by Gloria Furman
Are you familiar with those stuffed animals that you can build at the store? You go in to the “workshop,” pick out your bear or other animal, stuff it with stuffing, and dress it however you like. Such a clever toy!
Building a stuffed bear resembles the building up of our faith. There are things we must fill ourselves with, and things we must put on.
But we don’t always choose the right things to put on or be filled with.
We need to be built up in our faith every single day.
The days (and nights) can be so long.
Take a stay-at-home-mom, for example. In the morning a mom might bitterly vent how she feels so overwhelmed by her toddler’s breakfast tantrum. That afternoon she might speak of the thrill of God-ward gratitude that fills her heart when she rightly considers the gifts she’s been given.
The next morning she might rise before the sun and lead her little ones in song, “This is the day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!” That afternoon she might anxiously watch the door for her husband to come home to hand over their colicky baby when he steps in the door declaring, “I just can’t do this for one more minute.”
Hope and despair co-mingle in our souls. We all have high’s and low’s every day—maybe even every hour. That’s just one reason why we all need to be built up in our faith every single day.
Don’t Tear down-A-Mom
A friend of mine tells a story where she shared with another mom about her discouragement in motherhood. The woman told my friend (who had just emptied a tissue box wiping her tears), “Shame on you. Just be thankful that you at least have children.”
A stranger at the mall watched me herd my preschooler girls through an accessories store (this could be an Olympic sport). She said (in the hearing of my children), “You think this is funny now, but they will suck the life out of you.”
So often when we see other mothers in a dark valley or singing from a mountaintop we use the occasion to generalize and judge. We do this to friends and strangers alike.
But grace has so much more to offer than this.
How to Build up-A-Mom
As Christian women we rejoice in the gospel and we are free from the shackles of shame and cynicism.
We have the hope of salvation in Jesus! We are free to build each other up instead of tear each other down.
Paul writes a specific reminder for us in this regard:
“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11
Since God has destined us for salvation through Jesus then we must make it our grace-driven aim to build up other moms in faith, hope, and love.
If you see a mom who is struggling to appreciate God’s gracious providence in her life, remember faith, love, and hope. Gently encourage her to trust in the God whose plans are never thwarted. Direct her faith to him. Stoke the fires of love for him. Remind her of the hope she has in his salvation.
If you see a mom who needs help in her fight for joy, remember faith, hope and love. Remind her of the supremacy of Jesus who is worthy of all our affections and worship. Direct her faith to him. Stoke the fires of love for him. Remind her of the hope she has in his salvation.
And what about you?
In your building up of other moms, don’t forget to lay hold of this faith, love, and hope for yourself as well.
As you get dressed in the morning let it remind you to put on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of hope of salvation.
No matter how weak or strong you feel this hour— discouraged or content—you need to be built up in your faith as you aim to glorify God in your work as a mother.
Let your faith be grounded in the gospel. Let your love be fueled by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Let your hope be fixed on the salvation that was bought for you with Jesus’ blood.
In all of these things let God fill you with himself (Eph. 3:19).
ABOUT THE WRITER
Gloria is from all over the US (mostly Texas). In 2008 she moved to the Middle East with her husband Dave to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai. They have three fun kiddos under five years old. Gloria is writing a book for Crossway on grace in the mundane and enjoys serving the ladies in her community as a doula.