In the last of our Mother’s Day series, biblical counsellor and ministry wife, Jo Kim, shares how God’s word has transformed her perspective and goals for motherhood, and how the experience of nursing newborns has ‘sleep trained’ their family in love, perseverance and generosity for church service.
1. What does being a Christian mother mean for you?
Being a Christian mother means I am enjoying Christ’s presence and discipleship, and striving to emulate this for my children--whether in the dark valleys of sleep deprivation, mountain top celebrations of my children's personal bests, or in all the regular routines of everyday life.
2. What do you believe to be the ultimate purpose of motherhood?
To love my children and to pray that they will know and glorify God. Also, to enjoy God in motherhood.
3. How has the Gospel shaped the way you parent your children?
Through a Gospel worldview, I now have different methods and goals, with an eternal perspective in mind. I’ll be quick to confess, there is an internal battle to implement my Gospel worldview through motherhood, as my sin will at times agree with the world’s offers of many ‘good’ options as the ultimate answer for children. My anxiety reveals my heart has accepted temporary preferences as my source of identity, peace, and security.
So, in motherhood I thankfully appreciate my regular times of sweet ‘R&R’—Repentance and Rest (in Christ). I remind myself that motherhood is not defined by a sum of programs but by pointing my children to the Perfect Person. Nor is Christian parenting a weekly fixed formula, but about nurturing faith by walking together in Christ through our ordained days (2 Cor.5:7).
The Gospel also shows that sanctification doesn’t just happen between me and Christ. I am continually sanctified with enriching fellowship in His body, the Church. It’s important for my children to see that consistent corporate worship is good fruit and essential in the growth of a Christian.
My husband and I are very blessed to be part of a church community who faithfully expound the Bible and are living examples of their faith in Christ. We sincerely appreciate their teaching to uphold Christ in our children’s lives; with their loving hearts playing building blocks, exploring the outdoors, or playing Uno for the 11th time in a row.
4. What has God been teaching you in motherhood?
I’m a mother of four children, from preschool to primary ages. In general, God has taught me to embrace and enjoy who they are now, in all their individual uniqueness. However, God has also taught me what ‘leadership’ in motherhood looks like—to be a step ahead of my children and to individually support their goals with increments that are realistic and achievable.
These goals are not just age-related developmental goals, but goals focused on character and soul care. With careful instruction, I want to stop and camp on big, existential questions that may be motivated by deep-rooted fears (mostly asked at school pick up or bedtimes). God has also taught me to inspire my children to strive for excellence in opportunities the Lord has allowed, and to prepare them to engage the task with joy and thankfulness to the One who has given us these great experiences.
In motherhood, I have also been faced with unexpected and challenging circumstances as two of my children require intensive learning support. My husband and I anticipate such care will be lifelong and constantly fluctuating with the ebb and flow of their developmental goals but so far, they are doing well!
God has taught me through challenging trials that the promises of the Bible are precise and tangible. Specifically, I have learned that Christ’s loving purpose and presence brings a sense of peace that the world cannot give (John 14:27). I’ve also learned to appreciate the persevering faithfulness of Puritans. I love their 1883 hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour”, which has been my anthem for years!
Finally, God has humbled me to teach scripture with a creative approach, so that my children can clearly comprehend we are sinners in need of a Saviour. Motherhood has led me to pay closer attention to how Christ engaged with sinners through different senses and scenarios—with bread, sheep, birds, flowers, fruit, sand, baking, pottery, and emotions.
Utilising such resources with scriptural lessons make learning the Gospel and who God is quite an impactful and engaging lesson, particularly if there are days when my children are needing alternative approaches to listening, reading and written comprehension of the Bible.
5. You are also a pastor's wife! How have you seen God use your children to further you and your husband's ministry?
In ministry, I’m often reminded of this great example from the inspired words of a single, male travelling missionary, the Apostle Paul. He writes in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8:
‘But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.’
It is incredible that Paul notes the gentle, tender-hearted, sacrificial, committed, interaction between mother and her infant child, and has associated this interaction as his prime example of sharing his life and the Gospel message to the beloved Thessalonian church. The experience of nursing newborns has ‘sleep trained’ my husband and I to express similar tender affections for the church and to serve generously at any moment—especially at 2am.
Paul also writes in Galatians 4:19-20:
‘My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!’
There have been many times where my kids have come home with new ideas, and I am ‘perplexed’ with how they came to such a conclusion as they have been taught otherwise. I find myself carefully explaining the foundation of the gospel and promises from God’s Word again and pray that it will be used to lead them into maturity in Christ.
Finally, my children are each so different and I love to connect with them in their own uniqueness. They have helped me to be adaptable to connect with a wide variety of characters and personalities of Christians in the church. Motherhood is ministry and ministry is like motherhood. It’s a biblical blend of experiences.
6. What word of encouragement would you give to other ministry wives who are juggling the demands of family and ministry?
With endless responsibilities, how do we meet with Christ and his great love for our weary and burdened heart? Jesus knows the demands we have on our shoulders and says in Matthew 11:28-30:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
The gospel accounts have recorded for us, the numerous times Jesus Himself retreats from the crowds, to meet with our Father in prayer (Luke 11:1, 5:16). In all four gospel accounts, we read the most excruciating ‘private’ prayer before the cross--an insight into why he was willing to go through devastating suffering: “not my will but yours be done.”
If you can rejig your schedule to alleviate some pressures and to encourage a quiet place with Christ, please do share with your husband, church leadership or trusted Christians who will support you and your family’s godliness. There’s no clear-cut prescription as family life is ever evolving, and all congregations have their own church culture, dynamics, and nuances with differing levels of spiritual maturity. However, it is crucial to have moments to rest in Christ and renew our minds with His living and active Word.
Finally, this passage will speak encouragement for those in a demanding season but points to purpose in Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 says:
‘But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies’.
Enjoyed this read? Read the rest of the series!
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