Only women can be mothers. Have we forgotten this fundamental?
Only a woman can carry in her body an eternal being which bears the very image of God. Only she is the recipient of the miracle of life. Only a woman can conceive and nurture this life using her own flesh and blood, and then deliver a living soul into the world. God has bestowed upon her alone a genuine miracle — the creation of life, and the fusing of an eternal soul with mortal flesh. This fact alone establishes the glory of motherhood.
Despite the most creative plans of humanist scientists and lawmakers to redefine the sexes, no man will ever conceive and give birth to a child. The fruitful womb is a holy gift given by God to women alone. This is one reason why the office of wife and mother is the highest calling to which a woman can aspire.
This is the reason why nations that fear the Lord esteem and protect mothers. They glory in the distinctions between men and women, and attempt to build cultures in which motherhood is honored and protected.
In his famous commentary on early American life, Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville explained:
Thus the Americans do not think that man and woman have either the duty or the right to perform the same offices, but they show an equal regard for both their respective parts; and though their lot is different, they consider both of them as beings of equal value. They do not give to the courage of woman the same form or the same direction as to that of man, but they never doubt her courage; and if they hold that man and his partner ought not always to exercise their intellect and understanding in the same manner, they at least believe the understanding of the one to be as sound as that of the other, and her intellect to be as clear. Thus, then, while they have allowed the social inferiority of woman to continue, they have done all they could to raise her morally and intellectually to the level of man; and in this respect they appear to me to have excellently understood the true principle of democratic improvement.
De Tocqueville contrasted the American understanding of women, with European sentiments:
There are people in Europe who, confounding together the different characteristics of the sexes, would make man and woman into beings not only equal but alike. They could give to both the same functions, impose on both the same duties, and grant to both the same rights; they would mix them in all things — their occupations, their pleasures, their business. It may readily be conceived that by thus attempting to make one sex equal to the other, both are degraded, and from so preposterous a medley of the works of nature nothing could ever result but weak men and disorderly women.
The War on Motherhood
America’s glory was her women. de Tocqueville believed this when he wrote:
As for myself, I do not hesitate to avow that although the women of the United States are confined within the narrow circle of domestic life, and their situation is in some respects one of extreme dependence, I have nowhere seen woman occupying a loftier position; and if I were asked, now that I am drawing to the close of this work, in which I have spoken of so many important things done by the Americans, to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of that people ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply: To the superiority of their women.
But this birthright would be exchanged during the last century for a mess of pottage. Perhaps the greatest legacy of the 20th century has been the war on motherhood and biblical patriarchy. Feminists, Marxists, and liberal theologians have made it their aim to target the institution of the family and divest it from its biblical structure and priorities. The results are androgyny, a radical decline in birthrate, abortion, fatherless families, and social confusion.
Incredibly, the biggest story of the 20th century never made headline news [i]. Somehow we missed it. It was the mass exodus of women from the home, and the consequent decline of motherhood. For the first time in recorded history of the West, more mothers left their homes than stayed in them. By leaving the home, the experience and reality of childhood, family life and femininity were fundamentally redefined, and the results have been so bad that if this one trend is not reversed, our grandchildren may live in a world where the both the true culture of Christian family life and the historic definition of marriage are the stuff of fairy tales.
Many “isms” have influenced these trends-evolutionism, feminism, statism, eugenicism, Marxism, and more. But in the end, the philosophical gap between the presuppositions of the Atheists, eugenicists, and Marxists of the early 20th century, and the presuppositions of the professing Church in the 21st century, have narrowed dramatically. The goals of the state and the goals of the mainstream church have so merged, that the biblical family with its emphasis on male headship, generational succession, and prolific motherhood are a threat to the social order of both institutions.
Less than one hundred years ago, the architects of the atheistic communist Soviet state anticipated the death of the Christian family. They explained the need for destroying the Christian family with its emphasis on motherhood, and replacing it with a vision for a “new family.” Lenin wrote:
We must now say proudly and without any exaggeration that part from Soviet Russia, there is not a country in the world where women enjoy full equality and where women are not placed in the humiliating position felt particularly in day-to-day family life. This is one of our first and most important tasks…Housework is the most unproductive, the most barbarous and the most arduous work a woman can do. It is exceptionally petty and does not include anything that would in any way promote the development of the woman…The building of socialism will begin only when we have achieved the complete equality of women and when we undertake the new work together with women who have been emancipated from that petty stultifying, unproductive work…We are setting up model institutions, dining-rooms and nurseries, that will emancipate women from housework…These institutions that liberate women from their position as household slaves are springing up where it is in any way possible…Our task is to make politics available to every working woman.
