What weary moms need most

Written by Kristen Wetherell
Published on May 06, 2022

Motherhood is a gift, we know, but it is also one of the most challenging jobs we have ever worked. 

Yes, our kids are God-given joys. They make us smile, bring us to tears with laughter at their antics, and remind us how to be young again. Yet, in the next breath, we’re thinking about sending them back, and our tears are the result of overwhelm and discouragement, from sinning and being sinned against, or perhaps because life itself has thrown us a curveball. 

Seasons of life

As a mom of two young children, this has been true for me. Our daughter is three-and-a-half and our son is one. We are very much in the little years. 

Added to this, our family has gone through several major changes in the last year. My husband’s new pastoral position meant a new job, a new church campus, and a new home in a matter of three months. (Oh, and did I mention we had a new baby?) 

Between my two kids and all these shifts, I have come to the end of my strength and wondered how to take another step. I’ve worked plenty of jobs in my lifetime, but no job has occupied so much of my mind, time, devotion, and energy as motherhood. 

I wonder if you agree. Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom, or perhaps you work another job. Maybe you are married, or perhaps you’re raising your kids without a spouse. 

It could be that you are expecting your first child (congratulations!) and you are over the moon. Or perhaps you’re expecting a “surprise” fourth baby and, while you’re grateful for the news, you’re wondering how in the world you’ll be able to handle another child when three feels like too many. 

Maybe you’re fostering or adopting kids, which has not been what you hoped it would be, and the parent-friends you have don’t understand what it takes to be a mother in the way you’re a mother. 

Whatever your context, you know that your work as “mom” never ceases. Whether you are at home or away, your children need you, and you are never off the clock. 

Next to motherhood, I imagine some of you may be dealing with other factors: job loss and financial strain, relational tension with a spouse or child, evolving friendships and loneliness, physical weakness from pregnancy, illness, or miscarriage, an empty nest that makes you wonder what motherhood even means in this strange new season with adult children, even the blessed trial of caring for aging parents or the grief of saying goodbye them. 

Maybe you would describe your world at home as full and frantic as you manage a large family, needing all hands on deck. Or maybe your world feels tiny and isolated, like every day crawls by, and you wonder what happened to your sense of purpose. 

A servant’s heart

Either way, amid the chaos or quiet, you wonder if this is all there is to being a mom. 

Add your circumstances to the everyday, relentless nature of motherhood, and our collective weariness is understandable. But as I look at my own story, and as I talk to friends about theirs, it seems to me there’s something deeper going on, something rooted less in our circumstances and more within the core of our being: Our weariness often seems to come from a disconnection between hands and heart. 

We are busy serving, meeting our children’s needs while setting aside our own, and pouring ourselves out for these little ones. We’re using our hands to change diapers, nurse babies, read books, build towers, teach lessons, make lunches, and tend boo-boos. 

But if we’re honest we would admit that, while we love our kids, we don’t always like our situation. We struggle to enjoy it. It feels exhausting. All day long, we work with a servant’s hands—but not always with a servant’s heart. 

Many of us desperately want our motives to align with our actions. We want our hands to follow our hearts. We don’t just want to keep our kids alive, but to raise them with gladness and thankfulness. 

Instead of a dormant or a resentful heart, we genuinely want a humble one. A heart like Christ. But how? How do we go about the weighty and wonderful calling of motherhood not simply as servants, but with servants’ hearts—humble hearts?

The humility of Christ

 As I was pondering this question one day, my thoughts turned to Philippians 2, a well-known Bible passage on humility. Throughout the verses below (which I’ve broken up so that you can read through it slowly and really take it in), notice how Christ’s humble heart is displayed within each facet of his salvation work: 

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:1–11, ESV italics added). 

The question, “How does a mother grow in humility on the heart-level and not just the hands-level?” seems to have an obvious answer throughout this passage (“Jesus!”). 

But as we look more closely, we see there are riches to mine in it. True, we grow in humility as we walk closely with Christ. 

What weary moms need is a meditation on Christ—a long, lingering look at humility in the flesh, the beautiful and blessed Jesus, who reveals to us what servant-heartedness looks like: Jesus is the one who took the form of a servant (Phil. 2:7). 

Jesus is the one who came not to be served, but to serve (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45). 

He is the one whose very heart is gentle and lowly (Matt. 10:28) and whose nail-scarred hands serve his people as he serves his Father (John 4:34). 

Think on Jesus and how beautifully he has served us in both hand and heart. 


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Kristen Wetherell

Kristen Wetherell is a pastor’s wife, mother, writer, and speaker. She is the author of Humble Moms, Fight Your Fears, co-author of the award-winning book Hope When It Hurts, and editor of 12 Faithful Women. Kristen lives in Chicagoland with her husband Brad and two kids where they are members of The Orchard.

Read more about Kristen

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