| |

Finding Contentment in Motherhood

Contentment is often associated with those who are single, but mothers should also seek the end goal of contentment and joy in Christ in their journey through motherhood.

When I was a child, I thought that motherhood was going to be like being Mary Poppins – that I would spend delight-filled hours playing with my children and going on outings. I was blissfully unaware of the reality that Mary Poppins was actually a nanny, not a wife or mother, who had no responsibilities to cook or clean or maintain a relationship with a husband as well as the children.

Woman with dark curly hair pushing a little girl with dark curly hair on a green swing

In my naiveté, I also thought of marriage as “happily ever after”. The fairy tales all end there at “happily ever after” as this level of achievement where nothing could ever go wrong again – with no regard to the fact that two sinners have just married each other and that God has a perfect plan of refinement through trials and suffering for each of his children.

First Lessons in Contentment

It was when I was single that I began to learn contentment. You see, I thought I was going to get married young, for all I wanted growing up was to be a wife and mother. But that didn’t happen. 

I often heard when I was struggling with my desire to be married, “If you are content in Christ, then God might bring you a husband.” But the problem was that I tried to be content, so He would bring me a husband.

There came a point when I realized that I wasn’t believing that Christ was truly all I need. I finally had to accept that I might not get married and that Christ was enough. I had to be content in Christ, not so God would bring me a husband, but regardless of whether He did or not.

As I sought to find my joy in Christ alone, I took as my theme verse: “Delight yourself in the Lord, for He is the desire of your heart.” Okay so that’s my own translation of “and He will give you the desire of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) I learned I must be content in Christ – He must be my joy alone – for no man can fill me.

Contentment as a Lifelong Lesson

I did finally get married when I was almost 33.

Once I got married, I saw that contentment was actually going to be a lifelong lesson – it is not just for the single. Indeed, it is the crux of all of our faith. Is Christ really enough?

“Great, I got married to my best friend. Now I wish we could buy a house. Now this house is too big and I feel overwhelmed in taking care of it. Now I want a baby. Wow, this is a lot of work having a baby, and I wish I could get some sleep.” Those are some of the struggles I’ve had with contentment.

Other questions I might have asked:

  • Is Christ enough when my husband loses a job?
  • Is Christ enough when I can’t get pregnant or I have a miscarriage?
  • Is Christ enough when I had to have a C-section instead of giving birth naturally or I can’t breastfeed?
  • Is Christ enough when my child has a learning disability or health issue?
  • Is Christ enough through all the seasons and changes of my children’s growth and my role as a mother?

Philippians, the book of contentment

Paul’s letter to the Philippians has a lot to say about contentment.

Philippians 4:11-13 says, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Paul culminates his book with this passage on contentment and doing everything through Christ who gives us strength.

What is contentment?

Is contentment merely sitting here and saying everything is okay and going to be okay?

Paul defines contentment and its elements throughout Philippians.

Paul talks about the longing to see others grow in Christ and the desire to see the gospel preached in chapter 1. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) Living for Christ is contentment.

Paul emphasizes humility and doing all things without complaining in chapter 2; these make up contentment.

In chapter 3, we read, “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him… I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me… I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:8-14)

Then in chapter 4, Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things…And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:4-9)

So in Philippians we see that Paul has a longing for the gospel of Christ to go forward and a longing for Christ Himself.

This is contentment:

  • pressing on in our relationships with Christ despite our worldly circumstances…
  • knowing that we need not be anxious but joyful…
  • knowing that we have peace in Christ…
  • and we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.

In his wonderful book The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs defines contentment as: “that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.”

And contentment must be learned – notice Paul says twice that he has learned to be content.

Woman or homeschool mom standing in orange flowers with smile of relief and relaxation as she is a thriving homeschool mom.

Are you ready to learn simple home systems and develop the perspective that will take you from survival mode to thriving in just four weeks?


Why is it that I can learn to be content?


  • I have everything I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-12)
  • God is my portion (Psalm 16)
  • God has said, “Never will I leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5)
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:11-13)
  • I have “a right to the covenant and promise, which contain everything and an interest in Christ, the fountain and good of all”
  • my citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20)
  • I have an eternal inheritance of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3-12)
  • I have new birth into a living hope – I am a new creation! (1 Peter 1:3, 2 Cor. 5:17)
  • God disciplines those He loves to refine our faith and make us holy (Heb. 12, 1 Peter 1:3-12, 2 Cor. 4:16-18)

In summary, contentment comes from joy in Christ, and only in delighting or rejoicing in Christ can we learn contentment! We must be content in Christ and He must be our joy alone. Then, when circumstances are not so happy, we still have real joy.

As Westminster Shorter Catechism #1 says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

We won’t find true joy and contentment in another person or things of the world or our role as a mother but in Christ alone. If we are not pursuing Christ as our joy, we also will not be content in our marriages or motherhood, but if we are content in Christ and if our chief end is Christ, then our marriages and being a mother will be blessed and full of joy (but not always happy).

Motherhood is definitely not like being Mary Poppins nor is it a static place of happily ever after. There are difficulties, sorrows, stretching and growth, and if our focus is Christ, there is joy even in the unhappy times. We will be tested in our contentment at each stage of our motherhood (and lives!), but we can learn contentment and find all our joy in Christ.

“I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

Image of a smiling woman with blond hair holding a happy face balloon with a shape overlaid and the words Finding Contentment in Motherhood

More articles from Jus’ Classical:

Do you want your children to have a music education but you’re not sure where to start?

Now you CAN help your child learn about classical music and great composers without hours of planning, even if your only experience with music is playing the radio!

INTRODUCING The Composer Detective: Helping homeschool moms and kids investigate the lives and music of some of the world’s great orchestral composers!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply