Theology of Motherhood

Created in the image of the Creator

Dear Leona,

This morning I awoke with the usual fog in my brain– we slept better last night, but still not a solid 8 hours like Mama is used to. Nevertheless, the coffee was made, and I decided to stay awake after our 5:20 nursing session. 5:20 is a little earlier than my 5:45 alarm, so I crawled back into bed before the alarm even went off; but there was a buzzing in my soul (maybe it was the caffeine?) that prompted me not to go back to sleep.

I spent some time in the word– Matthew 18 gave me insights on cherishing the beauty of “being like a little child,” as well as complicated and challenging insights on the need for forgiveness. I pondered thoughts of my own lack of forgiveness, and what God could be teaching me through this passage– more on that later.

Then, I dove into my current project– one that will bless our family as well as other families trying to train their children in the way of Christ. Daddy and I have been talking at length lately about the lessons we want to teach you and your brother, and the lists have grown extensive. So, I have been doing what I do best– planning, organizing, and condensing information; chatting with Daddy about themes and values that we wish to impart, and the specific attitudes and skills that are driven by those values. Daddy and I spent some time dreaming about what it will be like to teach you guys these things, both of us with a twinkle in our eye as we look with excitement, fear, and wonder at the future you guys will bring into our lives…

Then, the day started. It was filled with the usual to-dos– cooking, cleaning, playing with you and keeping you safe… but today there was an energy driving me to do more– an energy that hadn’t sparked in my inner-being since you stopped sleeping as well a few months ago. I found myself inspired to cultivate beauty in our home– cleaning and organizing, planning your Oma’s birthday arrival, folding the long-awaiting piles of laundry that scattered the house. I was inspired by new and big ideas– ideas to share with Daddy and Aunt Katelyn out of excitement and desire to bring my dreams to fruition. I found myself reaching out, stepping out of my comfort zone to discuss safe and clean beauty with friends, reaching into lives of my dear mama friends for connection and comradery… And that buzzing in my soul… it never left.

It brought to mind the question of who we are– who we are meant to be, and the kind of lives our Creator God always intended for us. As I sat to ponder the buzzing energy, I was reminded of Genesis 1-3 and God’s original intention for His good creation and his very good image-bearers. The preface to the Bible tells us that God created us in His image— created beings made to be creative like our Creator (say that five times fast). Here we learn that we were called to rule over the earth, and to subdue it. When I was younger, the image of ruling and subduing always seemed so domineering and strange… “Subdue” sounds like a harsh dictator acting as supreme overlord. I didn’t want to do that. But then, I read in The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson a different definition of “subdue,” 

“Subdue carries with it not just the idea of ruling over, but also bringing something to creativity.” Sally Clarkson, Mission of Motherhood

She goes on to describe the process of planning her home, and describes the implications of the Hebrew words translated as subdue. She highlights that when we “rule over and subdue” our little corner of the earth, we are responsible for bringing something under our authority– making it useful and beautiful.

This changed my whole perspective– to realize that God created us with a sense of his own creativity– with a plan to lead and guide us to utilize that creativity to bring order into the chaos of this world… And as I ponder the buzzing in my soul from this morning, I can’t help but be inspired that the Spirit is spurring me on as I realize the potential set inside of me by my good and perfect Creator.

Sometimes life is overwhelming. Sometimes we can be tempted to shut down and give up. Sometimes we lose our sense of self as we take up the duties of day-in and day-out living… But I am learning that the key to bringing back the spark, to igniting the Spirit within– is to awaken our sense of capacity and creativity to bring order and beauty into our corner of the chaos. My prayer as I write this to you is that you would be inspired to be creative as you grow. As you become aware of God’s good and perfect will for your life, that you would realize that the best way to find true purpose and break up the mundane is not to retreat from doing, as some might suggest, but to lean in and find ways to cultivate beauty and creativity in your own corner of the earth. My prayer is that you would wake up with the buzzing in your soul more days than you don’t– and I am so excited to see how God uses your unique image-bearing self to better the world around you.

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