First off, let’s just say I’m a big fan of this movie.
I think it should be mandatory viewing for all new moms.
Some of the scenes, particularly at the beginning, capture the unromanticized reality of motherhood.
And for me it was helpful to laugh instead of cry.
Yes, the plot takes some awkward, unrealistic twists — but I think the ending message is helpful.
Instead of comparing ourselves to others, or even the “perfect mom” in our heads, we should understand that motherhood is very hard and that God did not make a mistake when He gave us our children!
But there are a couple lines in the movie I wrestled with, and one I want to write about.
In the ending scenes, Ally writes a blog post which says, “God has given me everything I need to be a mom.”
This sort of parallels what the Bible teaches when it says,
“God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and for godliness.”
So do I agree? Yes, I do.
But I want to talk about why.
As I listened to that line, I had to ask myself, “Is this true for me?”
Not on the surface.
I face issues every single day that I’m not exactly sure how to handle.
Sometimes I have confidence. Many times I don’t.
And often daily situations add up over time until I’m staring at an even bigger mountain that I don’t know how to move.
Given this dilemma, if I were to hear someone say, “God has given you everything you need to be a mom,” I could take it wrong in two ways.
First, I might simply think that it is a fantasy, because I feel I don’t have what I need.
Second, I might feel condemned because even though I believe I have everything I need, there must be something wrong with me because I am still facing problems I don’t know how to handle.
And so on the one hand, I doubt the words. On the other hand, the words put me in a prison.
Both are bad options.
As I was thinking about all of this, I remembered another Scripture. It’s one that most people don’t really care to quote. It says,
“But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”
Many of us shift uncomfortably in our seat because it sounds anti-women (then what saves the men?) or because it doesn’t fit our belief system (I thought I already am saved!).
But here’s the deal. I think most moms would agree that raising kids brings us to the end of ourselves. All the time. Like even four times in a single hour.
And our desperation can lead us to Christ.
Some verses that have become more real to me since having children include,
“Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.”
“In our weakness He is strong.”
“God’s ways are not our ways…. As far as the heavens are above the earth, so are His ways greater than our ways.”
The Lord wants to use the difficulty of raising children to bring us to Him.
If I’m honest, I have to admit there are times when I don’t really want God. I’m content to do what I want when I want, and get irritated if God interrupts those plans.
But this can change when I’m desperate. If I let Him, God can use hardship to get my attention and remind me of my need for Him.
So even though God has given me what I need to live in a godly way, it often takes hardship to make me willing to listen/obey.
Do I have to be the perfect mom? No.
Do I need to rely on God and let the difficulties with my children lead me to Him? Yes.
If I don’t, then no, I won’t have everything I need to be a mom.
From my own life, I can say this is true.
I remember vividly one situation where I felt pretty helpless. I had just given birth to my youngest son. We had been in the States for about three months, and my husband had left for home in Central Asia before us. We were waiting for our visas before we could return.
My oldest two boys were out of (my) control. They listened better to my husband at that point but he was gone. My youngest was about a month and I wasn’t sleeping much. I was trying to get us packed up and stretch our remaining dollars until we got back home. One of my potty trained sons started regressing, and so I spent a good part of each day just changing three kids’ diapers. I was a wreck, and I had no idea how to handle three young boys.
I cried out to God for help. I didn’t have the answers and I knew it.
God sent someone to help me. She helped changed diapers, got us out of the house and came back to Kazakhstan with me and the kids. A grandmother herself, she gave me parenting lessons. She watched how I let the kids talk back to me, and, with my permission, helped me undo some very bad parenting habits.
It was hard on my pride, but I knew it was God’s answer. And I knew that listening would help me survive!
So had God give me everything I needed to be a mother?
Well, yes. But I had to be in a position to be ready to learn, and it took God bringing some difficulties into my life before I was in that position.
I could go, but I think I’ll stop there. …