by Priya Samuel
It’s that dreadful time of the year again. School exams! Not my school exams, but my kids’. But it feels like their exam time is more like mine because I’m the one planning every detail of their preparation and learning (not to mention all the worrying I do on their behalf). A week before they begin their exams I usually start preparing myself spiritually. I want to resist habitual sin and remind myself of the gospel that alone brings me true joy.
Early on in my motherhood I learned that I am particularly tempted by certain “pet” sins. For example, my sin of covetousness awoke from its slumber when I had my children. I coveted different seasons or circumstances. Oh, those glory days when I could do whatever I wanted. Oh, for the time when there will be no more sleepless nights. Oh, will these kids ever be well-behaved? Oh, why can’t I outsource this painful process of discipline? Oh, why can’t toilet training, bathing, dressing, and homework be milestones that they achieve on their own? You get the picture.
I understand that the desire that my children would achieve certain skills is a good desire. But these desires consumed me, and I felt that I could not be happy unless these hopes were fulfilled. I had assumed that I was done with the idols of my former Hindu life when I became a Christian. But God in his mercy opened my eyes to see that my good desires had turned into idolatrous coveting.
I made an idol of being in a different season of life, and my sin was made evident through my anger, frustration, complaining, and sometimes my sinful, excessive, and unnecessary discipline of my children. Of course, I would always attempt to justify my behavior and feel good about myself by thinking, “If not for these naughty kids I would have been a very patient woman. I have never been short-tempered and volatile like this before.” My husband gently reminded me that it was always there in me; my sin was just showing up then.
I praise God for his Holy Spirit who hated this sin in me and brought to light my dark works. He granted me repentance and is giving me the strength to fight against this sin of unbelief in God’s goodness and sovereignty. Attempting to kill this sin through the power of the gospel has been a constant battle wherein God reminds me of truths that bring me to the foot of the cross.
In his graciousness and goodness God often reminds me that my motherhood, considered by the world as an “ordinary” life event, is actually and intentionally planned by him. Of course, there are many things God is doing in a woman’s life when he makes someone a mother. And as his beloved daughter by faith in his Son, one of those things God is doing in my life is sanctifying me. God saved me from my sins through the substitutionary death of his Son on the Cross, in order that I may be sanctified and conformed to the image of his Son Jesus, so that I might love and worship God above everything else.
So, God did not bless me with children because I have earned or deserve these gifts, or because I am more qualified or capable than other women. Rather, in his sovereignty and goodness, one of the reasons he blessed me with children is that he is delighted to sanctify me through motherhood, bringing glory to himself alone. In God’s grand design for me to become holy as he is holy, he gave me my children with their unique weaknesses and gifts. The Lord is supplying me with opportunities for my own sin to be revealed, for the indwelling Spirit to convict me of my sin that I may repent of it, and that I may pursue that sin’s mortification through Christ. I don’t want to waste these seasons in motherhood.
In my struggle to mortify my sin of covetousness I am also constantly reminded, from God’s precious word, of the hope that awaits me. In the heavenly city I will have inexpressible joy— not primarily because I will feel perfectly rested all the time or have perfectly holy children— but because I will be loving Jesus perfectly with no misplaced affections or misplaced priorities.
When I am reminded anew of Jesus, my Blessed Hope, I exhort my soul: Why then do you foolishly seek to get this promised future joy from the things of this world? Or from the people of this world? Or from better circumstances of your earthly life? Love God and obey him. ‘Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ’ (1 Pet. 1:13b).”
ABOUT THE WRITER
Priya is from Hyderabad and is trained in physiotherapy. Her husband Anand is a pastor at United Christian Church of Dubai. They have three boys with soul-searching brown eyes (Rohan, Aryan and Daven). Priya’s morning always starts with a cup of tea with evaporated milk and 5 tsp of sugar. She loves to search the Old Testament Scriptures to see how they point to Jesus.