Embracing Grace in Motherhood | Jessica Poe
Perhaps there is no greater work in this world than the work of a mother. It brings life, it changes life, and affects every single person on this earth. Motherhood is exhilarating. It is exhausting. And it is as tiring and lonely as it is soul stretching and exalting.As Mother's Day is fast approaching, we wanted to take a week to devote to topics focused on this special topic. As we prayed to know what material to focus on, we were drawn to GRACE. We know from firsthand experience that it's an essential key to motherhood, and that God is waiting to help us, lift us, strengthen us as we turn our mothering over to him. We have invited a few special authors and artists to share their experiences with grace and motherhood with us, and are so excited to share the first post with you today.
Today's post is by Jessica Poe, who is so passionate about keeping God at the center of mothering that she (literally!) wrote a book on it. Thanks to Jessica for devoting her heart to such a worthy cause and sharing it here with us.
Motherhood is sacred...a divine calling and gift from God. I know it is. I see the sacredness in my mother and other mothers around me. I feel Christ’s love pour out from my mama friends when I watch their hands tenderly tie shoes on little feet. I sense the revered significance of Grandma as she smiles attentively to big ideas spewing from small, jabbering voices. Yet somehow, I continue to lose sight of the significance and sacredness of my mothering role when I’m actually doing it—you know, being Mom.
Somewhere within loads of laundry, sinks full of dirty dishes and carpooling traffic jams, I get caught up in the immediate, daily demands and lose the spiritual, eternal perspective. Not only do I lose sight of my sacred role, I lose sight of my Savior. The bustle and hustle blurs Him to the background, when I desperately need Him central and in the forefront. I often find myself gripping that never-ending and always-haunting ‘To Do’ list, feeling torn between doing and becoming, and praying for a clearer vision.
After much study and prayer, clarity came to my dilemma: Those very tasks on our ‘To Do’ lists, those very ordinary moments in our mothering, are designed to point to Him. Yes, our tasks and chores are personalized and intentional—not to haunt but to point heavenward. The errands and efforts that fill our days contain spiritual lessons and heaven-sent love notes that help us discover Christ. And with Him central to our day-to-day, the sacredness and significance of our mothering also becomes apparent.
So, how do we see the extraordinary spiritual side of our ordinary days? How do we discover Him in our mommy moments? I have spent a lot of time with those questions…and I’m delighted to share three key principles:
1 | Start by seeing the spirituality in you.
The scriptures say,
For the Lord seeth not as a man seeth.
— 1 Samuel 16:7
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither my ways your ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
— Isaiah 55:8-9
When was the last time you took time to consider what God sees in you? What does He think about you, individually? His thoughts are much higher than ours. He sees our past, present and potential. He knows us better than we know ourselves … so imagine the spiritual insights that can come from seeing “you” as He does. The world would have us add layers of lotions and potions, fake-ups and makeups to reach our physical potential…but we want to see our spiritual potential, so let’s do the opposite. Strip away the worries and warts we place upon ourselves. Remove excess layers and labels in order to reveal the true you. Remember that God sees the best in us, even when our best hasn’t surfaced yet. And because we are “children of God” (1 John 3:10), He has personalized plans, hopes and love for each one of us; just as we have plans, hopes and love for our children.
2 | Next, look for the divine details in daily life.
So much of our life as mothers repeats day after day. We fold the same laundry, swoop up the same messes, drive the same roads and say the same things…yet it’s not for a lost cause. We know we came to Earth to gain experience and prove ourselves worthy to live with God again…and that points to a deeper purpose to our daily do-overs. These are chances for learning, growth and progress. As repetition abounds, we can find divinity in the details of our do-overs. I’ve found that praying to see my mommy moments as He would, makes all the difference in discovering Him in the details.
For example, the other morning my littles were full of questions: “Will you get me my vitamin?” “When do we get to go to Grandma’s house?” “Can I have a napkin?” “Is there more smoothie?” “Did you make muffins too?” and then the killer question came…“After this, what can I eat next?” Flustered and a bit frustrated, I threw my hands up and asked, “Can’t you just be thankful and enjoy what you have before you ask for more?” And the second I said it, I knew. I knew the question was for me. I felt Him smiling and nodding His head, encouraging me to ask myself that very question. I did…I reviewed my most recent prayers, I reviewed my “wish lists” and my blessings and I realized the lesson my soul needed was gratitude. Little moments like this—His moments—make me a better mother. Plus, feeling Him near, thanking Him for the lessons and giving Him glory brings us closer to Him. It feels good to our souls, and I believe it makes Him feel good too.
3 | Shhhhh…
Let’s pay attention to patterns and symbols. Christ taught with symbols and patterns during His mortal ministry—and He uses those same methods during our mothering ministry. In order to identify and interpret those patterns and symbols, we need the Holy Spirit.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things…
— John 14:26
We know the Holy Spirit talks in “a still, small voice” (1 Kings 19:2), and yet we live in a very loud world. Satan is strategic in that surround sound lifestyle. In order to hear the Spirit and see the heaven-sent patterns and symbols, we must have time to ponder and pray and feel. We need silence and stillness. This takes conscious effort. I started with turning off the radio whenever I was in the car alone, and it made a tremendous difference—but each person can think of their own ways to tune out the world and tune into Him. After we “have ears to hear” (Mark 7:16), we can have eyes to see, and hearts to understand the patterns and symbols. We begin to notice and comprehend His teachings more fully. In my search to see the spirituality in my everyday moments, I began keeping notebooks and journals of the patterns and symbols brought to my attention by the Spirit. Those notebooks began to fill up quite fast! (In fact, that’s how I wrote Everyday MOMents: Discovering Christ in the Details of Motherhood.)
Here’s one quick example: I had been on a breaking binge. I broke a plate, a tech gadget and nearly my elbow, along with some other things…I even went to place my daughter’s ladybug antennae headband on her cute head before a ballet recital and—snap—broke it in two (I’m thankful for clear packaging tape!). It all seemed to happen at once and I started to feel as if an outside source was actually trying to break me. And then I learned about the strength of an egg. Yes, an egg is actually stronger than its fragile reputation. If you hold an egg in the palm of your hand and squeeze as hard as you possibly can, it will not break. Heavenly Father designed the egg so that even pressure offers an egg protection and an opportunity to showcase its strength…only when pressure punctures a specific spot will the shell crack.
With these new facts and my pondering about my recent breaking binge, the Spirit revealed Truth: Heavenly Father isn’t trying to break me. He holds me in the palm of His hand, applying even and intentional pressure to protect me from breaking. And in those everything-is-happening-at-once moments, I can begin to see the strengthening power He places within me.
Looking for and finding Him in my mothering moments has brought clarity, calmness and unmeasurable joy! I stand in those moments flooded with ideas, energy and determination to deepen my mothering experiences and perspective…and I know this is possible for anyone who tries. Heavenly Father loves and trusts us. He wants to bless us for any efforts we put forth to come closer to Him. He is amazing—and our mothering experiences can be amazing and full of Him too! He will help us each small step of the way, because He is in each small moment of our day. Yes, He is in the divine details of our mothering.
Jessica Poe is the author of the newly released book, “Everyday MOMents: Discovering Christ in the details of motherhood.” The book is available on amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and at Deseret Book. A mother by day and writer by nap-time, Jessica finds joy in collecting divine details and homeschooling her three little ones. For more information about her and her book, and to read her most recent blog posts, please visit www.jessica-poe.com.