Motherhood isn’t what I expected. Don’t get me wrong—I love being a mom. Motherhood is a joy and privilege I prayed and hoped for.
To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what I did expect. Possibly a newborn who would be lulled to sleep by rocking or singing. Maybe routine check-ups and overall good health. Probably some kind of “normal” childhood for my kids.
Instead, my first child was tongue-tied, struggled to gain weight, and cried a lot. Among my five children, there have been multiple diagnoses, including food allergies, celiac disease, hypoglycemia, and Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. Driving to specialist appointments certainly wasn’t part of the “normal” picture I’d envisioned.
My life and yours might look completely unlike the ones we imagined for ourselves or our families. But even when that’s the case, the Bible tells us what we can expect about God. His character remains the same, he keeps his promises, and we can trust him.
God’s Character Remains the Same
Sometimes our motherhood sorrows can feel so intense and God can feel so far away. We can wonder, does our heavenly Father even see our suffering? Is he still in control? If so, does he care about us? Is he really good?
When the Israelites struggled under the rule of Pharaoh in ancient Egypt, God saw and knew. He planned to rescue and redeem his people, and he chose to do so through an unlikely man named Moses, a runaway-turned-shepherd. During a dramatic encounter with the Lord, Moses posed a question: What if the people of Israel wanted to know God’s name (Ex. 3:13)? How should he answer? “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’” (Ex. 3:14).
Such a name draws attention to God’s attributes as self-existent and unchanging, as Creator and Sustainer of all. It’s no wonder the Pharisees wanted to throw stones at Jesus when he said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). These religious leaders knew that when Jesus referred to himself as “I am,” he identified himself as their God.
But how does God’s sameness comfort us when our plans are upended? It means that even if God feels far away, he hasn’t gone anywhere. Even when our lives feel out of control, our Lord remains sovereign and in control.
Though motherhood is hard and takes work, “the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end” (Lam. 3:22). Though “we are faithless, he remains faithful” (2 Tim. 2:13). When our circumstances seem anything but good, God is good all the time (Ex. 34:6).
God Keeps His Promises
As much as I want to be a promise-keeping mom, through my own failings as well as circumstances totally out of my hands, I don’t or can’t always follow through. But with God, it’s a different story.
We might think of God’s character and promises as two separate things, but it’s better to think of them together. That’s because what God says flows from who he is. He only speaks what is consistent with his character, and what he speaks carries the full weight and authority of his being.
Our Lord is a promise-keeping God. So when he says something, he does it. He doesn’t change his mind or say one thing and do something else (Num. 23:19).
Even when life is harder than we expect, we can expect God to keep his promises.
We Can Trust God in Motherhood
Before my children fall asleep, sometimes I sing, “’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word….”1 But how do we know we can trust the Lord—like really know it, for certain and for sure? Because God already kept his promises in Jesus. “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Cor. 1:20a).
The story of Scripture includes a tragic fall, suffering of all shades and colors, and unimaginable pain. But a thread of hope weaves through those same pages. God’s Word tells of his plan to rescue, redeem, and restore his people. To forgive, heal, and bring them home to be with him forever.
Christ’s death and resurrection make all this possible. In and through our Savior, God keeps all his promises. And if God gave his Son for us, how will he not do for us and be for us everything else he promises (Rom. 8:32)?
Because Jesus came as Immanuel—as God with us—we can trust him to keep his promise to be with us “always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). Because his grace was sufficient to save us, we can trust that his grace is sufficient to sustain us (2 Cor. 12:9). And though “our outer self is wasting away,” because of Christ, we can trust that even our afflictions are “preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:16–17).
A Soul-Anchor for Motherhood
Whether we face the unexpected sorrows of motherhood or something else entirely, these truths about God’s character and promises anchor our souls. They offer us “strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us” (Heb. 6:18).
What’s more, as we trust God in the unexpected, we can expect to get to know him better. The more we depend on him, the more we learn about his faithfulness. We experience his grace and mercy firsthand, and we understand that “good” isn’t defined by circumstances but by the One who is good.
And God is good all the time.
Meet the Author
Katie Faris is the author of God Is Still Good: Gospel Hope and Comfort for the Unexpected Sorrows of Motherhood (Crossway, 2023) and He Will Be Enough: How God Takes You by the Hand Through Your Hardest Days (The Good Book Company, 2022). A pastor’s wife and mother to five, Katie lives with her family in New Jersey. Connect with her on her blog, Facebook, or Instagram.