Heart Identity Matters

Opening an old journal I read,

“I really wanted to go to the meetings this morning, but here I am in our apartment being a mother. Mothering doesn’t stop. Children’s needs don’t stop. Sick kids can’t be delegated. So once again I’m isolated and he, my husband, is not.”

My words sprawled over the pages, laced with emotion, with loss as a result of my children’s needs.

Even as I reread them—my children all parents themselves now—I could feel the constant on-call responsibility, smell the diaper pail, remember the stress from drinks spilled, kid squabbles, childish messes. Our six, between the ages of six months and ten years old the summer I wrote those words, sent me to the brink of exhaustion …daily.

But there in the journal, I also found a prayer I wrote that same day. My heart was pleading, meet me here God, care for me as I care for my children.

Father, I pray you will teach me more about my identity and my call as a mom. Teach me too the value of that call because so much of my work is inside these walls—unseen and immeasurable.

Watching Eyes

On New Year’s Day this year I read Jesus’ words about our Father who sees in secret. His words, “beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them;” (Matthew 6:1) shouted at me that day. I needed that reminder. That centering, grounding me to what matters.

The scrolling urge of Insta, Facebook, Twitter scream: Be seen. Be photogenic. Be appreciated.

Instead, the Spirit my Friend whispers, Your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

That unsettling, chaotic day decades ago sent me to His throne to ask, beg for Him to confirm purpose for me in my days void of accolades, measurable value or even seemingly simple household accomplishments.

I needed to hear Him say, You matter! Even though no one else sees what you do.

I did not hear an audible voice giving me the affirmation I longed for, but the knowledge that I was giving my children the love and security and stability that no one else could give was enough to keep me going.

Instant Connections

Texts have been plentiful in the last two months as my youngest is adjusting to first time motherhood. This morning her newborn spit up all over her shirt and it ran down her chest into her bra. Children will never know or appreciate the sacrifice and love of a mother until they become one. More than once Laura has said, “I don’t know how you did this six times.”

Repeatedly I’ve texted her: I remember… I understand… You are doing a great job.

To all of you moms who are losing sleep, staying home with sick kids, giving the best years of your life to your children wondering if you will ever have time to yourself again hear me say,

YOU MATTER!

Believe God sees and is taking account of your labors of love. Believe my word of encouragement and belief that your investment in your kids, even though you are unseen and have no great following, is more important that likes.

“And Your Father who sees in secret will repay you!”

Count on it. It’s a promise from the One who cannot lie.

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27 thoughts on “Heart Identity Matters”

  1. Thank you Barbara for ministering in your transparency and brokenness. The Lord used this article to encourage me so much – to keep pressing onward in this motherhood endeavor and not look to the right or left, but to keep my eyes fixed on His face. There are so many pulls, but He continally shows me that keeping my time freed up (as much as possible) and continually being available to my husband and children is good and right, and my calling and ministry. It so hard because it is unseen to the outside world and many think it’s futile because of that. Infact my family asks me often ‘when will I be doing something more noble in the workforce.’ Your articles on motherhood are literally the Lord’s whispers of affirmation in my ears. Thank you!

    1. Barbara Rainey

      Dear Jamie,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m truly proud of you for making your husband and children the main priority in your life. Marriage and motherhood are ministries of profound importance. The Lord sees and is pleased. Keep going!!!
      Barbara

  2. Thank you for sharing this! Crying right now because i really need encouragement, living a life with my 3 beautiful kids, 10 years old, 2 years old and 8months old.

  3. I so needed this right now. I have 4 kids ranging from 3 months to 7. Thank you for your heart for mothers and your encouragement. May God continue to bless your ministry. ❤️

  4. Adriana (Brazil)

    Wonderful words to read tonight as I just got into a fight with my husband because I feel he does not appreciate all that I do and gives no help at all with our daughter,while I am expecting a second child.
    At this point I just realized that I am desiring recognition from the wrong person.
    I am to seek for God’s approval and for his recognition and appreciation!
    Thank you for the encouraging words and, if you can, write a little about how you kept your mind from resentment at your husband when you felt as I feel today.

    1. Yes, I would love to read some direction and verses on not resenting my husband during these days too. Such a great read and reminder. Thank you!

