It’s that confidence every mother longs for, to feel like you’re doing a good job and gaining some type of ‘success’ as a mother. All the sacrifices we make are often rooted in our hope that they are achieving something for us.
This desire, while it sounds like good intentions, is a dangerous drive for us mothers. We begin to rely on our own strength and our own smarts in this perilous journey toward a goal that is skewed from the reality of God’s purposes for us.
Because we realize, we can’t do it. We can’t rely on ourselves.
We fail. We sin. We are weak.
And we don’t like it.
We find a profound encouragement from Liz Wann in her new book, “The End of Me: Finding Resurrection Life in the Daily Sacrifices of Motherhood.”
Liz is walking the path of motherhood; she has struggled with the sacrifices of motherhood, and the battle of self-sufficiency, but she shares with us how arriving at the end of ourselves leads us to life.
In 7 chapters, Liz unpacks the difficulties we face in motherhood, the challenge of our persistent tendency to rely on ourselves, the reality of our own sin, and the path to life through Christ in our sanctification. She points us to gospel-centered truths.
Perhaps you’ve dreamt of being a mom your whole life, or maybe you only had 9 months to consider it. Yet, “all types of women come to the table of motherhood with an ideal in mind, and when we, or our experiences or feelings, fall short, we feel guilty. But God allows these unplanned feelings and experiences to come into your life to remind you of his grace.”
We may have expected the sleep deprivation, taken a leave from work to adjust, and prepared by reading all the books. Once motherhood arrives, and evolves, we see the impact the changes have had on us. Lack of sleep causes us to become short tempered, potty-training doesn’t go as planned and frustration rises, or the endless loads of laundry mount a weight on us when we’d rather be doing something else.
“At times, motherhood is so hard that it can make us feel inadequate and insecure, because we’re finally seeing how helpless and needy we actually are.”
It’s a challenge to our pride to face this, but in acknowledging our feelings for what they are, we are pointed to the source of our true help and refuge in our times of need.
The sacrifices we make as mothers is the venue that “God is actively helping us, teaching us, and training us. These are his means of freeing us from our own sinful shackles and providing us with more joy in this life.”
She writes that, “sanctification is the process of learning increasing dependence, not autonomy.” This is where we begin to see how much we value our individualistic natures. We want to do things on our own. The challenges we face are to “make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Cor 1:9), and though it is a difficult, humbling process, we rest in the hope of who he is, and what he is doing in us through the daily tasks, responsibilities and joys of motherhood.
Motherhood presses us to the point of our insufficiencies and weakness, so that we would find life and strength in the only one who declares himself the Resurrection and the Life (John 10:10).
Liz writes, “your hidden sacrifices as a mother who seeks, in Christ, to live to the glory of God, are not unimportant or insignificant because underneath the nose-wiping, tears, and tantrums is a great glory resulting in eternal benefits.”
Do you believe that?
The tedious job of wiping bottoms, and cleaning up vomit are done as unto the Lord, and he is glorified in it. Whether or not we feel successful as a mother, we can trust and know that our purpose in raising these children, is making us more like him and carrying his presence into our homes and the lives of our family.
As much as we long for some version of success as mothers, we just won’t find it in relying on ourselves. Even though it’s our most natural tendency. This book is an important reminder for those of us who love and follow Jesus, and are learning the journey of motherhood in light of who he is.
“More often than not, I can’t say to myself, “Mama, you’ve got this!” And that’s ok – because I know someone who has got this.”
If you’re looking for a book on motherhood that will gracefully point you to your own weakness, and to your true strength through Christ, this one is for you. I give it 5 stars!
*A big thanks to the Good Book Company for the complimentary copy of this book and the opportunity to post an honest review.