This post has been long in coming. In an effort to get it out, I’ve decided to make it a series.
Almost every girl dreams about being a wife and mom. I’m turning 23 in a week, am I allowed to be dreaming more seriously about these things? Well, here’s the thing. Yes and no…? Sometimes dreams become “more” to us than they should be. Don’t get me wrong; I think there is incredible value in dreaming. It’s a wonderful gift. But not when we allow our own personal value to be based on the actualization of those dreams. The mile-markers of life (births, deaths, graduations, marriages, families, children) contribute to our forming—they shape who we are, and who we are becoming—but are not the ultimate measure of our worth.
There’s a lot to be said about living our “humanness” before God. This is an area of thought that has really impressed itself on me this semester. So much of the time we deconstruct the human race before God and before each other—fitting ourselves into categories of communities: “the singles,” “the married,” “the men,” “the women,” “the sick,” “the healthy,” “the abused,” etc. The thing is, these aren’t false categories (there are single people, married people, men, women, the sick, the healthy, the abused). They are, however, “second” categories. First and foremost, we are human; we are image-bearers (and, i might add, we are part of a larger community of image-bearers. think about the beauty of that!). Recognizing ourselves in these terms allows us to live with a certain sense of solidarity. Scripture is rich in its recognition of humankind as the created of God—infused with his image; granted the possibility of his indwelling spirit.
What does this have to do with “mothering?” Well, I doubt it comes as a surprise that I want (badly) to be a wife and mom. At times the desire even seems unbearable. For most of us in our twenty-somethings, these desires are real and growing. But I just want to remind us that the actualization of some of these dreams isn’t the “end goal” or ultimate measure of our worth. And for those of you who are wives, moms, husbands, and fathers, there is a deeper measure of your value than how you fit in these categories. Although these positions are important and God-given, they are added to the already present reality of your significance as image-bearers of Almighty God.
I hope we learn to live before God as image-bearers—learning, too, to see each other as image-bearers. This will inform our love for one another and booster our desire to serve and honor one another. I know that I have had to learn some of these things in difficult ways this semester. God has had to humble me a lot, cleanse me of some pretty ugly pride, and strip me of a few unhealthy dreams. The remarkable thing is that He is faithful to replace what he takes away from and out of us. When we have grown used to gripping our idols and our lesser loves, their absence leaves us deeply wanting. But He fills those voids with unexpected pieces of Himself—new understandings, greater depths of love; bolstered faith; brighter revelation; quiet contentment; and, sometimes most beautifully, refreshed dreams.