I’m a mom to three young children. I can’t keep up with what kind of jeans we’re supposed to be wearing these days so I think that probably makes the ones I wear “mom jeans,” I find that I don’t like most of the music I hear on the radio, and the most exciting thing that happened to me this summer was getting new countertops in my kitchen.
Just writing that description of myself makes me feel like a cliché.
Before I had kids, I was determined that I would be a cool mom. I would not become a person who wears clothes with someone else’s dried bodily fluids on them in public (I am), drive a minivan (I do), or cry about things like my children’s spills or tantrums (I have).
Becoming a mom has been a humbling experience for me, one in which I’ve grown to relate to and appreciate the things that I didn’t understand about my own mother and other moms who’ve gone before me. Motherhood has been beautiful but also difficult and stretching. It’s made me question myself. I’ve become consumed with details that used to seem irrelevant: for instance, before our third child was born, I spent weeks trying to determine the most convenient configuration of car seats in said minivan. I’ve learned how depleting it really is to go for months without a single night of adequate sleep. No matter how determined I was not to become that cliché, I have succumbed.
That can be discouraging. Sometimes I look at myself and don’t recognize the woman I’ve become. Who is this person who reads blogs about children’s books for fun and considers a solo trip to Aldi a truly enjoyable way to spend an hour? I don’t even know her.
Motherhood has made me question my identity, and it has brought me to the end of myself. And when I stop to consider that, I have to acknowledge that motherhood is accomplishing exactly what I need it to accomplish.
When I question who I am, I’m driven to Scripture, and it is there that I find my true identity.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:1-2, NIV)
There was nothing wrong with being a woman who kept up with new music releases and knew what kind of jeans were in style, but those kinds of externals didn’t define the real me. The real me is a beloved child of God who is being made more like Jesus.
If motherhood brings me to the end of myself, then I am exactly where I need to be to experience spiritual growth and maturity. It is through this humbling, this accepting that I’m no better than the millions of moms who have gone before me, this acknowledging that I am prone to the same struggles and challenges as any other mother, that God is producing good fruit in me. Sometimes as I wipe something—a nose, a spill, a bottom, some crumbs—I stop to laugh at how I used to think I was really something special. I’m sure I’ll have many more of those moments in the future. And that is God’s grace at work in my life. It is in all this humbling that the Lord is refining me into the person He wants to be. My pride kicks and screams at this work, but that’s exactly why I so desperately need it.
Mama, you are not a cliché. You are a precious daughter of God who is being transformed into the likeness of Jesus. Praise Him for this work He is accomplishing in you, for it is good.