In his 1920 International Working Women’s Day Speech, Lenin emphasized:
The chief thing is to get women to take part in socially productive labor, to liberate them from ‘domestic slavery,’ to free them from their stupefying [idiotic] and humiliating subjugation to the eternal drudgery of the kitchen and the nursery. This struggle will be a long one, and it demands a radical reconstruction, both of social technique and of morale. But it will end in the complete triumph of Communism.
Lenin’s comrade Trotsky played a key role in communicating the Marxist vision of what he called the “new family.” Lenin and Trotsky believed in the overthrow of Christianity by destroying the biblical family. They sought to build a new state, free from historic Christian presuppositions concerning the family. This meant denigrating the biblical notion of male headship and hierarchy within the family. It meant eliminating any sense that there should be a division of labor between man and wife. This required delivering women from the burdens of childbirth and childcare. It meant adopting tools like birth control as guarantors that women could be free to remain in the workforce. Trotsky said this:
|Lenin’s comrade Trotsky|
Socialization of family housekeeping and public education of children are unthinkable without a marked improvement in our economics as a whole. We need more socialist economic forms. Only under such conditions can we free the family from the functions and cares that now oppress and disintegrate it. Washing must be done by a public laundry, catering by a public restaurant, sewing by a public workshop. Children must be educated by good public teachers who have a real vocation for the work. Then the bond between husband and wife would be freed from everything external and accidental, and the one would cease to absorb the life of the other. Genuine equality would at last be established…
The most disturbing part of quotes like those above is how similar they sound in sentiment and spirit to voices today from individuals who claim to be a part of the Church of Jesus Christ. Even more disturbing is how many of the anti-family social reforms are presuppositions of modern Christians in America. Presuppositions which have been fully accepted.
How America’s Conscience Was Seared Toward Motherhood
But motherhood is not easily defeated. It was here from the beginning and it has always carried the Church and civilization forward. Motherhood not only perpetuates civilization, it defines it.
At first Jamestown was a bachelor society struggling for survival. But she became a civilization when the women arrived. Plymouth, on the other hand, began as a civilization-families of faith committed to fruitfulness and multiplication for the glory of God, an impossibility without motherhood.
Motherhood is not easily defeated because God has placed reminders of its importance in the very bodies of the women He created. To defeat motherhood, the enemies of the biblical family must do more than make it a social inconvenience, they must teach women to despise themselves by viewing their own wombs as the enemy of self-fulfillment. This means minimizing the glorious gift of life which is only given to womankind. It means redefining what it means to be a woman.
But even this is not enough. To defeat motherhood the enemies of the biblical family must sear the conscience of an entire generation of women. This is done through the doctrines of social emancipation from the home, sexual liberation, birth control, and abortion — all four of which cause a woman to war against her created nature. Instead of being the blessed guardian of domesticity for society, she is taught that contentment can only be found by acting, dressing, and competing with men. Instead of being an object of respect, protection, and virtue, she sells herself cheaply, thus devaluing her womanhood. Instead of glorying in a fruitful womb she cuts off the very seed of life. Sometimes she even kills the life.
Years of playing the part of a man hardens a woman. It trains women to find identity in the corporation, not the home. It teaches them to be uncomfortable around children and large families—the mere presence of which is a reminder of the antithesis between God’s design for womankind and the norms of post-Christian societies.
But women are not the only ones with seared consciences. Men have them too. Consider that fifty years ago a man would have winced to think of female soldiers heading into combat while stay-at-home dads are left behind changing diapers. Today’s man has a seared conscience. He no longer thinks of himself as a protector of motherhood, and a defender of womankind. He comforts himself by repeating the mantras of modern feminism, and by assuring himself of how reasonable and enlightened he is — how different he is from his intolerant and oppressive fathers. But in his heart, modern man knows that he has lost something. He has lost his manhood.
To be a man, you must care about women. And you must care about them in the right way. You must care about them as creatures worthy of protection, honor, and love. This means genuinely appreciating them for their uniqueness as women. It means recognizing the preciousness of femininity over glamour, of homemaking over careerism, and of mature motherhood over perpetual youth. But when women are reduced to soldiers, sexual objects, and social competitors, it is not merely the women who lose the identity given to them by the Creator, but the men as well. This is why the attack on motherhood has produced a nation of eunuchs—socially and spiritually impotent men who have little capacity to lead, let alone love women as God intended man to love woman–as mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters.
Motherhood Will Triumph
There is an important reason why motherhood will not be defeated — The Church is her guardian. As long as she perseveres — and persevere she will — motherhood will prevail.
The Church is the ultimate vanguard of that which is most precious and most holy. She holds the oracles of God which dare to proclaim to a selfish, self-centered nation: “Children are a blessing and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” Psalm 127:3.
The Church stands at the very gates of the city, willing to receive the railing complaints of feminists, atheists, and the legions arrayed against the biblical family, and she reminds the people of God: “Let the older women teach the young to love their children, to guide the homes.” Titus 2:3-5.
It is this very love of the life of children, this passion for femininity and motherhood which may be God’s instrument of blessing on America in the days to come. As the birth rate continues to plummet, divorce rates rise, and family life in America dissipates to the point of extinction, life-loving families will not only have an important message to share, but thy will have an army of children to help them share it.
Teacher: Susie what do you want to be when you grow up?
Susie: I want to be a doctor.
Teacher: How wonderful! And what about you Julie?
Julie: I want to be a soldier.
Teacher: How commendable! And what about you Hannah?
Hannah: When I grow up I want to be a wife and mother!
Teacher: [dead silence]…
After years of society belittling the calling of motherhood, something wonderful is happening — something wonderfully counter-cultural! In the midst of the anti-life, anti-motherhood philosophies which pervade the culture, there is a new generation of young ladies emerging whose priorities are not determined by the world’s expectations of them. They have grown up in homes where fathers shepherd them, where children are not merely welcome, but where they are deeply loved. Some of these women have been home educated, which means that many of them have grown up around babies and their mothers. They have learned to see motherhood as a joy and a high calling, because their parents see it that way.
And when asked about their future, these girls know their own minds. These are the future mothers of the Church. Young women who are not afraid to say that the goal of all of their education and training is to equip them to pursue the highest calling of womanhood, the office of wife and mother.
The Cost of Motherhood
Once a lady went to visit her friend. During the visit the children of the friend entered the room and began to play with each other. As the lady and her friend visited, the lady turned to her friend and said eagerly and yet with evidently no thought of the meaning of her words: “Oh, I’d give my life to have such children.” The mother replied with a subdued earnestness whose quiet told of the depth of experience out of which her words came: “That’s exactly what it costs.”
There is a cost of motherhood. And the price is no small sum. And if you are not willing to pay this price, no amount of encouragement about the joys of motherhood will satisfy.
But the price of motherhood is not fundamentally different from the price of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. In fact, Christian mothers see their duty as mothers flowing from their calling to Jesus Christ. And what is this cost?
Christian motherhood means dedicating your entire life in service of others. It means standing beside your husband, following him, and investing in the lives of children whom you hope will both survive you and surpass you. It means forgoing present satisfaction for eternal rewards. It means investing in the lives of others who may never fully appreciate your sacrifice or comprehend the depth of your love. And it means doing all these things, not because you will receive the praise of man — for you will not — but because God made you to be a woman and a mother, and there is great contentment in that biblical calling.
In other words, Motherhood requires vision. It requires living by faith and not by sight.
These are some of the reasons why Motherhood is both the most biblically noble and the most socially unappreciated role to which a young woman can aspire. There are many people who ask the question: Does my life matter? But a mother that fears the Lord need never ask such a question. Upon her faithful obedience hinges the future of the church and the hope of the nation.
In 1950, the great Scottish American preacher Peter Marshall stood before the United States Senate and he explained it this way:
The modern challenge to motherhood is the eternal challenge — that of being a godly woman. The very phrase sounds strange in our ears. We never hear it now. We hear about every other kind of women — beautiful women, smart women, sophisticated women, career woman, talented women, divorced women, but so seldom do we hear of a godly woman — or of a godly man either, for that matter.
I believe women come nearer fulfilling their God-given function in the home than anywhere else. It is a much nobler thing to be a good wife than to be Miss America. It is a greater achievement to establish a Christian home than it is to produce a second-rate novel filled with filth. It is a far, far better thing in the realm of morals to be old-fashioned than to be ultramodern. The world has enough women who know how to hold their cocktails, who have lost all their illusions and their faith. The world has enough women who know how to be smart.
It needs women who are willing to be simple. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. The world has enough women who are popular. It needs more who are pure. We need women, and men, too, who would rather be morally right that socially correct
As we approach America’s national Mother’s Day celebration, lets remember that we are fighting for the Lord, and it is He who prioritizes motherhood and home as the highest calling and domain of womanhood “that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:5.
May the Lord fill our churches with faithful mothers.