She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen[a] the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13
Mother. Oh, that word that denotes such meaning! Such profound emotion. Such life. For me, it’s a word that ranks right up there with grace, with love, with home. I can shed a tear or outright weep at the mere mention of the word. It is pure sweetness to me! My mother left this earth when she was 55 years young. I was a 19-year-old newlywed who was just beginning to get to know my mom as a friend, as a human being (instead of as “just mom”). That time was abruptly cut short and ever since then (forty long years ago), I have ached to see her smile, to hear her voice, to feel her hug, to make her proud. There was and is a hole that was left that will never be filled in this life. Was she a perfect mother? You know the answer to that. Was there ever a perfect parent?
The noblest, hardest, most fulfilling, and most heart-wrenching role that I have been given in this life is that of Mother. From childbirth to breastfeeding, from teaching reading to running beside a teetering bike-rider, and from baby’s first bath to witnessing wedding vows, being a mother of five has required every bit of strength and faith that God could give. Alongside the challenges, sorrows, fears, and cries for wisdom, the sheer love, joy, and pride that have been mine have made it all worth whatever sacrifices I made.
If you’re a mama, you have already experienced so much of what I’m talking about. Your head nods and your heart resonates. The roller coaster ride called motherhood is everything and more and nothing at all like you thought it would be. Yet there is a commonality between us moms that we can agree upon. Being a mother is the hardest job that we would never trade. Through sleepless nights, sibling rivalries, sickness, and tight budgets we keep on. As we wear the hats of taxi driver, nurse, dietician, housekeeper, counselor, and teacher, we hold on to the hope that our child will be equipped with what they need to be healthy and confident, using their gifts to make the world a better place. Even when they’re little and so dependent on us, we see them (in our mind’s eye) as determined, kind, strong adults who love God and love people.
Of course, motherhood isn’t always a “happily ever after” story. There are tough times that test our mettle. Sometimes we fail miserably. Our kids make mistakes, disappoint us, or are disappointed in us. Our relationships sometimes become strained. That’s the reality of living on this planet.
But…we never give up praying.
And…we discover joy peeking through at us during the dark times.
So… we believe that our God has given us the gift of children and the gift of motherhood to fulfill His beautiful, eternal, and mysterious purposes. God does His most significant work through mothers. Never doubt that, dear mama! He will mercifully fill in the gaps. His strength is there for you today. His wisdom will be there for you tomorrow. Just as Hagar, Sarai’s handmaiden, was reassured that Jehovah saw her in her struggle, God sees you. He adores you. He understands your weariness and your doubts. It will all be for His glory. You just wait and see!
Mother…such a lovely word to me. I can’t wait to embrace my mother again on the other side of eternity (I’m guessing our first hug will be about three hours long!) and get to know the real her. Motherhood…the one thing in this life that took everything I had. And I would give it again without hesitation. Because I’m really the one who has gained so much more than I have given.
Mama, remember to give your child a goodnight kiss, read that book to them, throw the ball with them. These times will be gone so quickly. Listen to this old song that may require you to have a tissue. I sang this numerous times at church when my children were all shorter than me. And now…I blinked and they’re all grown up. And changing the world.