My daughter totes her baby doll and pushes her in the stroller. I push my own stroller and wonder what dreams to give her for her future days as a mommy. I want to promise hopes and dreams for marriage and lots of babies from her womb one day, but I hesitate.
I wait to promise these as I think of my friends-how so many of Christ’s most faithful are currently living a season of singleness or barrenness, yet finding days full of single mindedness and spiritual fruitfulness. I wait because I have to believe that Paul wasn’t lying or wishing for a second-rate life when he longed for us to be as he was.
But what do I do with all this longing to be a mother? Why would God make my little girl love babies and yet reserve the power to close her womb or keep her single?
I can see why Naomi changed her name when she headed back to Judah. She was no longer escorted by the strong arm of her husband and though she’d held her babies years ago, there were no sons to hold her hands as she walked the long road home. She was single and essentially barren and she decided that God had only given her bitterness to swallow.
I can see why Mother’s Day is a bitter day for some. I fear that it could become such for me and my daughters in the years ahead. For if this is only a celebration for those who physically bear children, those who feed their physical tummies and clothe their physical bodies, then only some of us are invited to the celebration. But is mothering just a physical exercise?
God gave me an amazing mother. In so many ways, she was not just a physical mother but a spiritual mother as well.
But God went far beyond granting me one mother. Through Christ, He’s given me so many more-women who, through the years, have walked and talked and cooked and helped and mothered me toward Jesus. I think of Linda and Becky and Laura, of Judy and Kandy and now of Joyce. These women, some married and some not, some with children of their own and some not, all these women have been a mother to me in the truest sense of the relationship. And I’m certainly not the only daughter that they’ve mothered-they are the women of whom Christ spoke when He promised that those who follow Him will have arms full of children-children not only in this life but in the long life to come.
When Christ turned the world upside down, when He became a baby and created His own family, He made mothering possible for all of His sisters.
“Sing, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband,”
says the LORD. Isaiah 54:1
And this is the promise that gives me hope for my daughters. This is the promise that makes me a brave mama in the face of the fear that God might take my children before He takes me. This is the promise that makes it possible for me to celebrate Mother’s Day for my friends who’ve never carried a baby in their womb. This is the promise that can turn bitter disappointment into a sweet hope.
For those in Christ, Mother’s Day is not just a celebration of those who’ve nurtured and cared for us as physical beings. It’s a day to celebrate the women who’ve fed our souls and held our hands on this narrow road.
Mother’s Day is a day for all of God’s daughters-to celebrate the promise of fruitfulness in life-that all of us can be mothered and all of us can be a mother. And we all, through grace, can be both Ruth and Naomi. Even those of us without a Godly physical mother can be given a Naomi. And all of us with or without physical children from our womb can celebrate motherhood with Naomi-and find our arms full of Christ’s grace.
Naomi’s friends surrounded her and celebrated Ruth-a daughter, through God alone, who was a greater gift to her than SEVEN SONS. So this week, let’s celebrate our physical mothers, but yet give even greater thanks to God for those who’ve mothered us for eternity. Let’s become those mothers-mothers that give life spiritually through Christ.
This is a re-post from Mother’s Day last year as we make cards to say ‘thank you’ to those who’ve mothered us in numerous ways this year.
Today, we can carry the children of Bhutan with us in prayer. My heart aches for this country-so difficult for missionaries and outsiders to access and so taken with the practices and beliefs of Buddhism. Let’s become spiritual mothers to the people of this great country and carry them to Christ today.