My daughter was only two weeks old when the Paris attacks happened. One of the few complete memories that I have from that time involved reading through a live feed of updates while my newborn slept peacefully beside me. All I could think was, “This is the world I have to raise my child in?” I’ve since learned that how to hold onto a mother’s faith during dark days.
The Mother’s Faith During Dark Days
Where this Faith Comes From
I’ve shared before that the growth of faith is like a plant in the way that a plant isn’t visible above ground one day but is there the next. While I can’t explain the growth of faith, I do know where it comes from. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes the Gospel. The Gospel allows us to have a relationship with God. Faith comes from God.
As mothers, we need to remember that the source of faith is also the source of our peace. When dark days visit, as they frequently do, it’s tempting to take our eyes off of Christ. When we do this, we give our enemies an opening to attack. Peter could tell you that the change from faith to doubt is as quick as flipping a light-switch from on to off.
A Flickering Light
Of course, it’s not always enough to remember the source of our faith when we go through a hard spell. Even while our brain and all of our Christian friends are preaching, “Just have faith,” we’ll still experience doubts. Sometimes, we may even feel like we can’t go on. Moms, that’s okay.
We talk about how bright a single candle is against the darkness, but we rarely admit that the power of sin in this broken creation is strong. Even a candle reacts by flickering when air blows against it. So when you have a moment of doubt, don’t allow guilt to further drag you down in chains. Instead, learn to move forward despite doubts and remind yourself that genuine faith cannot be so easily lost.
Mothering in the Darkness
A Hard Lesson to Understand
A lesson that I quickly had to come to terms with during the Paris Attacks was this:
It’s not a mother’s job to protect her child from evil; it’s a mother’s job to equip a child to be a light in the darkness.
I wish I could perfectly shield my daughter from the dark things of this world, but that’s not what God has called me to do. Instead, I have to teach my daughter to first how to have a relationship with God, and then how to share that relationship with others. To shield her from evil would also prevent her the chance to develop empathy, mercy, and a reliance on God to guide her footsteps.
It’s a hard lesson to come to terms with. Most mothers want to protect and preserve the innocence of their children. It breaks our hearts to see our children hurt. It’s natural to want to protect them, and there’s nothing wrong with that desire. The problem comes when we forget our role as Christians in the world.
We’re called to serve others, to minister to them, and to share the hope that is within us. We also hope that our children inherit our faith, which means that we have to train them to do those very same things. As much as it hurts to think about, I know the time will come when my daughter has to deal with the darkness in this world, too. That’s why I’m choosing to embrace this lesson in my own life now so that we’re both prepared.
What Can a Mother Do?
That leaves the question, “What can a mother truly do against the darkness or to train her children?”
Fortunately, the Bible makes that clear all throughout its pages. When darkness strikes – whether personally or through tragedy – we can:
- Show the love of Christ
- Continue to put others first
- Give mercy and grace when the world demands vengeance
- Humbly pray
- Treat others with respect
- Have faith that God has a plan
It doesn’t feel like a lot when you write it out like that, but it’s also very difficult to do all of those things well. However, in this dark world, it’s what is necessary to continue shining the bright light of hope.
By doing these things, we can be an example for our children. Mothering through the darkness is a faith-led style of motherhood. Out of faith, we continue to take the small steps down the path that God has laid out for us. Sometimes all those small steps require is that we hold onto our faith.