Another Mother’s Day is upon us, and I would have completely forgotten if my father-in-law hadn’t mentioned it about two weeks ago…lol! But, I am doing my usual reflection, as I do each year, about how I’ve grown as a mother, where I still need to grow, what new challenges am I adapting to, and so on. Being a mother is by and far the hardest thing I have ever done, even harder than being a wife (at least it feels that way currently…it really does). Yet, I do enjoy it, and I thank God for this blessed opportunity to be a mother. I thank God for my experience working in residence life because it taught me how to teach, advise, discipline, encourage, and love people who had their own minds and choices to make. Honestly, I think that God used that experience to train me how to be a mother. I don’t look at my daughter as someone that I have absolute control over. I see her as a little girl who is developing her own mind, thoughts, and feelings. She is figuring things out, learning how to master new skills, trying to be independent, while realizing she still needs help, and so much more. I can tell her to do plenty of things each day, but I know that she may or may not listen. She is a human, a unique person, an unrepentant sinner, that I have the opportunity to shape and mold how she grows from her infancy, but she does not solely belong to me.
My thoughts are also on the impact my own mother and grandmother have had on me throughout my life. I love my mom, and I positively adore my grandmother (she is the best!). I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my mother, and my husband surely wouldn’t find me as nearly amusing as I am without my grandmother’s influence. And so, I thank God for them too.
And then my thoughts are mainly on all the women who have been mothers to me as I’ve grown up, moved from state to state, gotten married, had a child, etc. Thinking now, the body of Christ is so richly filled with mothers, and I count each and every one of them a true blessing to know personally. Most people would say that a mother has to have had her own children. But for my mothers, some of them have been childless, suffered the death of a child and even gone through adoption. Whether or not they physically birthed a child, they adopted me with open arms. They have loved me. They have been awesome teachers, not just in word, but in behavior. They have corrected me. They have given me advice. They have encouraged me. And mostly, they have kept me accountable before the Lord. And most of these mothers of mine were not ancient and super old, but they were just mature in the faith and wise enough to learn from their own experiences and circumstances.
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” – Titus 2:3-5
Personally, I know that I thrive best being a daughter, learning from other women. I have always watched and listened to others, even from a young age. Now being married and a parent, I am always listening to the older or more mature/experienced Christian women around me all the time. I often feel like we don’t emphasis this enough in the Church or place enough value on mothering (or mentoring these days). But, I believe that we, as women, each have a responsibility to adopt and mother those younger in age or even maturity/experience around us in the Church body. It is very easy to be self-absorbed and focused on the details of your own life, family, and friends. What is much more difficult is to be personally invested in someone else who is outside of your circle, and I count it a great blessing that so many women throughout my life have personally invested in me.
Even as we get ready for this move to Charleston, I pray that God gives me mothers in my new church home. But more than that, I am praying that I can start being a mother to other young women as I continue grow. My prayer is that I do not become self-absorbed as my own family grows and deals with changes to not watch and care for other young women in my church. My hope is that I do not become so prideful that I act like I never had any problems, sins, or situations when I talk to people. My hope is that I can also teach others by word and by my behavior, that God will give me a heart that is genuinely concerned for the welfare of others so that I can genuinely love people the way that He has called us to love them. My prayer is that God will give me a love for His body so that I consider everyone in the Church to be my brother and sister in Christ, and that I can be a positive influence in the lives of younger believers as a fellow sister and mother. I know that there is more to being a mother than just having a child. It takes a lot to be a mother, a whole lot. So I hope and pray that I can continue to be a good mother to my own children, but that God would also use this to benefit His body, the Church, as well.
And if you are a mother naturally, I applaud you in all of your efforts, and I encourage you to be a mother within your local church too. If you aren’t a mother, but you are growing in the faith and maturing in the Lord, I encourage you to let God develop that heart of mother within you because you too can be most useful in your local church too (if you already aren’t). God bless!
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace…Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” – Ephesians 4:1-3;15-16