Sometimes we often joke that when we are unburdened with young children and toddlers, we will have more freedom for ourselves. We can travel without hindrance and finally "achieve" those things we got held up from when our children were young. And it's partially true---to enjoy a vacation, a real vacation without all the gear of babies, naps and fussy times, will surely be wonderful. To read a book in a few days time, rather than a few months time--or let's face it a few years-- will be much needed and enjoyed!
Although the diapers, late nights, breastfeeding, bottles, sicknesses and making every meal will be gone eventually, the truth is they will need us in other ways. The needs of a child for his or her mother is never lessened. It just changes with the seasons of life. The need of a child for a mother is designed by God for a lifetime.
"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem." - Isaiah 66:13
God knew what He was doing when He designed mothers. He needed someone to care for His children, provide nourishment---physical, spiritual, emotional and mental. He needed someone to be a reflection of His love for them, even though we can never love them as much as God loves them.
Our children don't stop needing us when they are ten and can make some food for themselves, shower themselves and be more independent. They don't stop needing us when they are sixteen and can drive themselves. They don't stop needing us when they are studying in college. The need doesn't stop when they are married. No, the needs just change but they are still there.
They need us to listen when they have the big questions of life. The what is God's plan for my life and whom should I marry questions. The debate on what job to take questions, the dreams of their heart and the things that they fear. The inner things they struggle with inside themselves. The how do I cook this or that questions. The can I wash this in the washing machine questions. They need us for that too. Our children lean on us and look to us and our lives. They need us to comfort and they need us to be strong. These are the very things we look to God to be for ourselves, aren't they?
As mothers we have to look to God to comfort, to give strength, to provide wisdom on how to mother the children He gave us. To give us energy to make it through the day. We have to lean on God to be a mother. He is our strong tower, our Adonai. We can lean on Him to mother for a lifetime. It is only through leaning on God that we are able to accomplish this. Our fragile human strength will never achieve this apart from God.
"The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." Proverbs 18:10
Our society may think of mothering as temporary at times, that it ends when our children turn 18. No, it doesn't end, it changes. Mothering never ends. We will short change our children if we think it ends. If at that moment they move out of our home, we count ourselves as "free."
Mothering is a lifetime of laying down ones life for your children. Mothering is mothering the motherless that may come into our lives. It is answering the 2am phone call. It is staying up late listening to their hearts. It is being a grandmother when your child has had a new baby and their eyelids can't stay open any longer from lack of sleep. It is answering the how do I get the baby to stop crying questions. How do I do this and that questions. Mothering is cleaning your childs house when they are too tired to move. Mothering is comfort. Mothering is taking care of them when they are 40 years old and sick. Mothering is reflecting God. Mothering is love. Mothering is being a servant of Christ.
"Since Jesus highly values children, mothers are His servants when they bless their children for Him." - Art Birch
Why does the culture we live in find this so hard? Because our self sacrifice smells of the fragrance of Christ. The world rejects Christ, remember? “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you." John 15:18-19
Our living for others smells of not living only for ones self. Self sacrifice is hard and it goes against the cultures ideals of selfishness. We go against selfishness when we give up a giant corporate paycheck for our children. We go against selfishness when we think that these God created children that are more valuable than any dollar signs. We go against selfishness when we aren't out everyday pursuing our own desires. We go against selfishness when we cut corners to do with less possessions to be with our children, train them, and love them.
"For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing..." 2 Corinthians 2:15
What did Jesus do with His life? He ministered to those God put in front of Him. He laid down His life for those He loved. Us. Too often we think laying down our life means actual physical death that takes our body from this world. But laying down our life also means dying to ourselves.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. Galations 2:20
God never stops being our Heavenly Father when we are older, does He? He never stops comforting our hearts and our minds. He never stops teaching us and He never stops loving us.
Mothers--in a lot of ways we are our children's lifelong "friends." This isn't meant in a non disciplining, non parental way, but in a Godly way. Jesus also meant that when we lay down our life for those we love, although they may have the name of "child", there is nothing greater.
"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." John 15:13
"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts."
- Washington Irving
This is what a mother is called to do by God. Never stop loving, never stop comforting, never stop teaching. Never stop giving. She provides a haven of peace. She lays down her selfishness at the foot of the cross. She will do it with God's strength and wisdom guiding her for a lifetime.
The loveliest materpiece of the heart of God is the love of a Mother.
-St. Therese of Lisieux
Prayer: "God, help me to love my children as you love them. Show me your heart for them. Show me how to guide them with your wisdom and show them Yourself through me." Amen.
"As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children."
- 1 Thessalonians 2:7
"I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also."
- 2 Timothy 1:5
"So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." Matthew 18:14
"Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children. From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. You live in the suffering mothers of every race and creed and weep with them. You long to comfort all who are desolate."
- Charlotte Gray
"A mother's yearning feels the presence of the cherished child even in the degraded man."
- George Eliot
"Women know the way to rear up children (to be just). They know a simple, merry, tender knack of tying sashes, fitting baby-shoes, and stringing pretty words that make no sense. And kissing full sense into empty words."
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning