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I love being a mom, but mothering is hard.

It shows all my flaws. My inadequacies. My falling short places. It requires all of me – every ounce of energy, and love, and sacrifice, and mental and emotional fortitude, and makes one thing very clear to me – I don’t have what it takes. Far too often, it pushes me beyond my capacity. But if there’s anything I want to do well in this life, it’s raising up my children. And my children are beyond worth it! They deserve my best, and yet at times they see my worst, eyewitnesses to every mistake I make and every time I completely blow it.

Mothering is a refinery. I’m gutted and purged and pruned and emptied. The cleansing and the purifying reveal some of the ugliest yuck stored up in my heart. I wish I could say I always yield to the process in humble submission. But, most of the time, I’m fighting the whole way.

Who am I to lead these people He gave me? I’m ever aware of my failings and inadequacies. Yet, He assigns the most holy work to my frail hands. He chose the weak things to shame the strong.

How do you do it, Lord? What motivates You to get up, relentless in Your pursuit of me?

How do I do it?

Do you ever find yourself asking a similar question? How do You do it, Lord? And perhaps the more pressing question is: how do I do it? How do I get up when I feel beat down?

I believe we can answer this cry of our hearts as we consider this moment recorded for us in scripture – the evening of Jesus’s arrest, the day before His crucifixion:

1Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2Now when it was time for supper, the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him. Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God. So He got up from supper, laid aside His outer clothing, took a towel, and tied it around Himself. Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.

John 13:1-5 (emphasis mine)

Jesus knew.

He knew the suffering and pain that was coming. The betrayal. He knew the sacrifice that He was about to make, the weight of taking on the sin of the world, taking on hell.

And yet, He also knew Who He was, where He came from, and where He was going. He knew both His authority and His identity. He was on mission to redeem a broken and hurting world. Jesus was driven by His joy, and secured our joy in salvation.

So He got up.

He got up and poured out His love, His grace upon grace. He got up and served His friends. And His enemy. He got up to take on my sin. To take on hell.

Jesus proved by His death on the cross that He was willing to pay the ultimate price to meet our deepest need: our need for a savior; our need for redemption from our sins. Has there ever been a deeper, more extravagant pursuit of love! “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life,” (John 3:16). 

The Mindset of Christ

In Philippians 2, Paul writes that we are to have the mindset of Christ. Jesus “made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross,” (Philippians 2:7-8). When the cross loomed before Him, Jesus knelt down in love.

Do I have this mindset? Do I respond like that when I feel betrayed or unappreciated or even just irritated? Does joy drive me despite incredibly hard circumstances or impossibly hard people even if those people are sometimes my children? Do I consider it all joy when I encounter trials of all kinds, remembering that the testing and stretching of my faith is working out the beautiful fruit of endurance within me (see James 1:2-3)?

What is my motivation for getting up? What comes out of my heart when it seems the weight of the world sits on my shoulders? When mothering presses me more than I can stand? Do I remember Whose I am, my authority and identity? Do I love even when love does not come easily?

Washed by the Water of the Word

The Word made flesh knelt down and washed feet. The disciples were literally washed by the water of the Word. This precious act signified relationship: “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me,” (John13:8). I can understand why Peter, who pridefully resisted at first, then proclaims, “Not just my feet, but my hands and my head as well!” (v.9). As disciples of Jesus (and as mothers) we must make our relationship with Jesus a priority, time in His word, a necessity. God, protect us from ever thinking we don’t need Your help.

That’s what this beautiful moment shared between Jesus and His disciples brought to light: we need Jesus! Always! Every moment! And Jesus will go to great lengths to lovingly, graciously give us exactly what we need, if only we are willing.

Again and again, He gently reminds me how much I am in need of His grace and mercy. In the mothering, in the living, in the breathing, His grace is extravagant, His mercy, new and generous day after day. Knowing who I belong to empowers me to get up, “to lay aside every weight, and the sins which clings so closely, to run with endurance the race that is set before [me], looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of [my] faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God,” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

What if I don’t have what it takes?

And on the days when I just don’t have it in me? What then? What do I do when it seems God is calling me to things I’m just not capable of and I’m out of compassion for the day? My flesh says to turn and run the other way. To lock myself in the bathroom. To get lost in a social media scroll. To hide.

But, God! God says, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in your weakness,” (2 Corinthians 12:9). It is then that we remind each other “of the confidence we have through Christ before God. It is not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,” (2 Corinthians 3:4-5).

God will call us to what we are incapable of, but our sufficiency and adequacy is from Him! He gets the glory! And we get the joy as we surrender more and more of our hearts to Him and receive more and more of His lavish grace!

Stacey Thacker says it beautifully in her book, Unraveled: “How is it good for me to pour out my life day in and day out? I don’t know. But here is what I do know. This place – and sometimes it feels like a desert – is where God is teaching me to depend on him. I am learning to be faithful where I am. I’m learning to call out to him. I’m learning to dig deep into grace and allow him to be all I need.”

Yes, Lord! You are all I need! Your love is relentless, and I want to be like You!

What made it worth it?

What made it worth it to Jesus to get up? Somehow, it was you and me! He got up to pour out and give; to rescue and redeem; to love to the very end. He got up by the power and to the glory of His Name! It was worth it because of the joy set before Him. He knew His place and position. Jesus was obedient to the point of death, endured the cross, and despised the shame. He got up, because He knew He would sit down again on His throne. He got up because there was work to be done, and He sat down because He finished the work!

The final and ultimate sacrifice for our rescue and redemption was completed on the cross, and now, through Christ, we have the same joy set before us: death is defeated, hope has come, and we are empowered to run the race He has set before us!

Mothering is hard, and I want to get it right. I want to love and pour out and point out to my children that there’s no better life than the one we have in Jesus. I, too, can be relentless in the pursuit of my children’s hearts, because I know my identity and authority in Christ.

There’s nothing God has used more than mothering to draw my heart closer to His, to shape me more into His image. What a gift! “Children are indeed a heritage from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb His reward,” (Psalm 127:3). Press on, mommas. Keep watch over your heart by locking your eyes on Jesus!


Thank You, Jesus! You are the hope! You are the joy! How I love to know Your heart! Your love for us motivated You towards the cross, and Your joy kept You running the race. Your identity empowered You to get up and lay down Your life for us, and then pick it back up again!

Thank You for completing Your work on the cross and for continuing Your work in my heart, for calling me to live beyond my capacity and leaning into You. There’s no better way! Knowing I belong to You empowers me to get up! You left me an example, not a mere suggestion. Help me to run, eyes on You, all the days, in all the ways. If I can point just one more person to the hope we have in You…if I can, despite my missteps, keep pointing my children back to You…Yes! Thank You for all the grace and being all that I need! You are where the joy is, and You are the reason I get up!


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