Being a mother actually has very little to do with birthing a child from your body. That might be the most obvious scenario, but motherhood is so much more than a physical happening. I have known some expert “mothers” who never birthed or raised any children of their own, and I have known some mothers with a brood of children who shouldn’t be allowed to come anywhere near them. I don’t think motherhood can be simply defined by having or not having little people under your care.
A mother is someone who nurtures – someone who cares for the deepest places of your heart. Anyone can throw a meal at you or give you a bed to sleep on, but a mother makes a place for you. A mother sees the deepest, truest you and treats you like you already are that person. A mother cares about your hurts and fears, but also your dreams and successes. She is a cheerleader, a coach, a trainer and a fan all at the same time.
Some of you reading this are feeling ripped off because your biological mother didn’t do any of those things for you. You’re not alone. Our moms could never be all that they should be…and neither can you or I. It’s too big, this job of being MOM. I mean, we’re still working out our own issues, never mind tackling all the issues our children are dealing with, right?!
Do you know which Person of the Trinity is most like a mother? Take a guess. Probably not the Father. Jesus? Nope. It’s the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Comforter. He nurtures us and leads us into truth. He tells us who we are in Christ. He speaks destiny and purpose into the core of our beings. He mothers us, for lack of a better term. When God crafted Eve out of the tissues of Adam’s body, He separated other aspects of Himself into her – the things we associate with the female gender, but that actually came from the Personhood of God. Some of those Godly characteristics are nurture and comfort. When we use those attributes, we look like God. People can see we are His.
But back to my issues… How can I ever be a good enough mother for my children when I know I have things that need to be fixed in my own soul? The only way to do right by your children is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. On your best day, you don’t have enough wisdom, strength, love, patience, fill-in-the-blank ____________ on your own to adequately nurture your child, but God does. The Holy Spirit in you can meet every need those little munchkins have!
As I write this, my grandmother is dying. I have been thinking a lot about her life and the legacy she is leaving. She has lived through some difficult things in her lifetime – raising four children, a broken marriage, church messes, friend messes, heartaches. But she has carried a mantle of motherhood about her for as long as I have known her. Whether or not she knew how to wear that mantle in her earlier days, I can’t say. But she certainly has learned how to wear it now. She makes each of us feel so special and she cheers us on in anything we are trying to do. She sees the treasure that lies within each person in our family and she helps us to see it, too. She is such a gift to us, and I’m going to miss her terribly. Terribly. I want to inherit the mantle from her.
Some of you might not have your own children. But you are still a mother. You have a God-given ability to comfort, nurture and see. You have permission to use those abilities! Some of you have children and you feel completely inadequate, and maybe at the end of your rope. Be filled with the Spirit and let Him lead you in mothering your little ones. Some of you have lost a mother or mother-figure recently and you’re hurting this weekend. God sees you. The Holy Spirit can wrap you up in a blanket of comfort when you cry out for Him. Let Him mother you now.
Motherhood is a sacred mystery. It transcends biological limitations. It is a gift, a calling, an honor.
Happy Mother’s Day to YOU.
What is your definition of “mother”?