“I just don’t know the best way to help him.” She held out her claw-marked arms. “He’s always so sad afterwards.” Her four-year-old’s tantrums had escalated to a place where she didn’t want to ask anyone for advice anymore. She didn’t want people to think less of her son, and she wasn’t sure anyone could really relate anyways. The experience was isolating. And defeating.
Perhaps it’s not tantrums for you, but if you’ve been a mother for more than an hour you’ve doubtless experienced that gut-wrenching panic summed up by the phrase, “I just don’t know what to do.” Society has told us that “Mother knows best” but so often we moms find ourselves feeling as if we don’t know much of anything. When confronted with our own lack of wisdom, shame wells up within us as we wonder what’s wrong with us or doubt that we are suited for the task to which we have been called. Most recently for me, my lack of know-how has been exposed in shepherding our two-year-old through a season of intense fear: Should I just stay home instead of leaving him with the sitter? Do we just lie with him each night until he falls asleep? Should we stick to a strict bedtime and make him stay in his bed? What’s the right way to handle it?
I’ve watched others walk through it as their children are diagnosed with special needs, or diseases like juvenile diabetes, or other medical or psychological complexities that require making decisions about therapy and care. Motherhood confronts us with our limitations like no other calling I have ever known. It feels as if she tosses us into unfamiliar water and demands we stay afloat with babes in arms when we barely know how to swim ourselves.
He Has Become Wisdom For Us
“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30 NIV)
I love this verse. It’s a relief to that water-treading mama, exhausted and overwhelmed by her own lack of knowledge, because it serves as a reminder that not as much depends solely on her as she feels. You see, we have to zoom out a bit from those current circumstances that have us feeling baffled and defeated to remember that our limitless God is incredibly aware of our own limitations. He designed us that way—wisely, I might add—lest we forget our need of him.
This verse reminds us of the gospel. Christ, the prince of heaven, took on flesh in the form of a helpless babe, in order to help us. We are not saved by our own wisdom, but by his mercy. The source of all wisdom, God himself, offered us his wisdom in his Son—making us wise to salvation, giving us a much-undeserved opportunity to have eternal life. There is no room for shame over inability to do it well or do it ourselves when we behold what he has done for us. It is cause for great rejoicing. And the same source that makes us wise to salvation also equips us for every good work to which he calls us, including the good work of motherhood.
He Promises Us Wisdom
If we could not obtain wisdom for salvation on our own, why should we depend on our own wisdom for daily living? Rather than cowering in shame or defeat when the needs of our children exceed our know-how, we must look up to the Source of all wisdom, knowing that he who did not spare his own Son, will “also with him graciously give us all things” (Rom. 8:32). James reassures us of the way God responds to our petition for wisdom, reminding us that he is one “who gives generously to all without reproach,” and assuring us that wisdom will be given to us when we ask (James 1:5).
In the garden, the serpent’s deceitful question about this generous and wise character of God led Eve to lay hold of knowledge for herself rather than trusting the words of the Source of all wisdom. Similarly, when we find ourselves longing for better understanding, he tempts us to turn elsewhere or to turn inward in shame. We don’t like to feel limited. But humility is the gateway to wisdom, driving us to our Father who delights to give us the understanding we need to accomplish the tasks to which he calls us.
Should you doubt that, peer into the manger, where he generously offered us Christ Jesus. Remember the curtain that tore, giving us access to the Father through the death and resurrection of his only Son so that we could ask of him! And in those moments where the answer isn’t made clear by his Word and you find yourself paralyzed by fear, remember the freedom that has been provided you by the gospel to walk forth in confidence by the power of the Holy Spirit, trusting your Father to guide your feet.
Christ fulfills our longing for wisdom and understanding. He took on flesh to live a perfect life, making perfect choices out of his perfect understanding so we wouldn’t have to live under the weight of trusting our own knowledge to rescue us or our children. By his death and resurrection, he purchased our salvation and gave us access to the Father so that we can not only ask for but receive wisdom from this generous God who did not withhold his own Son.
Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:2–3), makes us wise unto salvation and equips us for every service to which we are called (2 Peter 1:2–3).
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION/ APPLICATION:
How have you experienced your own lack of wisdom and understanding in motherhood?
What is your typical reaction to situations that expose your limited understanding? How are you tempted to run to other sources of wisdom or turn inward in shame?
Do you believe that God will supply wisdom when you ask? How does the verse from Romans 8:32 about God not withholding Christ (wisdom made manifest) offer encouragement here?
What does it mean that “humility is the gateway to wisdom”? What would it look like in your next exposing moment of motherhood to take this posture of humility? How does the coming of Christ make that possible?
Abbey Wedgeworth is a wife to David mother to two boys, and nap-time writer living in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. She is passionate about helping young moms apply the riches of Christ to the realities of motherhood. You can find more of her writing on her blog or connect with her through Instagram.