What Your To-Do List Can’t Accomplish

The Good News for Every Day

Jonathan Edwards used to pray and ask that God would “stamp eternity on my eyeballs.” This prayer has become my own heart’s request, too.

When your eyes are fixed on the horizon of eternity, it affects your vision for motherhood. We need to have eyes to see a view of God that is so big and so glorious that it transforms our perspective of motherhood. In the context of eternity, where Christ is doing his work of reigning over the cosmos, we need to see our mundane moments for what they really are—worship. In the daily (and nightly) work of mothering, we’re given dozens of invitations to worship God as he reminds us of the hope we have because of his gospel. My prayer is that you would see that the gospel is good news for mothers, not just on our “born again birthday,” but every single day.

The ministry of the Holy Spirit includes bringing our subjective insecurities as mothers in line with the objective reality of our eternal security in Christ. As mothers we need to train ourselves to focus on the things that are unseen and eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). As we struggle to maintain this perspective and even as we fail to struggle, relenting to the temptation toward apathy, we must look to God’s Word and believe it, even when we can’t feel it. We need to be women of God’s Word whose daily petition is: “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name” (Ps. 86:11). As we walk in God’s truth, we also sense the Spirit’s invitations to pray. Although written to pastors, Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s words on prayer are relevant to us:

Always respond to every impulse to pray. . . . Where does it come from? It is the work of the Holy Spirit (Phil. 2:12–13). . . . So never resist, never postpone it, never push it aside because you are busy. . . . Such a call to prayer must never be regarded as a distraction; always respond to it immediately, and thank God if it happens to you frequently.1

A mother’s work is holy unto the Lord.

As mothers we look to Jesus not only as our example; we also see that he is our power to love God and our children. Because Christ has done for us what we could never do for ourselves, with his power we can ask forgiveness of our children when we sin against them, because God in Christ has forgiven us (Matt. 6:12–15; Mark 11:25; Col. 3:13). With his power we can humble ourselves in our work as mothers, because no one ever displayed more humility than our Redeemer as he abandoned his right to stay in heaven and died the death we deserve (Phil. 2:3–8).

We need to have eyes to see a view of God that is so big and so glorious that it transforms our perspective of motherhood.

God’s Work On Our Behalf

With his power we can pursue our family with sacrificial love, because the Son gladly submitted to the Father’s will (John 5:20, 23; 14:30–31). And even when we fail to love as he loves, he is our righteousness. Jesus has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. Jesus is our anchor, and he has anchored us in his love; nothing, nothing, nothing will ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39).

The gospel stands above and beyond all the most practical, family-friendly, or cost-effective philosophies of mothering. The good news of Jesus Christ is superior to our to-do lists and metaphorical mother-of-the-year trophies. This is because the greatest problem a mother has is not a lack of creativity, accomplishment, or skill, but her inability to love God and others as Jesus loves her (John 13:34). Without a mediator to speak for us, our sin will surely separate us from our holy God, both now and forever (Rom. 3:23). If you’ve never been alarmed by that idea and subsequently comforted by the cross of Jesus Christ, then I encourage you—please keep reading.

There is not a to-do list on how to be a good mother. It’s about our good God and what he has done. God’s irresistible grace binds our wandering heart to himself and frees us to love him back and overflow in love to our neighbors. We have been ransomed from sin and death and given eternal life by the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18–19). And because of Christ’s work on the cross, we can live God’s way of love in our homes and in the world even as our hands are full (Gal. 5:16–26; Eph. 4:17–6:18).

This article is adapted from Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms by Gloria Furman.

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