Good morning! Today I am so very, very excited to share with you Part 1 of our interview with the lovely Elizabeth from Grace and Pieces of Wisdom! Elizabeth was one of the first people I met and had dinner with when I moved to the South after marrying the Norseman. Her husband and the Norseman are friends, and I am so thankful for that. She may not realize it, but she regularly challenges me to strive to be a better mama and a stronger Christian. She is funny, bold, sweet, and wise. I’ve broken her interview into two parts. The second half will run next Tuesday, and you won’t want to miss it! We pray that it is a blessing and encouragement to all of you.
Please introduce yourself. Tell us briefly about you -who you are, where you are from, your interests, and so forth.
My name is Elizabeth McGee. I grew up in Alabama and moved to Louisville, KY with my husband and son about a year ago. We are here so he can complete his M.Div. at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and while we’re here we’ve been involved in Sojourn Community Church (J-Town location).
As far as my interests are concerned, they have changed a lot since becoming a wife and mom (which happened in close succession). I enjoy coffee in moderation, taking small walks, trying new recipes, decorating/home-making, movies, writing, and generally pampering myself. I’ve always loved writing, as well, which is why I have my own blog, Grace & Pieces of Wisdom. Whether or not I do any of these things is really a question of how much leisure time my toddler gives me, but fortunately many of those things are compatible with regular responsibilities.
What does it mean to you, this concept of rejoicing in your motherhood?
When I think of rejoicing, I always think of Scriptures that mention “joy” or “rejoic[ing]” in contrast with present suffering, whether implied or specified (e.g. Philippians 4:4, 1 Peter 1:6, James 1:2). In my experience, motherhood is an enormous blessing. It is full of countless cuddles, tickles, giggles, and smiles. It provides gratification in every milestone of development and learning. But it is also very hard. Mothers experience sleep loss that is in a league of its own, often sacrifice basic self-care for the needs of their child, and are grieved every time their little one suffers, not to mention often-frustrating daily battles with a child born with a sin nature!
That is why JOY is so vital to a mom’s endurance in motherhood. JOY, the kind of joy that only Jesus can provide, is a buoy in life; it stays afloat in the still waters of easy days and rides the waves of hard days, but it never sinks. Joy is much more than “fake it til you make it” or seeing the glass half-full; it’s clinging to God’s promises in faith while fully experiencing smiles and tears. This is critical to faithful motherhood.
“Joy is much more than “fake it til you make it” or seeing the glass half-full; it’s clinging to God’s promises in faith while fully experiencing smiles and tears.” ~ Elizabeth McGee
What does your current season of motherhood look like?
Right now, motherhood is still a new concept for me. I have one child here, who turns 2 in May, and another child in heaven from a recent miscarriage. My son, Joseph, has grown a lot in independence; however, he is still in many respects a baby who needs/wants his mommy. Several months ago, he was still learning right from wrong, and now his struggle is learning to obey (go figure). Also, with his blossoming language skills also comes the responsibility of teaching him basic manners (e.g. please and thank you). These tasks are tedious and never-ending, but I believe we will yield results if we don’t give up! In the meantime, I can honestly get really frustrated with it all. I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to easier days.
How are you finding joy in this season? What are some ways that you want to practice rejoicing in this season of life? What ways do you already practice joy and gratitude?
Like I said earlier, I consider joy to be something deeper than superficial happiness, so my idea of joy isn’t necessarily smiley and giddy. (If that’s your natural disposition, please tell me your secret!) I also must confess that I do find joy to be elusive in this season. I mostly feel busy, and so on… but I will share some means of grace here that I still find helpful:
- First and foremost, have a secure salvation and active relationship with the Lord.
- Know, believe, and remember the promises of God found in the Bible.
- Share in prayer, mutual support, and openness with one’s husband.
- Enjoy your child. Pause the chores; put down the smartphone, and simply be with your kids sometimes. Sing them songs, and tell them you love them, and steal hugs and kisses while they squirm.
- Get plugged into community, especially with other Christian mamas who can impart wisdom and comfort. (And choose those friends wisely!)
Think about this quote from Gloria Furman, from Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: “Being a mother is wildly fun, yet because of eternity, it is a serious joy at the same time.” What are your takeaways?
What stands out about that statement to me is that “eternity” makes motherhood “serious.” My immediate thought is that the reason for this is that eternity, referring to life after death, can go two ways… a person can slip into eternity without Jesus and suffer forever, or a person can enter into eternity in the presence of Jesus and rejoice forever.
As a mother, I want to make it my ambition to do as much as possible to teach my child(ren) of God’s faithfulness and grace in response to our sin and foolishness, in the hopes that they may one day put their faith Jesus as their King and Rescuer. Although I have no control over their ultimate choice or how God may work in their lives, I still have a God-given responsibility to “train up [my] child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6a). And that is no light task.
Part 2 will continue next Tuesday. I realize that this post seems to end abruptly, but I don’t honestly know how to break an interview in two very well…So all I can say is, more is coming, and it is good!