Reformation Reminders for Modern Moms

A little bit of Latin goes a long way. Sure, it’s a dead language—maybe conjuring up images of toga-clad Romans or a tweed-suited professor. Outside of a few common expressions (alibi, carpe diem, et cetera), we probably don’t reference it often in normal conversation. But a few “sempers” and “solas” sprinkled into our vocabulary can actually serve as beautiful reminders of biblical truths, truths for which men and women across the ages have been willing to endure rejection, persecution, and even death.

The Reformation, which launched over 500 years ago (on October 31), came to be marked by the motto of semper reformanda, which translates from Latin as “always reforming.” It captures the heart of what reformers like Martin Luther sought to convey: that the church should be continually reorienting itself—not to new, man-made philosophies or traditions, but back to the unchanging truth of Scripture.[1]

As these reformers lived semper reformanda, always deepening their understanding of God’s Word, their convictions were later summarized in five core statements that could be easily learned and memorized by adults and children alike. These were the five solas (and the connection to our English word, “solely,” helps imprint the meaning!). Against all the doctrines and customs up for debate during the Reformation age, the solas brought gospel recovery—a return to the truths our salvation hinges upon.

As busy moms in the 21st century, these simple Latin lines can help ground us and our children too, anchoring us to ancient Scripture as well as the spiritual ancestors throughout church history who sought to faithfully uphold it.

Sola Scriptura | Scripture Alone. The Bible stands as our ultimate authority, and God promises it’s sufficient to meet our needs and instruct us in wisdom and knowledge.[2] It is a living, convicting, effective Word.[3] When we’re tempted to put friends, Instagram, Google, or any other human voice ahead of God’s, sola Scriptura calls us back to the preeminence and power of the Bible in our lives. 

We can pray that God’s Spirit would continually use Scripture to illuminate our minds and hearts. We can show our kids its importance by prioritizing time in this life-changing, authoritative Word of God—reading, memorizing, teaching, and praying it regularly in our homes. And we can help our children filter their own questions and struggles through the lens of its pages, showing them how the Bible brings comfort, correction, and counsel to our everyday lives.

Sola Fide | Faith Alone. We are made righteous before God, not by our own obedience to the law, but solely by trusting Christ.[4] Old Testament saints looked forward in faith to the coming Messiah, and we now look backward, believing that what Jesus accomplished on the cross fully paid for our sins. In both cases, God justifies his people by faith. We don’t rest in our own performance as perfect Christians, perfect wives, or perfect moms, but in the Savior who alone was perfect for us. 

We can cry out for the faith to rest in Christ’s finished work alone. We can observe areas where we or our kids might be seeking approval or identity by our own deeds and redirect our hearts to the truth of Scripture. And we can pray fervently that God would also grant our children the gift of faith in their hearts, as an essential part of their own salvation.

Sola Gratia | Grace Alone. This salvation that we take hold of by faith comes freely as a gift of God’s grace.[5] Titus 3:7 tells us that this grace makes us right in God’s sight and gives us the confidence of eternal life. And God’s grace continues to work in us as believers, helping us resist sin and grow in righteousness.[6] Whenever we see subtle signs in our hearts of trying to earn, buy, or achieve a right standing with God by our own strength, sola gratia reminds us that grace is a gift, to be received gratefully.

When our mom-tank runs empty, we can wait on the Lord who longs to give us his grace.[7] We can submit our weariness, our limitations, and our inadequacies as moms and humbly receive his help and mercy instead. And we can model God’s grace in the face of our children’s sin, teaching them how to extend it to others as well. 

Solus Christus | Christ Alone. The grace that saves, through our faith, comes by the work of Christ Jesus. He identifies himself in John 14:6 as the way, the truth, and the life, stating that “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Acts 4:12 adds that “there is salvation in no one else.” He is a Savior without rival, bringing an exclusive and comprehensive salvation to his people. As he called the disciples to leave their fishing nets and follow him, he asks us to forsake our labors, our idols, our self-sufficiency—to drop it all and put our full confidence in him alone. 

As we study his Word, we can see how all of it, from beginning to end, points to the person and work of Christ. We can share with our children how figures like Abraham and Moses and David show us the need for a better priest, a better lawgiver, and a better king. We can train our own hearts, again and again, to behold this beautiful Savior and bring him our fullest devotion and praise.

Soli Deo Gloria | To the Glory of God Alone. The preceding solas—each examining different facets of the gospel story—together shine forth the glory of God like a radiant diamond. After spelling out all the intricacies and wonders of our salvation, Romans 11:36 spills over: “To him be glory forever. Amen.” All of creation displays God’s profound glory.[8] In making full atonement for sin, Christ is the apex, the pinnacle of this glory.[9] And we who believe in him are likewise “being transformed...from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). God was made glorious in the world’s formation, glorious in our re-creation, and glorious in heaven’s final consummation. We now forsake any cheap imitations of our own, personal “glory” in order to live wholly for the glory of God alone.

Worshiping the only rightful King, we now seek to maximize his glory in our everyday lives. We can make decisions, choose entertainment, disciple our children, and engage in the workplace from this central framework: what would honor and glorify God here? We can confess to him all the times we sinfully glorify self. And we can help our children see the myriad of ways in Scripture, in our lives, and in their own little worlds that God is orchestrating all things for his glorious end. 

In a world of ever-changing ideologies and endless opinions, these little Latin maxims can still instruct and inspire us today. May we become moms who are semper reformanda—always reforming, always expanding our knowledge of the gospel and bringing it to bear in our children, our homes, and our own hearts. And may these beautiful solas become what we live and die to, treasuring none other than Scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone, and Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. 


[2] Psalm 19:7; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

[3] Isaiah 55:11; Hebrews 4:12

[4] Romans 1:17; Galatians 2:16

[5] Ephesians 2:8-9

[6] Titus 2:11-12; 2 Peter 3:18

[7] Isaiah 30:18

[8] Psalm 19:1; Isaiah 6:3; Habakkuk 2:14

[9] Hebrews 1:3

Annie VanderHeiden serves as the Editor at Risen Motherhood and calls the beautiful PacificNorthwest home, proudly embracing drizzly weather, artisan coffee, and beach walks alongside her husband, baby daughter, and one shaggy goldendoodle. Connect with her on Instagram: @anniekvanderheiden.

Reformation Reminders for Modern Moms