is humility.
As I look through the Scriptures I simply cannot see where being a mother means that I will become more humble. I have learned that God uses the everyday circumstances of our lives to do His amazing, transforming work in our lives but He can do this with any circumstance. He’s not limited to using parenthood!
Humility begins with self awareness- awareness of who we are: unworthy sinners.Humility is an attitude… an attitude that we can put on.
My darling girls, let us be careful when we speak. Let us use the THINK principle– it will see us through many situations. May we always consider others and their feelings before we consider ourselves. Maybe our need to speak is not as important as we often feel it is.
Father God, We come to you as unworthy sinners… so utterly unworthy. We humble ourselves before you and ask that You would humble us by whatever means necessary so that we might manifest the love and power of Christ, for Your glory. Help me Father to be sensitive to the emotions of those who I come into contact with. May my speech be seasoned with grace and mercy, pointing always to You and Your glory.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.