September 28, 2021

Three Encouragements for Mums

Three Encouragements for Mums

Rene Yap

7 Minute Read

As I waddle through mum-life, God has been graciously teaching me about himself and his people, and showing me through his word that I cannot—and should not—journey through motherhood on my own. Drawing from these lessons that I am still learning even today, here are three encouragements I would like to share with fellow mothers and mums-to-be. May they edify your heart.

1. Dear mum, keep practicing spiritual habits to draw near to God

Spiritual habits like reading God’s word, praying, and singing contribute to our spiritual health by keeping our hearts turned to the Lord, much as how good physical habits keep us physically fit. However, these habits that help us remain close to God are also the ones most easily neglected when a baby is born.

Giving birth two years ago was a life-altering experience for me. I felt like I had totally forgotten how to be a Christian. I wasn’t praying or reading the Bible, and those days were marked by volatile emotions. It was only later on that I realised I hadn’t been depending much on the Lord. A year after giving birth, a friend and I were discussing how we could spur fellow mothers towards God and she suggested, “How about producing a confinement devotional?”

With that, I began writing a 30-day devotional for postpartum mums to accompany and nourish them in the early days of motherhood.i Meditating on passages from Ephesians to write those devotions turned out to be a blessing in disguise because my mind was saturated with God’s word and set on the Spirit throughout the day. Meditating on short verses (like Psalm 23:1) or reading bite-sized devotions is something tired mums can do to feed their souls as they recover from delivery.

As for the post-newborn days, I’ve come to realise that with a little human in the house, interruptions are and will be the norm for the next couple of years. Whether you’re eating, bathing, sleeping, or just trying to spend time reading God’s word, that time is bound to be interrupted. But that’s okay—don’t lose heart! You may only have a few minutes before the baby starts crying again but hold on to what you have read and chew on it—even if it’s just one verse. We can sing to the Lord while washing the dishes or listen to an audio Bible while feeding the baby. Some nights, when the toddler falls asleep, I would sneak downstairs to read a devotion and pray together with my husband (although sometimes we’re only 5 minutes in before the tears and screams begin).

Nevertheless, though our time spent with God is not interruption-free, it is certainly not in vain. We can trust that whenever we turn to the Lord, we are being transformed into the image of Christ, from one degree of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18). So, mamas, keep going and don’t give up! Get your husband or a friend to practice spiritual habits together. It’s much easier for our forgetful mum-brains to remember our need for the Lord when people regularly point us to him.

2. Dear mum, remain in fellowship with your siblings in Christ

On the day we placed our trust in Jesus, we were born again into God’s family where Jesus is the firstborn Son and the rest of us are God’s many sons and daughters (John 1:12-13). God never intended for us to live as lone islands, in life or in motherhood. Among us siblings in Christ, we have a bond that is stronger than blood, and this is true even if your exhausted heart doesn’t feel it today.

It can be very tempting to drop out of church for the long term because caring for a baby is incredibly tiring. But take courage dear mum, because things do get better and your energy levels will adjust over time. In the meantime, keep meeting regularly (albeit online for now) with your fellow brothers and sisters (Hebrews 10:25). Invest in one or two sisters in Christ and learn from mature wives and mothers (Titus 2:4). Surround yourself with partners in the gospel who will encourage and pray with you, who speak the truth in love and who extend help in practical ways. With Satan, the world, and sin constantly trying to draw us away from God, we must pursue God, not on our own, but along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).

I am thankful for gospel partners who share their meditations from God’s word with me and who have rebuked me when I tried to reason my way out of sin. I am thankful for the older women who brought hot meals and prayed with me during the postpartum recovery period. They have helped me to remain faithful to God. And one of the things I am most thankful for during the pre-pandemic days is that my Bible study group leaders went the extra mile to care for my needs as a new mum. When we lugged our newborn to their home on Friday nights, they prepared a room for nursing and diaper changes with wet wipes provided. I was welcomed with practical acts of love and this enabled me to continue learning from God’s word together with them without feeling like a burden.

Spend some time today giving thanks for the brothers and sisters God has placed in your life, even those with whom you may have differences with. As in any family, there will be conflict. But the solution is never to cut ties with those whom God has brought into his family. Rather, we need to learn to deal with conflict in God’s way, which brings us to the third encouragement.

3. Dear mum, set your mind on the Lord

Where there are mothers, there are bound to be unsolicited opinions, offended feelings and mummy-wars on just about anything from confinement practices to sleep training. To face these clashes, Ephesians and Philippians are two of my favourite letters to wield.

Ephesians tells us about who we are and what we have in Christ Jesus (important truths for every mama to know so that our identity is secure in Christ and unaffected by comments from people), while Philippians tells us how to live with each other in God’s family (absolutely necessary for dealing with mummy-wars). Philippians 4:2-7 is exceptionally relevant for mums in conflict because it was written specifically to address two women who had a big problem with each other.

I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women…Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

~ Philippians 4:2-7

God’s solution to conflict in his family is for his sons and daughters to agree (be of the same mind) in the Lord. This does not mean that everyone needs to agree on the same parenting methods. Rather, mums are to

have the right attitude toward each other by focusing on their life in union with the Lord. When their common bond in the Lord becomes central, their attitude toward each other will be the same as Christ Jesus expressed on the way to the cross”ii

What then are some things that can help disgruntled mums to agree in the Lord? Rejoicing in the Lord and praying about everything—together! Yes, don’t just rejoice and pray on your own but do it together with the one who has stepped on your toes! Spend time recalling all that God has done for both of you, confess both your sins, and praise him together. Anger and resentment will quickly disappear when we focus on enjoying the Lord we love and presenting our requests to God with thanksgiving.

But what if the one who has offended you does not know the Lord? You who belong to the Lord can still rejoice and pray. Pour out your hurts to God and pray for the one who hurt you. Set your mind on the things of Christ, even if the other person doesn’t. As Paul reminded the Philippians, the Lord is coming back soon. So instead of preoccupying ourselves by replaying wrongs and thinking of ways to compete against fellow mums, let us fill our minds with the things that are of Christ, put them into practice, and the God of peace will be with us (Philippians 4:8-9).

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.iii

i. The devotional is available here: https://www.family.org.my/wtbc

ii. G. Walter Hansen, The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Letter to the Philippians, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, 2009, page 283.

iii. Helen. Howarth Lemmel, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (1922), Public Domain. Full lyrics available at: https://hymnary.org/text/o_soul_are_you_weary_and_troubled

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Rene Yap is a Bible Engagement Ministry Staff at Scripture Union Peninsular Malaysia where she teaches and produces resources to help youths and children know God through reading his word. She is also the author of When The Baby Comes (a postpartum devotional) and co-founder of Christian Mom Resources Malaysia.

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