The Motherhood Vow

by Rachael Elmore, MA, LCMHC-S, NCC May 9, 2023
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)

As a mom, I feel like I’m always getting it wrong.

I used a laundry detergent that gave my kid a rash. I paid my kids for their good grades. I give them too many chores. I enroll them in too many sports and not enough extracurriculars. I work too much. I yell too much. I should be doing so much more. The list goes on.

And in these moments, I feel defeated.

I’ve spent the last decade trying to understand how to be a good mother. But I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it was only recently that I asked God for His opinion on the matter.

His answer was really simple and surprising: 1 Corinthians 13.

Come again, God? Seriously, the wedding passage?

But when I revisited this passage that's so commonly applied to marriages, He said, Look again. So I broke down 1 Corinthians 13, thinking of the love between a mother and her child rather than man and wife.

Mothers should be patient.
Mothers should be kind.
Mothers should not harbor envy.
Mothers should not boast.
Mothers should not be proud.
Mothers should not dishonor others.
Mothers should not be self-seeking.
Mothers should not be easily angered.
Mothers should keep no records of wrongs.
Mothers should not delight in evil but rejoice in the truth.
Mothers should protect, trust, hope and persevere.
Mothers should never fail.

I spent time meditating on these words, studying their context and meaning. I was doing well with the “shoulds” until I got to “Mothers should never fail.” Everything in me wanted to reject that.

In our humanity, we are absolutely promised that we will fail. I have failed. Even the best mothers will fail. First Corinthians 13:4-8 is written to explain God’s perfect love for us — the love that never fails. While we are called to model God's love toward other people, we will not be perfect. We will all fall short sometimes.

But when we fail, we can have so much hope. God’s perfect grace is the foundation that keeps us standing firm as mothers.

So, my friend, you will discipline your kids when you should have shown grace. You will have mercy when you should have disciplined. You will feed them food that upsets their tummies. You will send them to the wrong school. You will stay silent when you should have spoken up. You will get frustrated with your children more times than you can count.

But God’s Word says “love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8a). What if we made a vow to Him never to stop trying, no matter what “mom mess-up” makes us feel like we’re failing? Below is a vow I’ve made based on 1 Corinthians 13, and I hope it inspires you to do the same.

The Motherhood Vow:
God, I, [your name], take [your child’s name] as my son/daughter. I promise to learn to be patient, kind and slow to anger. I promise to work not to be jealous, proud or self-seeking. I will work to bring honor to my family. I will not keep a record of my child’s wrongdoings. I will seek to delight in the truth. I promise You I will do everything I can to protect him/her. God, I know I will fail my child. But when I want to give up or give in, I promise I won’t. I promise to persevere to be the mom that You want me to be.

Will you pray with me?

God, help me to be relentless in my quest to follow You. I pray my mistakes would lead me to lean into Your forgiveness and grace. When I feel defeated, remind me of Your promises. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Rachael Elmore understands the challenges of new motherhood and is here to help. In her brand-new book, A Mom Is Born — which releases today! — she provides readers with practical tools and biblical wisdom to help them manage postpartum depression and anxiety, process emotions, and start implementing small acts of self-care. Get the help and support you need to navigate this difficult time of your life.



Connect with Rachael Elmore on Instagram, Facebook or TikTok or on her website, where you can download Rachael’s free “21 Day Challenge: Three-Minute Self-Care” to become emotionally healthy and deepen your faith.


2 Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (NIV).

What’s one mistake in motherhood you need to face? How can 1 Corinthians 13 become your score card of what a good mother looks like? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

© 2023 by Rachael Elmore. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Thomas Nelson Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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