Don’t Give up: Cultivating a Harvest in the Trenches of Motherhood

“How was your day?”

It was a simple enough question, yet one I found almost impossible to answer. How could I possibly condense the last ten hours into one concise response?

I immediately wanted to reel off an exhaustive and impressive list, showcasing the full range of my mothering and homemaking capabilities. Except I couldn’t—not today or any other day, if I was being honest.

How was my day, really? The truth was it had been a long, relentless, overwhelming blur. I was worn out, weary, and had barely drawn breath. And though I had been home all day with my two young children, somehow it didn’t feel like I had much to show for it. Toys still littered the floor, while the laundry from three days ago was still in the dryer. My girls had spent large chunks of the afternoon arguing and had barely eaten dinner. 

It was only Tuesday. The rest of the week stretched before me and I wondered—not for the first time—if I could do it all again tomorrow.

A PURPOSE, A PROMISE, AND A PLEA

The days are long, and the nights are longer.

That’s probably how many of us could describe life in the early years of motherhood. Deep in the trenches with our little ones, the days (and nights!) can be difficult, energy-sapping, lonely, and long. Down in the darkness with us are the nagging doubts, the quiet, secret thoughts we dare not speak aloud:

I can’t do this.

I’m not enough.

I’m not making a difference.

Unseen, underappreciated, and so very tired, we wonder when, or even if, we will see a return on our labor.

Yet God sees. He sees it all: The daily struggle and the sacrifice, the worry and the tears, the selfless, overwhelming, unconditional love poured out day after day after day even when it takes everything we have. And He responds—with a purpose, a promise, and a plea: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, NIV).

THE WORK YOU ARE DOING IS GOOD

“Let us not become weary in doing good…”

In the mayhem and monotony of daily motherhood, it can be easy to forget the significance of what we’re doing. “I’m just a mom,” I’ve heard women say, quickly downplaying and devaluing their God-ordained purpose and significance. Raising children and “training them in the way they should go” is Kingdom work of the utmost significance because these little ones were His first, bestowed to us as a blessing, “a heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). 

Every day, in big and small ways, from the moment they wake us up in the morning until we tuck them into bed at night, we are fulfilling the Great Commission. In the ordinary moments and the mountaintop ones, we are given opportunities to model and reflect Jesus to our ever-watching little disciples. Our life is a window through which our children can glimpse the Father and experience a taste of His grace, forgiveness, kindness, compassion, servant heart, and fierce life-giving love. As moms, this is our ministry, our calling, and our greatest purpose. As Andy Stanley once said, “Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.”

Do not let yourselves be deceived—the work you are doing is good.

THE HARVEST IS COMING

“…at the proper time we will reap a harvest.”

In my kitchen sits a treasured gift from a mentor mom I met at church, a plant pot inscribed with vibrant hand-painted letters: “Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow.

It’s a reminder of the harvest that can come from the tiniest of seeds.

“God’s kingdom is like a pine nut that a farmer plants. It is quite small as seeds go, but in the course of years it grows into a huge tree, and eagles build nests in it” (Matthew‬ ‭13:31-32‬, ‭MSG‬‬).

A mighty giant does not grow overnight. Beneath every tree lies a vast network of roots, representing countless years of unseen growth. Supporting, nourishing, and nurturing, the roots give the tree everything it needs not only to survive but to fulfill its purpose and reflect God’s glory.

Consider the farmer. He cuts a lonely figure, but every day without fail, in sunshine and rain, he is in his field, tending to his crops. He is cold and weary. The work is beset with setbacks and difficulty, and he receives little thanks. Nonetheless, every day he shows up. His eyes fixed not on the daily struggle, but on his future vision for the field—the promise and possibility of these tiny saplings and the harvest he will one day reap.

This is the legacy we are creating as we faithfully nurture our children in their journey toward independence and adulthood. In even the most mundane tasks we are endeavoring through God’s grace to provide them with everything they need—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—to grow, flourish, and bear fruit. For these little people who almost smother us with their love and incessant, desperate needs, and these adolescents who simultaneously drain every last ounce of pride and patience, are the future men and women of God’s kingdom with a plan and purpose of their own. This season of cultivation may be painstaking, backbreaking, thankless work, but we can be encouraged that “in the Lord our labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). We have received our inheritance in Christ and one day will be granted the reward He has promised us.

DON’T GIVE UP

“…If we do not give up.”

Through the long days and longer nights, the fear and the failures, the discouragement and the disappointments, the invisibility and the thanklessness, how do we keep going?

Motherhood is not a job that comes with an abundance of daily validation and praise. There will be no certificates of excellence when I finally see the bottom of the laundry hamper and no one will ever offer me a sticker for making my children dinner. This is not a job with a tangible reward system. The accolades and affirmations can be in short supply.

“Do it anyway,” God says. “Do it for Me.”

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” ‭(Colossians‬ ‭3:23-24, NIV)‬.

God doesn’t demand perfection, Martha Stewart meal plans, and homes Joanna Gaines would be proud of. He desires only us, our wholehearted obedience and unflinching surrender to this worthy calling He has placed on our lives.

As we look to Him for our daily portion—to carry, sustain, and strengthen us in this season—we find ourselves transforming, too. Our own journey of growth not yet complete as He molds and changes us into the women He created us to be, continuing His legacy.

The season we are in may feel equally thankless and exhausting, messy and mundane. There will be hurt and heartbreak, disappointments and discipline. But we must not lose sight of the vision God has given us and its eternal significance. As legacy builders of God’s Kingdom, we must persevere because the harvest is coming. And oh, what joy there will be when it is time to reap!

“Those who shed tears as they plant will shout for joy when they reap the harvest” (Psalm 126:5, NET).

This article first appeared in the Redeem (Fall 2019) Issue of Joyful Life Magazine

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

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