The Fruit of Long Faithfulness

Posted by Naomi Vacaro on

Three Truths to Hold
Heather Cofer

Earlier this year we discovered we’ll be welcoming our sixth child into the world come September. We couldn’t be more thrilled!
I asked an older mom in our church shortly after having our fifth:
“Did you find the more kids you had, the more you loved having kids?” She resonated with the question, and said, yes, that had been her experience.
This has been the case for me.
Or, maybe I should say, I’ve found that the longer I’ve had kids, the more I love having kids, because I don’t think it’s dependent on the number of children we have.

Having a big family has been a dream of mine since girlhood, but after bringing our firstborn into the world I realized this motherhood road was going to be far more sanctifying than I could’ve ever imagined. The next three came in fairly quick succession, and as much as I dearly loved and welcomed them, most days I awoke with a helpless cry for mercy and grace on my lips. Strange chronic illness didn’t help. I just wanted to feel the joy I fought for every day—joy that often seemed dulled or drowned out by the daily duties and struggles.

Sometimes I thought I couldn’t bear another moment of the sanctification that came from seeing my sin and weakness exposed day after day through mothering. However: I couldn’t shake the sense that there was something very, very good that awaited me in the perseverance—something beyond the circumstances of today. Something I saw in God’s Word and heard in the wise voices that encouraged me to not grow weary. I knew I had a choice: I could either let the strain harden me or soften me. I could look to Jesus in hope and obedience, or I could turn inward in self-pity and resentment. I begged the Lord to keep me soft, to cling to His vision for the eternal purpose of caring for these little ones.

Then, our fifth child was born. And I couldn’t believe the internal shift that came along with him.
Everything about pregnancy and motherhood felt more precious. It wasn’t new anymore, but the gift of this new life—and each of my other children—felt deeply profound. The initial years of tilling and weed pulling in my heart were beginning to show signs of life. I knew the Lord was answering my prayer for joy in this motherhood gift.

Don’t get me wrong, much is still required of me daily. I still fight for joy and against sin. Some days the repentance feels embarrassingly abundant. But in it all, there is so much more delight and contentment by His grace.
As we anticipate adding another precious child to our lively crew, these are truths I’m meditating on as I anticipate another season of growth upon receiving the gift of another child. 

  • Lasting Growth is Often Slow Growth 
  • It can be painful and discouraging to reach the end of another day as a mama and see very little fruit from the countless hours poured into our children. But with each year that’s gone by—as the spiritual buds and blossoms have started to appear in myself and my children—I’ve begun to grasp and even cherish the wisdom of God in requiring long-term, faith-filled consistency from us. On my part, I know if I’d seen the fruit right away I would’ve been far more tempted to believe I had it all together. The seeds of pride very likely would’ve taken root in my heart and produced a hardness to the humility that comes from realizing my desperate need for God’s grace in motherhood. Isn’t it interesting that as intrinsic as motherhood is to a woman, God actually uses it to show us just how much His wisdom and strength are required to fulfill that calling well? 
    Today, rather than being discouraged, let’s be encouraged when we come up against the realization that we don’t have what it takes—remembering that this sense of lack is what will drive us into God’s grace if we allow it to. Let’s be quick to turn to Him in prayer, recognizing that He has everything we need for the task of motherhood He’s put before us with every new day. 
    Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

  • He is Our Source of Rest 
  • Everyone who’s been a mom knows it requires a whole lot of mental, emotional, and physical energy. Can I get an amen? It’s tempting in the state of strain we often find ourselves in to listen to the smooth voices telling us we deserve to be pampered and put ourselves first.  Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m a huge advocate for getting the rest we need. I also love getting a massage or going on a manicure outing with friends. These “extras” can and should be received as good gifts from a loving Heavenly Father. But if we selfishly look to these for lasting rest, we’ll be sorely disappointed. God alone can fulfill the need for peace, joy, contentment, and soul refreshment, and it’s only by putting Christ first (rather than ourselves) that we’ll receive what our hearts truly long for. 
    David articulated this in Psalm 63:1
    ”O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
    my soul thirsts for you;
    my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
    He rightly understood that the cravings of our hearts can only be satisfied in the Lord. As moms, we should embrace this with every fiber of our being. Time with the Lord should be a priority, knowing that He has the grace we need to mother these children as He’s commissioned us to do. He knows when those physical enjoyments are needed, and when to withhold them to press us further into Himself. When we draw our ultimate encouragement from communing with Him through His Word and in prayer, we are equipped and refreshed at the deepest level. We can be sure He will come through for us. 

  • Ask God for Delight in Your Kids
  • I recognized early in mothering that enjoying my children when I’m sleep deprived, defied, and dealing with blow-outs doesn’t always come naturally (as adorable and hilarious as they can be). Some days this made me feel like despairing. But the Lord really challenged my heart to ask Him to help me delight in my kids. It was then that I realized it would take intentionality on my part—being sensitive to His Spirit to take opportunities to cultivate that delight. Sometimes it means putting my phone in another room so I could observe their precious mannerisms without distraction. Other times it’s looked like inviting them to snuggle with me during quiet time when I’d rather it just be, well, quiet. Still other times it takes the form of dropping the laundry-folding and making a trip to the park (which can sometimes be hard for a homebody like myself). Through this, I’ve learned in a significant way that feeling love often follows acting in love. It can be hard to go the extra mile when we pour out in practical ways from dawn ‘til dusk (and beyond). But God will give us grace to delight in these children that are so precious to Him. And as He does, our delight in Him will grow, too, as we watch Him do what only He can do.

    Remember with me: motherhood was God’s idea. He doesn’t call us, His daughters, to raise these children and abandon us to our own strength. He can give us joy and keep us soft through both giggles and meltdowns. All we have to do is fix our eyes on Him.

      Heather Cofer is a wife and mom of five with a passion for pointing others to Christ. She has written for multiple ministries, including Set-Apart Girl, Well-Watered Women, and Revive Our Hearts. She is also the author of Expectant: Cultivating a Vision for Christ-Centered Pregnancy. Heather loves quality time with her husband, Judah, laughter with friends, fresh flowers, playing piano, and good coffee. She and her family currently live in Northern Colorado near the beautiful Rocky Mountains. 
    chronic illness delight encouragement Holy Spirit inspiration joy Motherhood motivation Parenting

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