Is Motherhood a Woman’s Highest Calling?

A Falsehood in Churches

It might feel a little bit strange to have a chapter on marriage and motherhood in a book that is confronting the empty promises of our age. It might seem strange to include this with these other false promises of our age, but when we elevate any good gift to an ultimate gift, then it does become an idol.

I am seeing that sometimes in our church communities we have taken the good gifts of marriage and motherhood and elevated them to a status that says, I have to have that to have meaning or significance in my life. I have to achieve this certain marital status, or I have to achieve motherhood to finally have meaning or to have finally reached my highest calling. We say and we hear that motherhood is a woman's highest calling, and while that sounds nice and it might be very encouraging to moms, it's not actually true.

Cultural Counterfeits

Jen Oshman

Jen Oshman casts a vision for women to reject the idols of our age and find real hope in Jesus, embracing their identity in Christ and recovering his design and purpose for their lives. 

Our highest calling is to know God and to make him known. It's to love God and to love others. And that calling transcends all life stages, all of life's ages. So when we say out loud that a woman's highest calling is motherhood, what we're actually communicating to our sisters who are either single or childless is that they haven't really arrived, that they're not really mature enough yet, they're not really sanctified enough yet.

Our highest calling is to know God and to make him known. It's to love God and to love others. And that calling transcends all life stages, all of life's ages.

That way of thinking, which I think is largely subconscious, is really damaging. And it's doing a lot of harm inside our churches. Even Jesus himself points to those who chose, on purpose, singleness and childlessness for the kingdom of heaven. And Paul also said, It is good to remain single as I am, that you might serve the kingdom.

In Scripture, we see singleness and childlessness as honored—one good way to serve God and to serve others. And so I think as we've sort of rightly pushed back against the sexual revolution in the church, we have also inadvertently elevated marriage and motherhood to a status that is not true, that we don't see in Scripture.

My encouragement to myself and to the church is to really think about what we're saying and to acknowledge that we can serve God in all kinds of ages and stages. We really must put the church family back where it belongs and maybe not spend so much time focusing on the nuclear family—our own families inside our walls—and instead prioritize, cherish, serve, and pursue the whole family of God.

Jen Oshman is the author of Cultural Counterfeits: Confronting 5 Empty Promises of Our Age and How We Were Made for So Much More.

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