I knew motherhood would change my life and myself, and that I would learn new things about myself – but I didn’t realize how it would change what I know about God, and it’s beautiful.
Parenthood is one of the greatest gifts Heavenly Father gives to His children, and of course, motherhood is special and sacred in its own ways. James E. Faust once said “Being a father or a mother is not only a great challenge, it is a divine calling. It is an effort requiring consecration. President David O. McKay stated that being parents is ‘the greatest trust that has been given to human beings.’”
I’ve always believed in God, though my beliefs and how I see God have shifted and varied over the years as I’ve gone through different life experiences, and becoming a mother was no different. Becoming a mother has completely changed my perspective on who Heavenly Father is, especially as a parent Himself. Here are a few things motherhood taught me about my Heavenly Father.
His Plans for Me Will Always Be Better Than My Own
As I reached early adulthood and eventually got married, I drew up very specific plans for my life. I wanted to finish college, work until I was 30, and then start having children. I became very committed to this plan and stayed on that path until one day, I had the very clear and unmistakable prompting that we were to have a baby and that we shouldn’t delay any longer. My husband wasn’t initially on board. We were both in college and even with the help of student loans, we were barely getting by. We had no idea how we were going to support a brand-new little baby. But we trusted in the Lord and just a few months later, as the world shut down and the pandemic started, we found out we were expecting our first son.
That pregnancy was very difficult, physically and emotionally. I wondered many times if we had made a mistake. I lived in fear as no one yet knew the effects of COVID-19 on pregnant women. To be honest, I had felt abandoned and wondered where God had gone after I’d become pregnant.
As soon as I gave birth and saw my baby boy’s face for the first time, I completely forgot the misery that was the nine months before. It had all been worth it. The next twelve months weren’t easy by any means, with night after night of interrupted sleep, feeding issues, a few medical scares, and other difficulties; but the joy our son brought us was joy we didn’t know was possible. To think, we would not know that joy had we stuck to our own plans and not trusted Heavenly Father’s guidance.
Shortly after our son’s first birthday, we found out we were expecting a surprise baby! It was another change in our life plans that God threw in. My husband had just accepted a job back where we grew up, and the timeline wasn’t working in our favor – we would be moving to California from Utah just two months before this baby would be born. As you can imagine, this pregnancy was more difficult than the first, with everything we had going on. After we made it to California, everything that possibly could have gone wrong did. Everything would have been so much easier to handle if I wasn’t pregnant. Why did God give us this baby at this time? We were not ready at all. But of course, the moment I laid eyes on my precious second baby boy, the troubles of the last nine months again disappeared from my mind.
I’ve just turned 29 and here I am with the two sweetest boys I’ve ever known. I cannot put into words the love I feel for them. They are my whole world. Now, I’m a stay-at-home mom and that is something I never thought I would be. The life I am living is so different than I ever imagined for myself – but letting God write my life story and beautifully piece together my family has resulted in a life that I love, and I am so grateful for His faithfulness.
Fulfilling My Role as a Mother is Serving God
It is no secret that being a mother is long and hard work. There are tons of different statistics out there stating that being a mother equals “x” number of hours, and that number doesn’t change whether you work outside of the home or stay at home with your children. There is always cooking, cleaning, bill paying, shopping, and dozens of other things to do. With so much going on, it can sometimes be hard to be consistent in keeping the Lord in your daily routine. It can be easy to fall into the mindset of “Am I doing enough?” or “Am I living the gospel the best I can?”
One day when I was scrolling Instagram, I saw a reel posted by a fellow Christian mama. It was cycling through footage of vacuuming, cooking, dressing her baby, and making her bed, with the words, “This too is worship” across the screen. This Instagram reel of all things was eye-opening for me.
While my husband worked, I was juggling cooking, cleaning, organizing, entertaining two small children, changing their diapers, and the list goes on. It was hard to keep up. I often forgot to fit prayer and scripture study into the routine. I would beat myself up for being the receiver of service from my family and fellow ward members when I felt like I could barely serve my own family.
I was reminded that by fulfilling, to my best effort, the role that Heavenly Father had placed me in, I was serving not only my family, but I was also serving Him. In Mosiah 2:14 it states, “…when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”
I’ve noticed recently that specifically my two-year-old is observing and learning from my efforts. While I vacuum, he picks up his toy broom and cleans the floor alongside me. When his baby brother is crying, without prompt he will go find his baby brother’s pacifier and put it in his mouth. Every night at bedtime, he folds his arms and yells “Amen!,” cueing to us that he is ready for his bedtime prayers. I only recently realized that doing what I felt were simply the mundane tasks of the day was actually teaching my toddler the basic principles of the gospel.
Motherhood looks different for everyone. Some stay at home and some work full-time outside of the home. Some are single mothers and some are parenting alongside their husbands. Some mothers have one baby and some have ten children. No matter the situation you are in, just trying your best in where Heavenly Father has placed you at this time is a great service to those around you and to Him. In Colossians 3:23 it states, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”
The Love of God and Sacrifice
I remember as my first son was about to be born, I looked at my husband thinking, “Wow. I love you so much. The father of my child. My eternal companion. How could I love anyone more than this?” When I saw my son for the first time, I felt a love I had never felt before. He was so little but my love for him was so overwhelming. We’d just met seconds before, but I would die for him. I never knew I could love anyone in that way – and to think that Heavenly Father loves each one of us that way, and even more.
We get a glimpse of Heavenly Father’s love for us in John 3:16 which states, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Imagine sending your child somewhere away from you, to suffer and die for the sins of the world. You can’t fathom the thought, right? But that is exactly what God did. He sacrificed His only begotten Son, so ALL of His children could return to Him because He loves us all so much.
Throughout my life, before I got married and started having children, I generally looked out for myself. I didn’t really think about making sacrifices for other people. When you become a parent, your mindset changes, and your perspective on the entire world shifts. You think of all the different life paths your child could take, what various good and bad things can happen to them, and all of the different things they can grow up to become. You start making sacrifices to give them the best chances, and to keep them safe, healthy, and happy.
I’m constantly doing research for things like toys to improve various developmental skills, different schooling methods, car seats and sleep safety, what to feed and what not to feed them, different supplements, what kind of TV to watch, and the list goes on. A lot of prayer goes into it too, and sometimes you still pick the wrong thing. It’s all a guessing game. You make choices and sacrifices constantly, hoping they will work out, but you always do it in love.
Heavenly Father has thought out every little detail for every single one of His children. He has a plan for every single one. He knows all of their needs and desires and hears all of their prayers. We know from Luke 12:7 that He even knows the number of hairs on our heads.
He doesn’t expect us to be up to that standard when it comes to parenthood, but we know that when we try our best, He sees our efforts. Being a mother has helped me feel and understand God’s love even more as my love for my children has grown, and my desire to serve and sacrifice for others, especially my children, continues to grow.
As my children grow, so will my opportunities to learn about them, about life, and about my Father in Heaven. What I’ve learned about God has not only encouraged me to be a better mother and wife, but a better servant of Him, and disciple of Jesus Christ.