Motherhood: What is my Reason?
I recently listened to a speech given byTruman G. Madsen entitled, “The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength.” That phrase is from Nehemiah, our current Come, Follow Me readings. I took so many gems from this great talk and have been pondering it every since. One excerpt was extremely profound to me:
Each of us has some control over finding joy. To paraphrase Elder Marion D. Hanks: “No matter how we live, there will be pain in this world. But misery is optional.” Think about it. Christ is against selfishness and sin—not because He is the giant spoilsport, but the other way around. He is against sin and selfishness because He is against despondency and melancholy and morbidity. He is against the shrinking of our capacity for fulfillment. On this He is the world’s leading expert. He knows. As the book of Hebrews has it, “For the joy that was set before him [He] endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). Whose joy did He envision? Ours. He saw beyond our sins and stupidities and our clumsy mistakes. He knows what we have within us to become. And having paid the awful price in blood, He is entitled to alert us to reality. This changes the kinds of questions we ask of life. Instead of “What’s in it for me?” we ask, “What’s in it for those I love or should love?”
This quote totally made me think of motherhood!! It made me wonder, “Why did I want to become a mother?”
Did I become a mother to fulfill my own purpose? Partially.
Did I become a mother because it was the next step in life? Maybe to some degree.
Was I thinking of the beautiful creative powers I’d been given and God’s edict to multiply and replenish the earth? I was so young when my mothering journey began, I’m not sure I really did think about this.
Did I become a mother for THEM? For my children? Or did I become a mother for my own selfish reasons.
Oftentimes, as mothers, I think we do think it’s all about us. When my kids make choices that don’t align with my own testimony or principles, I sometimes think it’s because I did something wrong. When my children need a course correction, I think it’s my job to “fix” them or make them do something to fix the path they’re taking. Motherhood can become very personal, very fast (especially as our children enter the young adult sphere). But’s it’s not about ME!
THEY are the reason!
It’s easy to think I’m correcting my children or helping my children “out of love,” but I really need to check my heart and be sure that LOVE is truly the motive.
Another excerpt from Madsen:
All of the children were brought forward and were completely comfortable in His presence. He then said, “Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full” (3 Nephi 17:20). This is the only place in scripture that I know of where He spoke of His own fulness of joy. When He had said these words, He wept. And with exquisite tenderness He scooped the little children up one by one and blessed them as the parents and grown-up children beheld. (Truman G. Madsen… look this up…his joy was full after He blessed the children…??)
What was it about blessing the children that made Christ’s joy full?
He loved them. Truly, deeply, wholeheartedly.
I want this kind of love for my children. And I think the best way to get there is to get out of the way myself! I can stop making it about me — my failings and imperfections, or even my greatness — and “[see] beyond [their] sins and stupidities and [their] clumsy mistakes.” Because they are my reason for becoming a mother and through them, because of them, I can have a fullness of joy.
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Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen. — Moroni 7:48