Being a mother can be a thankless job. Much of what you do goes unnoticed unless it doesn’t get done. Your kids will rarely, if ever, thank you. Quite the opposite, actually. From a toddler throwing a tantrum to a teenager slamming a door in your face, your kids may well give you the distinct impression that you’re ruining their lives. A mother’s daily tasks are repetitive and mundane. Oh, we try to glamorize motherhood. We’ve invented clever terms like “domestic engineer” and “household manager” to describe the mother’s role in the home. But at the end of the day, the truth is that every domestic engineer is just a mom.
Just a mom.
Have you ever felt that way before? I sure have. It can be difficult not to compare myself with others who are doing something; accomplishing great things in their lives. Think of Queen Esther from the Old Testament, who saved her entire people from annihilation. Or the New Testament apostles who travelled the world of their day to spread the Good News. When Peter preached at Pentecost, 3000 souls were converted. Three thousand! In one day! That’s a powerful sermon. Consider the many saints and martyrs who followed the apostolic era; men and women who stood strong against false teaching and persecution even unto death. Church fathers like Athanasius, Basil the Great, Cyril, Ignatius, Augustine, and others had tremendous influence on the correct teachings of Christianity. Think about missionaries who left their homelands to serve in foreign lands so people could hear about Jesus. Missionary Ludwig Nommensen, who preached to the Batak people of Indonesia, was called the “apostle to the Bataks.” When he died, 40,000 Indonesians came to his funeral. The Christian church had 180,000 members by the time of his death, with 34 Batak pastors and 788 teacher-preachers. That’s a pretty incredible story. And there are still people today who are accomplishing great things. I have a friend who takes mission trips around the world to distribute Bibles and other Christian literature. Another friend runs an orphanage in Africa. These people are making a difference in countless lives. But me? I’m just a mom.
It’s easy to compare oneself with others and get discouraged. Perhaps you have a college classmate who is running his own business or a friend who has achieved success on Broadway. Meanwhile, you’re doing the same thing day in and day out, changing diapers, running carpool, making dinner, trying in vain to keep the house clean with children underfoot. It all seems so… uninspiring.
But hold on a minute. Before you get too discouraged, take a look at some other mothers who lived about 2000 years ago. Namely, let’s consider Lois and Eunice. They’re mentioned but once in the Bible, as Timothy’s mother and grandmother, and to be honest, I can never remember which is which. “I am reminded of your sincere faith,” Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:5, “a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” That’s it. That’s all we have to go on for Lois and Eunice.
Well, not quite. Fast forward a few chapters to the well-known admonition of 3:14-15. “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you have learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” From childhood. Who would be teaching Timothy the Christian faith from a young age? Lois and Eunice, of course. And Timothy went on to become a faithful companion of the apostle Paul. He became a pastor and rendered great service among the Gentile churches. Tradition holds that he met a martyr’s death. Here is a man who made a difference. But had it not been for Lois and Eunice passing along their faith, he may never have come to know the Lord at all, much less become a pastor and martyr.
Moms, I know it doesn’t seem particularly glamorous, raising kids. But raising kids in the fear and knowledge of their Savior is a beautiful work. Not everyone is called to save a nation as Queen Esther did or preach a sermon to over 3000 people like Peter. We aren’t all called to be missionaries or martyrs or to work in orphanages or distribute Bibles around the world. God may be calling you to be like Lois and Eunice, little remembered by the world, but making an eternal difference in the lives of your children. In other words, sometimes, you’re called to be “just” a mom.
And that’s just fine.