Most of us who care about the future of America recognize that families must be strong in order for society to thrive.  After all, they are the bulwark of every nation, the building block upon which every other institution rises or falls. Yet, in our postmodern world, it seems that we’ve abandoned the central role of motherhood, treating it with disdain.  Is it any wonder then that families crumble and society's ills pile high?

If children are indeed our future, we must commit to laying a strong foundation. And who can build it better than mothers, the very ones who carry their babies in their womb, and who birth and nurture them until they are ready to stand on their own?  In a sacrificial way, we instruct our children with ingenuity, devotion and a gentle strength.

The issue with motherhood is not that it’s hard or requires sacrifice. People do insanely difficult things all the time. Many people willingly sacrifice for a worthy cause or ambitious goal. Sacrifice is always deemed worth it when the resulting fruit is seen as valuable when it’s esteemed and applauded. Athletes submit to extreme training regimens and meticulous eating habits in order to perform at the top of their sport. No one calls them crazy; instead, we stand in unison to support and cheer them on. We view their sacrifices and disciplined commitment as well worth the trophies and accolades we give them.

As much as we hate to admit it, we mothers, too, often yearn for others to see the value in our hard work and the deep investment in our children’s lives, to see it as equal to, if not more valuable, than an athlete’s commitment to their sport.

The problem with motherhood is that society no longer sees children as worthy of this commission. The sacrifice and investment they require isn’t applauded; rather, it’s scorned. The shrinking size of families speaks to this.  For many moms, no one is cheering as we change diapers or wake up multiple times a night to feed a newborn, soothe a teething baby, or rock our child back to sleep when they’ve had a bad dream.  No one singles out the woman who goes to great lengths to serve a variety of delicious meals for her family, even for the most finicky eaters around her table.

The monotony of daily household chores can wear us out, especially when it often seems that our own family takes those tasks for granted, when there’s no trophy in sight and no stadium chanting our name.  We talk about changing the world, yet no matter how many caveats we give, there’s a part of us that equates that lofty goal with our own name being known.  The sad reality is that when we give our life to motherhood, it’s easy to feel left out.

The lie that to be a mother means that we’re settling for less creeps in without notice; We begin to internalize the world’s negative checklist: No notable career, no professional title of any kind, few followers on social media. We aren’t hustling a side gig.  We aren’t an Instagram influencer; we’ve never set foot on a big stage.  We don’t run a ministry. The list is endless, and the voice of the enemy of our soul tries to tell us, “See! You are wasting your life.  What do you have to show for it?”

But for the woman who belongs to Christ Jesus, know this:  We’re in good company in God’s estimation and in His Kingdom, one that’s not built on the world’s standards of success or acclaim but rather on humble service, one where the last will be first and the first last.

On the day that we enter heaven, I think we’ll be surprised at the type of heroes who fill heaven’s halls. People like our dear friend’s parents, who adopted a set of siblings after their own four boys were grown.  And when one of their children had babies of their own whom they couldn’t care for, this amazing couple (now grandparents) opened their arms to raise toddlers all over again.  Though no one knows who they are, a rich reward awaits them. I believe that Heaven will be full of such unsung heroes who willingly laid down their lives for those coming up behind them, faithfully obedient where it really counts, often working in complete obscurity.

I’ve never quite understood why things done for those outside our family are ranked as more valuable than those same things done for the ones we love the most. What a scam.  I say we’re being robbed. If you love to teach, what a joy to teach your own children. Why is a kindergarten teacher applauded but a homeschool mom scorned? Why is it looked down upon to keep, clean and run your home smoothly, but laudable to run your own cleaning business?  Why does a personal or executive assistant pull down a handsome paycheck, but when we do those same things for our husbands and children, people call us oppressed?  Why do we prefer to serve strangers more than the husbands we love and have pledged our life to?  Why are our best gifts only deemed valuable to those in our own inner circle whom we love the most?

As Christians, we rightly yearn to minister to people, to love and serve, encourage, teach, and pray for them. We want to strengthen the church and reach the unsaved. But what’s been lost is the acknowledgment that the prime candidates for our earthly ministry eat breakfast at our table each morning.

Our children might be housed in smaller bodies, but they are no less important, no less worthy in God’s eyes, than those who fill our church pews or the ones we pass on the street. It seems we have forgotten that our first and most important ministry is our own family. Go and make disciples. Yes, but who better to make disciples of than our own little ones whom God has entrusted to our care? How did we get to the place where we see it as a higher calling to take care of other’s children but not our own?

So minister and use your gifts, and remember that your family isn’t excluded from the best you have to give.

Mom, we need you. There’s no more valuable place for you to expend your energy and your life, no better soil to sow your talents and your dreams.  You are irreplaceable to your husband, your children and your home.  So gladly take up your post. We will yet see society repair and rise once more from the wreckage. There’s healing power in our hearts and hands when we place them in God’s.

Written by Allison Sonneland
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