  5. needed this today as i prepared to sit down and start working….then my 4 month old wakes up…learning to treat each moment as if it’s my last

  6. I don’t have enough words to say how incredibly timely God brought this beautiful messsge to me. My children are not babies, but here I am at nearly 3am having just got my daughter to sleep. This message contained a phrase I just used an hour ago. God is amazing. This is the second, no the third miracle He gave us this evening. Thank you for serving Him.

  7. What a wonderful encouraging word, to a Mom. I am forever greatful for my Mom and all she does for me and my siblings, her strength is immeasurable and her warmth is desirable. Now that I am a mother myself, I now see the reason behind her actions and cherish all the love and support she has given me. Thank you Barbara for reminding me that I too matter, in this fast paced time, mothers often forget themselves because of the efforts we put to our families.
    Your blog and encouraging words speak to my heart. Thank you once more.

  8. Dear Barbara,
    Bless you as a Mother and a Christian woman. My own Mother spoke those same encouraging words to me so many years ago. I can still feel that baby spit up going down under my top. Now that my children are in their mid 20’s and early 30’s I have learned to Praise God for all the little and big things, keeping the bigger picture in mind. Bless all you loving and lovely mother’s taking care of your treasured gifts from God!

  9. Being a mother to young children is exhausting physically for sure! In those days I always took comfort in their sweet smiles, very loving hugs, adoring look in their eyes and that they wanted and needed me (again, more cuddles and hugs). Today they are 20 and 18. I get very little of any of that these days. So I’m trusting and hoping that when they are married and have their own children they will realize how much I loved and still love them. And if that doesn’t happen…then I will keep trusting God, Who saw and Who is still seeing me will reward me lavishly with HIS love!

  10. Super helpful and encouraging to me as a mom with school aged kids. My ongoing struggle is the feeling that I’m not enough. Realigning my thinking with God and His ways is necessary. Thanks for sharing and for reminding us of God’s priorities which should be our priorities. God bless!!

  11. What a breath of fresh air! I remember when the children were little and I felt stretched to the breaking point. I would read speeches from history; like Teddy Roosevelt’s “The importance of mothers”. These things along with prayer and God’s Word kept me going during those times. Like you I asked God at why He had made me the way He had if I were not using it. I left medical school and my plans to become a Doctor after all those years I had worked so hard to get in to the program, to be a wife and Mother. I knew God called me to this, but it was hard remembering that when finances were tight or non-existent, when sleep was a foreign word, when several babies were sticking their fingers and toes under the bathroom door for the one minute I got to be alone, meanwhile other woman are going to the gym four hours a day to keep their youthful figure, asking ‘so what do you do’?

    But now, as I look back over the years, and especially today I am immensely thankful for God’s plan. Our three older girls are home from college for the weekend. I got to help one daughter with her algebra homework, and watched her despair go to hope as we worked the problems together. The other daughters and friends were struggling with their nursing coursework, and as we reviewed Anatomy for a test, giggling and working hard, I felt such joy that God had given me a way to use my gifts of teaching and helping to guide them on their journey. His ways are so much higher than ours, His thoughts above ours. Thank you for the reminder. I am grateful I found this blog. 25 years ago I was grateful beyond words that God led us to our first marriage weekend, and then to the small group where we heard that ‘your mate is not your enemy’ but a gift from God to be received as from His hand. How good and faithful is God to lead in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

  12. Thank you so much. This is a struggling home schooling mom. I needed to hear it again. I am going to photocopy this encouraging words and read it often.

    God Bless you ministry,
    Irine.

  13. Thank you for taking the time to write such comforting and insightful words. You have such a beautiful gift for giving encouragment and infusing spirituality in each word. You motivate others without being critical to be a better followers of Christ, better mothers and better wives. This post rings true for so many women; especially with small children. Accepting that this is what God called us to do – be mothers seems like comment sense but is often forgotten. Remembering that being a mother IS ENOUGH.

    Thanks Barbara your are an angel.

    Kari

  14. You might be good at art, but I think you have the wonderful gift of encouragement, Barbara. Another string to your many talented bow!

  15. Thank you for all your encouraging words! They reach deep into my soul!! I love the line “My interest are all shelved.” That line rings so true to this mother’s heart.

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