In our third Mother’s Day interview, 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. We hope you are encouraged by her story!
Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Rebecca (or Rebs). I’m married to Richard and together, we have three kids: Lucas (8), Eleanor (7) and Nora (5). We’ve been part of Sovereign Grace Church Parramatta for almost four years now and count ourselves extremely blessed to be able to call it home. I was a stay-at-home mum for about nine years before picking up some admin work for my church this year, which has also been a tremendous blessing. I don’t really have any profound hobbies: I’m always down for a good power nap, a chat over coffee or a knitting project that I should’ve completed two winters ago.
What does being a Christian Mum mean to you? What makes Christian motherhood distinct?
To me, being a Christian Mum means constantly being made aware of my own brokenness and utter inability to produce anything good in my kids apart from the grace of God. I have always been (and continue to often be) a very proud person and this has shown up in my desire to be in control and to be competent – two illusions that motherhood has completely obliterated.
I can’t speak for other mums, but often for me, any progress I’d see in my kids would quickly be accompanied by a handful more regressions or other sins being brought to light – 1 step forward, 3 steps backward; you know the drill – and I’d be happy to take the credit for the progress, but this would, by default, mean that I’d also have to take the blame for all their sin, which would be soul crushing.
What makes Christian motherhood distinct, though, is that I don’t have to lose hope at this point, because I’m not the hero of the story (and thank God for that)! Instead, I can look outside of my sick and sinful heart to a Father who is sovereign and a Saviour who is strong enough to defeat death – both of which I am not. This is good news for me. Through this, I’ve learned that it’s not just my kids who need grace and Godly parenting, but I need it too, right alongside them.
At one stage, you had three young children under the age of 4. What gospel convictions inspired you to not give up on meeting with and serving the local church, despite having your hands full with parenting?
To be completely honest, I don’t know if I can say that my desire to continue attending and serving at church at that time was really driven by Gospel convictions. It was a season where God was doing a lot of pruning and weeding in my heart – bringing a lot of sins to the forefront and revealing the depths of my brokenness.
My pursuit of community was often driven by legalism which produced the (bad) fruit of self-righteousness. I am ashamed to recall how often I judged others with a haughty heart thinking I was “better” because we had gotten to service on time or had attended the small group meeting with all three kids in tow. I cringe even now, just thinking about it.
However, I do look back at that season (still broken, still in need of grace), and praise God for not only His saving grace but for His sustaining grace in keeping me and my family in the fold (even if our motives were sinful at the time) and keeping us connected to the Vine, despite our pitiful efforts to abide.
How have you seen God at work in your family, as a result of your perseverance to continue meeting with your church family on a regular basis?
As I mentioned earlier, I thank God for sustaining us in continuing to meet with our church family in those earlier years. Not only has He sustained us, but He has been so kind to allow us to bear and enjoy much good fruit from continuing to meet with His people – what scandalous grace it is that He allows us to turn a profit even on seasons driven by impure motives. We don’t deserve it!
I say this to Richard often now, but I honestly have to pinch myself thinking about how we get to live out the “one another’s” of Scripture with our church family. They are a means of God’s grace and kindness to me. Without them, I would be swallowed up by my pride and pursuit of control and competency in motherhood. Continuing to partake in the spiritual discipline of meeting with them helps lift my head and fix my gaze on the One who is truly in control and truly competent to guide me through this season of motherhood and every other season that He ordains.
Often though, the realities of motherhood will force us to adjust our expectations of what partaking in these “one another’s” might look like. There may be more missed Sundays than we’d hoped because of sick children; we might need to step down from that ministry opportunity we so loved; it might mean missing the sermon a few weeks in a row because of an unsettled, teething baby who forces us to do laps outside the hall. What’s humbling (and so beautiful) about all of this, however, is that this means we will need the body of Christ more than ever before; which means we get to ENJOY the body of Christ more than ever before.
As a family, we’ve been on the receiving end of meals being delivered when our family was going through a hard time, offers of babysitting given so that we could attend a ministry care group, and having my kids cared for by others so that I could receive prayer after service on a Sunday – all beautiful expressions of the body of Christ at work! One thing that’s required for these expressions of community to take place, however, is for me to be a part of the community.
What’s scandalous is that this is the part that WE, in this season of motherhood, get to play in building up the body of Christ. I know it may not be the part that you had hoped for, but never underestimate what God can do in and through you to encourage others by showing up on a Sunday (even if it’s in a frazzled state) or humbly asking for help, or candidly confessing sin or weakness. God’s word says: “the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.” (1Cor. 12:22). It’s never easy to acknowledge that I am a weaker part of the body, but the reality is that I miss out on far more by pretending that I am not. Not only that; the church also misses out.
I must confess; I still have so much room for growth in this and progress is slow. However, I thank God for showing me despite all the fumbles along the way, that in saving me, He adopted me. And in adopting me, He has brought me into a family; a family that I will get to enjoy beyond this season of motherhood, for all eternity, in the presence of the King.
Enjoyed this read? Read the rest of our series!
Jane Kang On Relearning Confidence and Contentment in God this Mother’s Day
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.
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.
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.