Motherhood as an Act of Worship
By Marie Osborne, iBelieve.com
Let's be honest. When I think of worship, I don't think of diapers. I think of time in church singing songs, lifting hands, “amen-ing” and applauding through a solid worship set. I don't think of laundry.
I don't think of cooking and dishes and running errands and taking out the trash. Sweeping, mopping, scrubbing showers and toilets. Driving and driving and driving and driving, everyone and everything all over everywhere. Child-rearing, setting boundaries, disciplining a determined toddler or teen or someone in between.
That’s not worship. That’s motherhood.
But worship isn’t musical. It’s relational and sacrificial.
It’s not confined to a church building or the melody of a song. Worship is bowing down before Him and humbly admitting my weakness, recognizing His greatness, perfection, and my unending need for Him.
- Praising Him
- Obeying Him
- Trusting Him
All to bring Him honor and glory.
Just like worship, motherhood is also relational and sacrificial.
When I live by this definition of worship, I realize that motherhood might be the best way I can worship my God. Because every task, every part of it is full of this definition of worship.
Motherhood reminds me how very small I am and how very big He is. Motherhood, in all its daily ups and downs, forces me to bow down and humbly admit my weakness, recognizing His greatness, His perfection, and my unending need for Him.
Motherhood challenges me to…
- Praise Him for them.
- Obey Him in my choices.
- Trust Him with my family.
- Repent for my failings.
- And sacrifice. Oh, if there’s anything that worship and motherhood have in common, it is sacrifice.
We need to live this kind of worship in every action, not just in song on Sundays, but lay our motherhood before God. Worshipping Him in every task, every step of the journey, relationally and sacrificially worshipping Him through motherhood.
Abraham is a perfect example of a life of defined by relational and sacrificial worship.
During his travels, as the ever-faithful Abraham continually obeyed and trusted God, he stopped along the way, building altars to worship God (Genesis 12:7, Genesis 12:8, Genesis 13:4, Genesis 13:18, Genesis 22:9).
Abraham worshipped God by…
- Praising Him after receiving blessings (Genesis 12:7)
- Obeying His calling (Genesis 12:4-6)
- Trusting His promise (Genesis 13:17-18)
- Repenting after bad choices (Genesis 13:4)
- Sacrificing that which he held most dear, his son, Isaac. (Genesis 22:9)
When he was following God most closely, faithfully walking the path God had called Him to, he would set up an altar. No matter where he was or where he had just come from, to bow down and worship the God Most High.
There are two significant instances where no mention of worship or altars is present. Twice he chose to lie, call his wife his sister, in order to save himself. These were low points in a life characterized by faith and trust in God. He did not call upon God, did not seek Him in worship. Just relied on his own strength and problem-solving, and he paid the price.
When Abraham remembered to worship, his story was filled with honor and triumph. When he forgot to take time out for worship, he experienced his biggest failures.
We can follow Abraham’s example and worship God all along the journey, no matter our location or circumstance.
Worship is praise, obedience, trust, repentance and sacrifice. Just like Abraham, we can praise, obey, trust, repent and sacrifice. Our mothering tasks can be our “altars”, meeting places for communing with God, “pit stops” challenging us to praise, obey, trust, repent and sacrifice.
The most grand moments of motherhood can remind us to praise Him, for sweet snuggles, fun family days, cherished memories.
The monotony of motherhood can challenge us to obey. Through all the laundry, the dishes, picking up toys, repeating the same instructions and commands over and over again. We worship Him through our obedient, faithful completion of this calling.
The uncertainty of motherhood can challenge us to trust. Through the worry and fear and potential hurts and hazards in every age and stage. All we can do is admit how small we are, how very big He is, how very little control we have in an oh, so fallen world, and worshipfully trust.
The sin struggles of motherhood challenge us to repent. When we aren’t at our best, making selfish choices, snapping and nagging. Speaking or acting out of sinful anger or just plain laziness. When we know we have chosen wrong and need His forgiveness, and the forgiveness of our children, we worship in our weakness. We repent, come clean, and start again.
And the most difficult parts of the job. The tasks or circumstances that require the most of us. That's where we lay down our sacrifices at God’s feet, like Abraham did when he was willing to lay down Isaac. What part of motherhood is most difficult for you? Perhaps it’s discipline. Maybe it’s going without that new outfit or fancy latte. Maybe it’s staying home when you would rather work, or going to work when you would rather be home. Maybe it's something much more private, much more painful. Sacrifice it for Him. Give it up for Him. Lay it down as an act of sacrificial worship to your God.
Motherhood can be an act of worship.
Laundry can be holy. Dishes, diapers, dinner prep can be His. Everything I do, everything that comes from me, words, work, wiping counter tops and baby bottoms, can all be worship.
If my heart is giving it to Him. Doing it as if for Him. To give Him honor and reflect His glory. If I use each task as an “altar” to remind me to praise Him, obey Him, trust Him, love Him, repent and sacrifice out of obedience and trust.
That’s worship. That’s motherhood.
Marie Osborne is a wife, mom, coffee drinker, loud laugher, & Jesus follower. When she isn't laughing with her husband, texting with her girlfriends, singing with her preschooler, or chasing after her toddler twins, she's probably writing at her blog while binge watching Netflix.