Ahead of Mother’s Day (Sunday 14 May), we will be posting interviews with Christian women who will share what this day means for them. Whether Mother’s Day brings about feelings of joy, grief or a mix of both, we hope that this series can be a celebration of all the mothers and mother figures in our lives.
In our very first interview, Jane shares the joys and challenges of being a new mother and how her gospel convictions shapes both her current parenting decisions, and future hopes for her daughter. She also opens up about her struggle with conceiving, and how she relearned to ‘be still’ and find contentment and confidence in God – regardless of whether she bore a child or not. We hope you are encouraged by her story!
Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Jane. I am married to Matt, and we have a 7-month-old daughter named Karis. I am a special needs teacher and a minister’s wife at Cheil English Ministry in Sydney’s inner west. I am an introvert who loves being around people and going for nature walks – be it a coastal walk, a bush walk, or even just around the neighbourhood. I have a huge passion for music ministry, and a big interest in how churches can better serve and engage with people with disabilities.
What are the joys and challenges of being a first-time Mum?
From conception, to pregnancy, to birth, I have a newfound awe and wonder for the creation of life and the undeniable hand of God behind every little thing. Seeing Karis hit developmental milestones one by one, from lifting her head off the floor, smiling, sitting up, to crawling, and discovering the beauty in this world with her own eyes has been so wonderful. I have come to realise that these seemingly “little” things are rather extraordinary, and they are gifts to be received with thankfulness. Spending time with Karis, re-exploring the world through her lens and getting to know her budding personality has been my daily joy.
Being a first-time mum has humbled me in so many ways. It has been challenging to remain focused in the Scriptures during my daily devotions, as I would often be distracted by a baby-related question to google or by what I need to do around the house before the baby wakes up from her nap. It has also been challenging to confront my sinful desires of wanting to be in control to avoid any parenting failures and wanting to be praised for my successes.
I would often catch myself speaking ungraciously to my husband for doing things in a certain way that is not “my way” when he was only trying to help. I would see a glimpse of my heart that would gloat over the wins in parenting as if those were a direct result of my hard work and feel all self-righteous as a mum. Yet through these challenges, God has graciously brought to my attention the hidden sins of my heart that needs to be dealt with in repentance and faith.
You experienced a long season of waiting before you conceived your first child. How did the gospel comfort you during this time, and is there anything you learned along the way?
It took us a few years to conceive our child. Though most months passed by with a hope-filled heart, I recall a distinct time when the season of waiting became difficult for me. I remember constantly googling all things ovulation, fertility and conception in the hopes that it will give me answers.
It was during COVID lockdown when I had the space to be more introspective. I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions – of hope, despair, anxiety, comfort, sadness, gladness – as I would feel disheartened by the negative pregnancy tests yet be comforted by the truth that the Lord is the author of life who gives and takes away. I went for long, pensive walks and took my misery, hopes and desires to the Lord in prayer. And there I was able to see deep down into my proud and idolatrous heart stemmed from my unbelief in God.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, I was able to take captive my thoughts to bring them under submission to what I know is true of Jesus. It became clear to me that the Lord had already given me the greatest gift in Jesus! I had forgotten the glorious truth that I, a sinner, have been reconciled to the Holy God through the finished work of Christ on the cross.
I learned to trust in this God who saved me and set my hope fully on His goodness, power and glory. I learned to abide and find contentment in Christ alone as the greatest fulfilment of every longing and completion of everything that is lacking.
I learned to ‘be still and know that He is Lord’, depend on His life-giving words and rely on the Holy Spirit’s power to renew and transform my hardened heart. I re-learned that God gave me salvation in Christ and that is all I have ever needed and all I ever will. I was able to come out of that slump convinced yet again that my deepest need is met in Jesus, and this will remain true whether I was to bear a child or not.
What does being a Christian Mum mean to you? What makes Christian motherhood distinct?
Christian motherhood is distinct because under all the layers of being a mum, I have a rock-solid confidence that comes from knowing Jesus as my Lord and my Saviour (Rom. 8:28). If I was a house built on the mountaintops and a gushing wind swept over me; my roof and my walls may well be shaken. Yet I would not be uprooted because Jesus is my firm foundation.
In a similar vein, as a Christian mum, I know that ultimately my daughter is not mine. She is His. The Lord formed her inmost being and He knit her together in my womb (Ps. 139:13). I can trust in His sovereign hand over her life. And like how my daughter is His, I am His too. I can cast all my anxieties on Him because He cares for me (1 Pet. 5:7). So even when I face the consequences of my inadequacies and imperfections, I can find my rest and fulfilment in Christ’s perfection and unfailing love. This not only lifts the burden off my shoulders, but it reminds me that the main character of my life’s story, including my motherhood journey, is Jesus. “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:1-4).
As a Christian mum, I am called to raise Karis, by God’s grace, to become a faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus. And if she is to marry and bear children, then I want to help her as much as I humanly can, to also become a Christian mum, and for her to give birth and raise future Christian mums and dads.
Being a Christian mum means that I am committed to showing her Christ by modelling His truth, His love, and His forgiveness, and discipling her to follow Jesus. Being a Christian mum means that I am prayerfully shaping my child so that they can become faithful disciples of Jesus – who go on to produce faithful Christian disciples in their kids.
How does knowing God the Father shaped your parenthood so far?
As someone full of flaws and shortcomings, I know for certain that I will make countless mistakes and pass regrettable moments as a parent from here on. But knowing God as my Father gives me confidence because He will guide me with His Word and His Spirit every step of the way, and I can rest in His perfect strength when I am weak. As a child of God, I can run to our heavenly Father and know that He will never leave me or forsake me in the valleys of parenthood and marriage.
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). God has brought forth a miracle of human life within me and more than that, He has delivered me from eternal death to life through Christ Jesus. Knowing God the Father shapes me to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through Him (Col. 3:17). I ought to loosen my grip on the gifts He has entrusted me with, including my child, and steward them well to bear fruit for His ultimate renown and glory.
Enjoyed this read? Read the rest of our series!
Sylvia Siu on Finding Hope and Healing as a Motherless-Mother
Sylvia shares the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of Christian motherhood, and how she’s learned to ‘grow up’ as a Christian mother. She also shares the grief of losing her own mother as a teenager – firstly through disagreements and ultimately in her sudden death. Sylvia then shares how God has helped her to face her grief in motherhood and offers words of comfort to women struggling with a strained mother-daughter relationship this Mother’s Day.
Rebecca Song on the Illusion of Control and Competency in Christian Motherhood
Rebecca shares how motherhood revealed the pride in her heart and ‘completely obliterated’ her illusion of control and competency. She shares the challenges of bringing 3 children under 4 to church – and that her ‘success’ in doing so revealed her impure motives, legalism and self-righteousness. It was only when she confessed her sin and limitations as a mother, did she learn to treasure the body of Christ, and see gospel community in all its richness and beauty.
Esther Sylvester on the Eternal Value of Being ‘Just a Mum’ This Mother’s Day
Esther Sylvester shares how the gospel gives eternal value to the unseen and invisible sacrifices of motherhood. She also opens up about the ‘exposing’ work of motherhood in bringing out the best and worst in her character, and how God has brought healing to her childhood insecurities, triggers, and Mum guilt. Finally, she shares what discipleship looks like in her imperfect home, and why being a ‘perfect Mum’ is not ultimately the end goal of Christian parenting and discipleship.