|The cold weather swept in brisk one night, overwhelming the warm and nearly knocking aside the cool altogether. One day 80 degrees, the next 60, the next a biting 45.
The cold makes my baby’s arrival feel so much nearer. It will truly be full-winter cold when he does come, and the lengthening amount of warm days seemed to keep his nearness at bay. Now, my excitement mounts as we prepare his room, attend a growing number of doctor’s appointments and tick the waning days off the calendar.
I’ve never been a momma before. All mommas start out like this, and it’s a funny feeling. To be a mother from the day God began knitting this gift together within me, but to lack the experience. To feel the growing, strengthening kicks, but to lack the touch. I find myself desiring to feel prepared. To check off “motherhood ready” along with stroller, car seat, and bassinet. To understand what this life will be like, without having lived it.
We have much of the material things we’ll need. My boy’s closet is already brimming with clothes and toys and blankets galore. The changing table is sitting on the dresser, ready. But, amid my growing excitement, I’ve begun to feel the dis-junction between what I am, and what I will become. I wonder: am I ready to be a mom? Here I am, carrying my son at every moment but feeling so very unlike a mother—without a full understanding to guide me. How does this new role settle into the soul and the mind?
I’ve always said I needed a long time to process each life change. But despite the nine long months, it still feels as if I’m about to be greatly taken by surprise. The simple truth is this: motherhood is an experiential thing. We’ll never fully know till we’ve lived it. We’ll never hold our own child in our arms until we do. It’s simple, but hard to hold on to in the waiting months.
It strikes me that this stage—sitting snug between childlessness and motherhood—is a tangible way to understand the already-but-not-yet process of sanctification.
We are already being purified, but are not yet perfect. I am already being made a mom, but am not yet fully a mother—caring for my child in the daily routines of life, soothing his wild tears and providing him with sustenance from my own body. These are wonders that work themselves out over time, through a Power greater than ourselves.
We see a hint of this in Ephesians where Paul says this to the Gentiles about salvation:
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV).
Our inheritance is guaranteed—stamped with a seal.
But the fullness of that promise, and the coming day when we’ll be at home with the King, has not come yet. We wait in sweet expectation. We long for this coming reality. We even see the fruits of the Spirit overcoming our flesh as we’re made more and more like Christ.
But, we can’t fully understand what complete redemption—living in the real, tangible light of God amid our heavenly home—will be like, because we haven’t lived it yet. We know that we are reborn in the newness of salvation, but we also still struggle with sin. We are made holy—purified by the blood of Jesus—but we are not fully perfected.
Amidst this sanctifying process, we can be filled with anxieties similar to those in motherhood. We see our failures and ask: are we really becoming new? We wonder: are we all that we are called to be—holy and blameless? Friends, Jesus paid the price that we could not, buying our salvation with His own precious blood. Don’t be discouraged because you are not fully perfected yet. Our God is faithful. He is pruning those who abide in Him—growing new fruit in His perfect time.
As a mother feels her child moving within her, months before she ever sees the fruit of her womb, so we—who have assurance of salvation—see Christ changing our likeness to look more like His before we see Him face to face. Just as a mother groans for the day she can see her child and hold him close, so this sanctifying process grows our excitement for the day we’ll finally arrive home, wrapped up in the complete joy of an eternity spent with God.
May these times of waiting spur us on. Every day, as I wait and grow and ache, my longing grows to see my son. Our daily renewal in the Lord grows a deep and joyful longing, too. He is fulfilling His promise to us; there’s no greater hope than that.
Sanctification Through the Eyes of Motherhood
Mary Jackson lives in the little town of Lebanon, Ohio–home of the Golden Lamb, the Apple Festival, and the Horse Drawn Carriage Parade. Her favorite mornings are slow ones, sat in the wicker by the window, that melt into quiet times. Most often pegged as the shy girl, she’s found that it’s okay to be quiet, to listen, to speak up with love and gentleness. To sit in the tension of the quiet and the spoken. Though she fought it, she believes deeply that community is for the quiet folk, too. You can find her sharing thoughts at stilltraveling.net or on Instagram @maryreneejackson