The Difficulty of Mothering Alone and a Call for Older Women
In my last newsletter I asked for feedback about the topics you would like to see covered here. I got a ton of wonderful replies–thank you!!
A common “voice” I seemed to hear revealed the difficulty and challenges of motherhood. Motherhood is already hard. But motherhood that embraces home education, being with children all day (and possibly having more children than the average) and being deliberate about raising mature men and women of God–that is an “in the trenches” kind of life and really, it’s new to so many of us.
I’ve heard from women who are tired, feel alone and are discouraged, and while I ache to read it, I am ever more challenged to try to make this a place of encouragement, refreshment, and fuel for the journey.
I believe one of the most tragic and unfortunate reasons young mothers are struggling is the absence of support by older women in the family and church. Though Scripture so carefully describes the church as a body, with each member looking out for the needs of others, I believe many young mothers feel like “amputated limbs” left to figure it all out and muscle up the strength to battle by themselves.
This was never God’s intention. Of course the unraveling has been gradual and complicated. As the importance of the work of mothers has been de-emphasized in the culture, the feminist influences have reached the church as well. As career has taken precedence over raising the next generation, even mothers choosing to stay at home with little ones are going back to work afterward, leaving a dearth of Titus 2 mentors to under-gird the next generation of families.
Because the blessing of children has been undermined by a materialist culture, a woman with more than a few children isn’t only left alone, but scoffed for her “irresponsibility”. As most are convinced that the government should be the ones educating our children, she is further scoffed for attempting to do it herself.
No wonder there is such loneliness! Truly God’s heart must break as the church has neglected to care for this hard-working member of the Body.
So I would encourage younger and older women in this way:
If you are an older woman with grown children, your ministry is ripe! There are young mothers who would so love a friend to come alongside them, talk with them, encourage them and help them. Please don’t think your work is over. And don’t buy the lie that “you’ve done your part and now you get to cruise”. There is always work to be done until He returns. We are to be about our Father’s business.
If you are younger, seek out an older woman and befriend her. Look for wisdom. Sometimes, in our autonomous culture, women may simply not want to interfere. Tell her you need her and don’t be afraid. Admit your struggles. We must learn to be more transparent with each other, acknowledging that trials are NOT a sign of being out of God’s will.
And finally, remember that Jesus struggled, the disciples struggled, men and women of faith have always struggled, endured persecution and “worn themselves out” for the Kingdom’s sake. It helps me when I give myself a new perspective, a pep talk, a reminder that “good things are hard things”.
I will be attempting to address and invite you to chime in on some of the subjects women have written me about. I’m thankful there is this medium for encouragement, though it is no replacement for real relationships. Stay the course for we will bring our talents before the Lord. Let us be faithful stewards, even in our weaknesses, of what He has given us. Let us relish the joys of this season for it is quickly passing.
“Let us lay aside every weight and measure which so easily besets us and run with patience the race that is set before us.”
This. is. good. work.
(Need practical help and encouragement as a mom? When Motherhood Feels Too Hard–the book that will change the way you parent.)