As a teacher of language and culture, I think often about how the culture we live in makes us who we are, teaches us what is important, and how that is reflected in our lives through word and action. I don’t think anyone would disagree that our 21st century culture values self-advancement, independence and asserting one’s personal rights. Me, me, me.

However, in scripture I am always struck by how the life of Christ-followers is counter-cultural in every possible way. Instead of pushing my own agenda, I’m called to “honor one another above” myself (Romans 12:10). Rather than looking to my own interests, Paul tells us: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). 

More than anything, becoming a mom has forever changed the way I see myself. Since the day my first child was born, not a day has gone by that I do not think about my daughters and pray for them. I willfully and gladly put aside my agenda to put their needs first.

I sacrificed, yes: time, money, and many gray hairs (!!!), but it was (usually) without hesitation and out of sincere and deep love for them. Were there times when I was weary? Yup. Did I ever lose my temper and say things I regretted? Umm, yeah. Was I the perfect mom? Heck, no. But when I put them to bed at night, and when they would say, “I love you, mom,” I would always respond, “I love you more.” And I do. And I always will. It was, is and will always be a conscious decision to love with a sacrificial, servant-hearted love.  

I believe God has used motherhood to speak loudly into my life about how to love sacrificially; He has shown me what it looks like to be a servant – not out of duty or fear or obligation – but out of sheer love. We are HIS children, after all. He loves us with a sacrificial love that is beyond our human comprehension. But we can understand a glimpse of it when we choose to love with a servant heart. That love was modeled to me by my mom, and I hope that I have, in a sincere though imperfect way, modeled it to my daughters. 

I’m so grateful that they still tell me they love me. And I still – and always will – respond, “Love you more.”

– Kristin McDonald