Motherhood is an absolutely precious gift. It’s a pure privilege. A divine honour. I truly believe motherhood can be an offering we make make to the Lord. Motherhood is also a very deep and personal journey for every woman who experiences it. Whether it’s by natural birth, adoption or mothering others spiritually and emotionally, the unique relationships of nurturing others as mothers is a profoundly rich and sometimes challenging journey.

One of the hardest battlefields of Motherhood can be "comparison." I was reflecting one day on the dynamics that surround many women when they are building a family. Some come from healthy childhoods and have dreamed of the moment forever; some sadly have an abusive past and enter motherhood with anxiety; some find themselves becoming mothers before they had time to consider the impact it would have on their own life; some women lost their own mothers before they became mothers themselves and find the journey one of survival; others feel born for the role since they were young girls and adapt naturally; others have no natural ‘instinct’ and search for people to look to; some are living with the devastation of losing babies, some are learning to be step-mothers when they never planned to….the journey is as unique as each individual.

As I reflected on how different everyone’s journeys are I saw a picture of two scenes. One was a beautifully prepared and exquisite manicured garden. It was full of every kind of flower you could imagine, exceptionally arranged, a rainbow of colour for miles, all perfectly positioned and in full bloom. The manicured garden was tenderly and meticulously tended to and looked outstanding. The second picture was of a rainforest, raw, wild, free, lush and overgrown. The rainforest was mesmerising in its wild nature, overgrown and beautifully lush in pockets, captivating in its wild beauty with endless plant species to discover and find. The rainforest was magnetically unruly in nature, and yet attractively rugged.

I began to think about how much I’m personally drawn to the rawness and wildness of creation, its the "freedom" of the wild and rugged rainforest that captures my attention. I literally find the rainforest breath-taking! I instantly began to think of why manicured gardens have so much less value, they require so much time and effort, their beauty is structured and their layout is planned. Why did I instantly begin to compare? The truth is, different people find beauty in different things. The manicured garden is no less beautiful or exquisite than the rainforest, it’s a matter of personal attraction and interest, not value. What makes the two pictures unique is the beauty in their differences.

Motherhood can be like this. We can see the way someone else raises their children or makes family choices and begin to believe we have a place to think our way is ‘better’? Building communities and families that celebrate one another means recognising that we all individually journey through motherhood the best we know how. We can actually learn from each other by choosing vulnerability instead of comparison. I’ll choose the wild, raw, free approach everyday, but I can certainly learn a lot from the structured, planned & thought out way too… neither is more valuable than the other, they both have unique qualities that are worth valuing. God desires that we love one another in ALL things. Loving and encouraging one another as mothers, and celebrating our different approaches and experiences of motherhood I believe honours God.

Motherhood is also not a competition to see who has the cleverest kids, the cleanest house or the healthiest dinners. Motherhood is your personal journey with your unique children, to nurture and love the ones God has put in your hands. A gift to be cherished – not compared. When the competition doesn’t exist, you know you’ve found a community/culture where the Kingdom of God does. If you’re surrounded by competitive parents (which is sometimes the case), create a new culture by celebrating others instead of comparing. Be the change. The world is full of striving to ‘be’ and compare. Be different. Cherish your own motherhood journey without comparison and watch people be drawn to the ways of the Kingdom.

Mandy Furlong

Residing in Queensland, Mandy Furlong is a passionate advocate for building families that are thriving, and creating legacies for the kingdom of God for generations to come. A wife, mother to 5 incredible children, primary teacher, homeschooler & ordained pastor, Mandy lives to see people understand the power and gift of relationships and community. For more encouragement follow @raisingrevivalists.

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