I have been a mother for less than two years but it has changed me in so many ways. I did not find much joy my first months of motherhood. Oh yes, I delighted in my daughters chubby cheeks and toothless grins, I loved her more than I could have imagined. But my pregnancy was uncomfortable, labor and delivery traumatic, and recovery painfully slow. I saw all the capacity that had been taken from me. I no longer had the ability to nurture friendships the way I wanted to or even stand up to do the dishes. I was broken down.
It took a really long time for me to start healing from it all. But what I finally started realizing is that in motherhood I have a greater capacity to know Jesus. Through trials, exhaustion, weakness and getting to the end of myself over and over again, I have the opportunity to know Jesus more intensely than ever before.
Is there joy in motherhood?
I ask myself that question pretty often and I always come to the same realization. Joy isn’t in motherhood.
Joy isn’t IN motherhood.
Joy is in Jesus.
Joy comes from being in God’s presence and surrendering everything as an act of service to the Lord. Yes, motherhood is beautiful and full of giggles, adorable moments and an increased capacity to love. But it’s also gut wrenching, dirty, and like living your entire life at the end of your rope.
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever
If you’re looking to find a beautiful, instagram worthy, serenely beautiful happiness in motherhood, you will be disappointed. When the Bible talks about joy it doesn’t talk about seeking out happy places or peaceful situations. It doesn’t suggest that in order to be happy you have to find time to get weekly spa appointments. The Bible tells us that Joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit that comes from obeying God’s commandments and trusting in Him.
Joy is when heaven rejoices for the salvation of a single sinner, it’s is when we go through trials and know Jesus better because of them. Joy comes from knowing who God is and who you are as a created, image-bearing child of God. Joy means looking at the piles of dishes and surrendering yourself to the Lord. It comes from changing your child’s second blowout in a row not as an act of primal care but one of full service to God our King.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
The Lord is my strength and shield.
I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
You are a daughter of the King first and foremost, everything else is secondary
Joy isn’t about perfect contentment, light and airy feelings of peace, or uncontainable smiles. It’s so much deeper than that. It comes from self-discipline, faith and commitment to serving the one who Saved us.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Why would we need refuge if we didn’t go through trials? It’s important to face the ‘ugly’ of life head on. We can’t ignore the anger, loneliness or despair that may creep in. Don’t push it away, don’t be ashamed. God wants to meet you where you are. Yell at God when you need to, He still loves you. Come to him without any shred of hope, he hopes for you. Tell Him when you don’t believe Him, he will prove Himself to you.
When you chase after joy you end up with disappointment. When you chase after Jesus you end up overflowing with joy. Not that perfect fake happiness that you see in the end of Hallmark movies; but raw, unrelenting joy that comes from an honest and brutally intimate relationship with Jesus.
Choosing joy means training your thoughts to thank God in every circumstance, surrendering the ugly little moments to Him, confessing your sins, and accepting His grace on our inadequacies. Choosing joy is a deliberate act of faith. It doesn’t mean pasting a smile on your face, it means looking to the LORD when everything is in chaos and recognizing that He is smiling down on you in absolute delight. You are His. He is yours.
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).