The hardest part of motherhood, for me, has not been the physical exhaustion or demands on my time. Rather, the ache of my mother’s heart usually comes when I don’t see the results that I expect for how hard I have labored, how fiercely I have loved, how diligently I have planned, how passionately I have prayed, and how patiently I have trained these children of mine.
Honestly, I’m not looking for accolades or affirmation from others, but what mother would not love to hear, “Thank you for all the socks you picked up today,” to see big smiles when a home-made veggie-filled meal is put on the table with love, or to catch the kids constantly acting humble, generous, kind, and mature?
I often wrestle with God in prayer over unmet expectations. I don’t want to hold my kids to any standards other than his own standard for each of them, but, since I don’t see from God’s perspective, I can get exasperated when they are not walking the exact path I had in mind. 1 Corinthians 3:10 reminds me, however, that my job is simply to lay a foundation. As St. Paul says, “According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it.”
God is not asking me to construct something to show off. He is calling me daily to lay a strong foundation for each of my precious children to build upon. Foundations are laid laboriously. They take time and forethought, and then they lie hidden beneath the great work of the builders. Nobody notices the foundation when they see a beautiful home, but when the foundation needs repair the evidence is everywhere. Similarly, I believe mothers of teenagers would agree that one look at our wonderful, acne-fighting, freedom-seeking kids does not reveal the hours of Bible stories read with them on our knees, the chore charts crafted for them, the prayers with which we have covered them, and the lessons we have lovingly taught. Yet the relationship we share, the discipline given, the faith we are passing down, and the example we try to set—all of these foundations are critical to the framework of their entire lives.