A few weeks ago I was asked to give a devotional at a friend’s baby shower. I loved creating this short little study about motherhood, so I thought I’d share:
 Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
 Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
We’re probably familiar with the last few verses of this Psalm, which talks about children and the blessing that they are – and they really are! But I’m actually going to talk about the first couple of verses.
Being a mom is wonderful – and really hard! There are many moments when you don’t know what to do and you feel overwhelmed. In the beginning you’re dealing with breastfeeding and no sleep and your body is still recovering. Then eventually your kid starts moving around and getting into everything and then you need to figure out how to discipline them, a whole new challenge. And eventually your baby will go to school and maybe be around kids whose families don’t love the Lord and that’s a little scary. And one day she’ll start driving and boys will want to date her and it’s all just plain overwhelming!
When we think of all the challenging aspects of parenthood, we tend to get anxious and try to figure things out for ourselves. You might even read books, or maybe ask other moms for advice. But according to those first couple of verses, we’re doing things in vain when we try to do it without the Lord. “Vain” in Hebrew means useless, nothing, or worthless.
In verse 1 it said, “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” Of course the builder must labor to build his home, but he must have faith and trust God in order for his work to be beneficial.
It’s not wrong to ask friends for advice, or to read books, but ultimately we need to seek the Lord as we parent our children, just as in everything else we do. We see in 2 Timothy 2:16-17 that He gives us His word to guide us:
“ All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Surely God is equipping us in our work of motherhood. Scripture is full of wisdom that guides us as we figure out how to best love and care for our children. We will have lots of hard decisions to make and we will have to choose between trusting the Lord or trying to control things ourselves.
Verse 2 reads, “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” Godly parenting requires diligence, but our labor of motherhood shouldn’t lead to anxiety. We are God’s beloved, and he cares for us and he cares for our children.
But even when we are trying to trust the Lord and seek Him, there will be times when we won’t parent well. We may lose our tempers, shout instead of listen, punish instead of give grace, worry instead of pray. Thankfully God’s grace is sufficient in our shortcomings. In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes about the thorn in his flesh and he says:
“ But Jesus said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
You don’t have to be a perfect mom – the pressure is off! You don’t have to do more or be more, because your baby girl doesn’t need a super mom. She needs a mom who needs a super God. The God who created her and loves her more than we can imagine. She is your heritage, your portion, your gift from the Lord. We are so excited to meet her and be a part of her life!