I have recently been reading the biography of Amy Carmichael. As she began to realize the plight of some of the Indian children, and God began to send them to her, she struggled with “giving up” the ministry she felt God had already given her. Could it truly be the will of God for her to raise these children? Would it not take time away from other important things? She wrote,
“He took a towel. The Lord of Glory did that. Is it the bondservant’s business to say which work is large and which is small, which unimportant and which worth doing? Children tie the mother’s feet, the Tamils say, and …. Paget said, ‘with the venture of faith there is need of self-discipline and effort.’ Babies are truly a venture of faith and, in India at least, they tie the mother’s feet. We knew we could not be too careful of our children’s earliest years. So we let our feet be tied for love of Him whose feet were pierced (from Gold Cord, by Amy Carmichael).
As mothers, it is often tempting to feel that the work of mothering is unimportant; or worse yet, Satan may whisper to us that the duties of motherhood hinder us from doing something “more important” for God. Our children do “tie us down”, but rather than viewing that as a bondage of some sort, we should view it as a beautiful and awesome privilege.
Spurgeon said this, “O dear mothers, you have a very sacred trust reposed in you by God! He hath in effect said to you, “Take this child and nurse it for Me, and I will give thee thy wages.” You are called to equip the future man of God, that he may be thoroughly furnished unto every good work. If God spares you, you may live to hear that pretty boy speak to thousands, and you will have the sweet reflection in your heart that the quiet teachings of the nursery led the man to love his God and serve Him.
Those who think that a woman detained at home by her little family is doing nothing, think the reverse of what is true. Scarcely can the godly mother quit her home for a place of worship; but dream not that she is lost to the work of the church; far from it, she is doing the best possible service for her Lord.
Mothers, the godly training of your offspring is your first and most pressing duty. Christian women, by teaching children the Holy Scriptures, are as much fulfilling their part for the Lord, as Moses in judging Israel, or Solomon in building the temple.”
I will close with one of my favorite poems by Edgar Guest,
“They tie you down,” a woman said,
Whose cheeks should have been flaming red
With shame to speak of children so.
“When babies come you cannot go
In search of pleasure with your friends,
And all your happy wandering ends.
The things you like you cannot do,
For babies make a slave of you.”
I looked at her and said: “‘Tis true
That children make a slave of you,
And tie you down with many a knot,
But have you never thought to what
It is of happiness and pride
That little babies have you tied?
Do you not miss the greater joys
That come with little girls and boys?
“They tie you down to laughter rare,
To hours of smiles and hours of care,
To nights of watching and to fears;
Sometimes they tie you down to tears
And then repay you with a smile,
And make your trouble all worth while.
They tie you fast to chubby feet,
And cheeks of pink and kisses sweet.
“They fasten you with cords of love
To God divine, who reigns above.
They tie you, whereso’er you roam,
Unto the little place called home;
And over sea or railroad track
They tug at you to bring you back.
The happiest people in the town
Are those the babies have tied down.
“Oh, go your selfish way and free,
But hampered I would rather be,
Yes rather than a kingly crown
I would be, what you term, tied down;
Tied down to dancing eyes and charms,
Held fast by chubby, dimpled arms,
The fettered slave of girl and boy,
And win from them earth’s finest joy.”
Mothers, let us stop and be grateful for the precious little treasures that tie us down today. Let us willingly, joyfully, prayerfully invest in them. They are one of the few things we can take to heaven with us.