At Work & Theology 101

Hope for Hard-Working Moms

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In the fall of second grade, I proudly submitted a carefully crafted biography of my mom, composed on classic, dotted-line paper.

This was a special writing project, to be displayed in our hallway for parent-teacher night. I waxed eloquent, reporting with the utmost, 7-year-old precision: “My mother does not work. She is a housewife.” Little did I know how clueless my statement was or how ridiculously male chauvinistic. Mom had to have felt like it was hopeless—all that time, her amazing nurturing, and her energetic hard work, to be brushed aside in two sentences. It must have felt like such a waste!

Motherhood reveals ever-deepening layers of hopelessness and frustration. After all, moms’ work is never done. School projects. Taxiing kids. Financial pressure. It all builds up and pushes down on a mother’s soul. Mom is expected to be the Chief Operating Officer of the family corporation.

Along with endless tasks, moms are deeply concerned about their kids’ feelings and also each unique developmental stage. God wired moms with emotional and developmental radar, in great contrast to dads. Most guys are only slightly aware that there might be some small humans, under four feet tall, living in the house. Mix in all of a mom’s concern over her kids’ choices, friends, and future plans. Any cocktail of these ingredients yields high anxiety. A mom’s work can feel hopeless! 

What’s a mom to do? Where can moms find fresh doses of new hope, in the midst of all they juggle at work? Several hope-filled insights emerge from a couple of women, undeniably two of the greatest moms in all of history.

The Most Famous Mom in Scripture

Luke’s gospel records that when Mary encountered the angel, she said “yes” to God’s plans, even though they were immensely challenging (Luke 2:38). It’s not every day a young woman is told she will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Think about it: She was to become mom to the Son of God! And she said, “I am your servant; May it be.”

A full “yes” to God is the essence of deep trust—genuine dependence—and the very core of faith for all of us. Will moms step boldly into what God wants?

Will you listen and be receptive to God’s Word, his instructions? Will you process life’s difficult assignments, hard tests, and rascally scenarios through God’s truth, his power, and his presence? 

A Mom Whose Love Persevered

Years ago, there was a mom named Susanna. She had a gaggle of 10 kids with her husband, Sam. Sadly, their house caught fire and almost burned to the ground—not once, but twice. Her husband was devoted, both to God and to Susanna. However, Sam also had a very judgmental side, often expressing strong critique toward her and the children. He was also precarious with money, which made life extremely difficult for the family. 

Susanna constantly sought to cultivate Jesus’ values and heart, in all daily actions with her children. One of their girls, Hetty, a very bright but equally strong-willed young woman, kicked up her heels. She plunged into a brief fling with a young lawyer and got pregnant outside marriage. This caused great disgrace to the very proper and religious family. Dad disowned her, but Susanna persevered with motherly love for her daughter. 

This is actually a very old account, so you might benefit by hearing one of Susanna’s prayers, as related by Richard J. Foster in Streams of Living Water. Each phrase reveals just how integrated she was about her daily work and how much she desired to incorporate Jesus’ heart into her own heart as well as her children’s lives: 

Help me, Lord, to remember that religion is not to be confined to the church, or closet, nor exercised only in prayer and meditation, but that everywhere I am in Thy presence. So may my every word and action have a moral content . . .  May all the happenings of my life prove useful and beneficial to me. May all things instruct me and afford me an opportunity of exercising some virtue and daily learning and growing toward Thy likeness . . . Amen.

Susanna’s son, Jack, became one of the foremost leaders, thinkers, and provocative communicators of his era. John, as he was largely known outside the family, left a massive footprint on the culture of his day. And Susanna’s son, Charles, is responsible for crafting amazing songs, many of which are still sung in churches today. Yes, the family name is Wesley. Their profound legacy in Christian thought and practice resulted from Susanna’s passionate aim to form Christ’s heart in all of her children.

The Heart of the Matter

Both Mary and Susanna’s examples point out this vital truth: A mom’s best hope is found in connecting her own heart—and her kids’ hearts—with Christ’s heart. 

There was a fantastic outcome for Mary’s work. Luke 2:51-52 notes the holistic development. Jesus grew in wisdom, in physical height, and in favor with both God and other humans. 

When moms access Jesus’ heart and choose to say “yes,” then kids grow stronger. They experience whole-person development—mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially. Don’t miss it, moms. Your kids can grow up to make significant impacts, to touch lives, and become big workers in God’s kingdom business. 

You might say, “My kid will never be a Wesley boy. And he certainly won’t be Jesus.” Okay, fair. But you can raise kids who grow up to work hard, help build the future, fight disease, solve hunger crises, create noble culture, plant churches, and in a myriad of other ways, share Christ with a world in desperate need of Jesus’ grace. 

Moms, we thank you. Whether you realize it or not, your work is full of hope!

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