In a couple other posts this week (The Story of the Bible Told Through Motherhood and Satan’s Desire for Mothers) I have argued for the high calling of women to be mothers, since it reflects and magnifies God himself. The immediate and appropriate reaction to that, however, is to respond by asking, ‘What about those who can’t be moms?’
There are many women who would simply love to bear children, but cannot for a variety of reasons. Also, there is the problem of women who are saved or begin maturing spiritually later in life and have many regrets about the way they mothered their children, but cannot go back and change anything now. How is a message like this at all hope-giving for them?
The Gospel Shifts Our Categories
The gospel, which is the foundation of all our contentedness, must also be the foundation of our categories. When we speak of ‘mothering’ and ‘motherhood’ we want to make sure we’re using these words in a gospel-informed way.
Simply put, the family that matters most in the New Covenant is not husband, wife, and 2.1 kids with a minivan and a white picket fence surrounding a house in the suburbs (or even a quiver-full of kids in the boonies). Rather, it is the family of God; the the motley crew that surrounds you every Sunday morning. We can’t miss this:
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. (Mark 10.29-30)
Foundational to the promises of the gospel and the new covenant is a new family. And we cannot miss this. The very call to follow Jesus will mean that many people will have to forsake natural family relationships.
Some will become singles and ‘eunuchs’ for the cause of Jesus’s kingdom. But that is not a call to be family-less, it is a call to join the family of God (the church).
In fact, this is how Jesus himself viewed his world. When people asked Jesus about his family, he said, ‘Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother’ (Mark 3.31-35). For those who hear the gospel-call to follow Jesus and are willing to leave all this world behind them to gain the pearl of great value, Jesus promises a family. Just not in the categories we’re used to.