What is a mother? Who is a mother? When is a mother? Why is a mother?
The dictionary defines a mother as a female parent who gives birth to a child.
It’s interesting to note, however, that mother is also a verb, and the dictionary defines it as “to treat a person with great kindness and love and to try to protect them from anything dangerous or difficult.”
This brings me to my point; being a mother isn’t necessarily about a biological relationship, but a heart attitude.
I have many dear friends who are mothers without ever having borne a baby. Some lost their babies in the womb, others have adopted children, who they love, nurture and take care of. They are mothers.
So what is the real meaning of motherhood?
Based on the above, it’s that wonderful relationship of care, nurture and deep intimacy.
As a parent, your love for your child is unconditional and sacrificial. You would give your life for them in a heartbeat.
In fact, your children are an interwoven part of you. When they’re gone, part of you is gone too.
“Your children are an interwoven part of you. When they’re gone, part of you is gone too.”
So being a mother is about care, relationship, and intimacy.
What’s the meaning of motherhood? Why is it important?
Have you ever asked yourself this? Why didn’t God create humans to just pop out of a rock, and live without children?
Well, I believe both marriage and parenthood are ways God uses to reveal himself to humanity.
Marriage is a reflection of Jesus’ unbending devotion to human beings.
Parenthood is a mirror of God’s unconditional and sacrificial love and tenderness towards His children.
So, motherhood is important because mothers showcase God’s unconditional love and nurture, care and patience towards His children.
Mothers show their kids what love looks like and teach them to love others too.
Becoming a mother changed me to the core.
It didn’t change my identity because as a Christian my identity is found in Christ, but it did change my attitudes, my priorities, my roles, and my journey with God.
When I became a mother, I started valuing basic human needs that I had taken for granted before: relationships, time in nature, healthy food, hygge (the feeling of home).
Before I was a mum, I remember I used to love spending my weekends going to the shopping centre, eating out, and watching movies.
After motherhood? I found myself planning trips to the park, so the kids could run around, and the library, so we could enter the world of imagination!
Before I was a mum, I would spend hours getting ready for the day, shopping, having coffee with the girls, generally being out and about.
After I became a mum, I started learning the art of getting ready in 20 minutes, shopping for kid-friendly snacks, and drinking my tea in a hurry!
Before I was a mum, I lived in the now and the here. I had few goals, and little discernment about God, faith and life in general.
When I became a mother, I embarked on the greatest faith journey I have ever been on.
Growing in God
As I mentioned before, parenthood is a mirror of God’s unconditional and sacrificial love and tenderness towards His children (1 John 3:1).
As a mother, I learnt how God loved me sacrificially when I too loved my children sacrificially. And I learnt how God humbled himself and took the form of a human, in order to give me the gift of life, when I too laid aside myself in order to give life to my children.
But there was a problem. As a young mother, I often failed in my purpose as a mum. My love was imperfect, my patience limited and my nurturing inconstant. This resulted in feelings of inadequacy and failure.
But God showed me that while I was to glorify God and become like Him, He alone was God! Sometimes as a human mother I’d fail, and I didn’t need to portray myself as a perfect mother. God wanted me to be real. To show my children I sinned, I made mistakes and I fell short.
Of course, I glorified God when I showed the fruits of the spirit: joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, forbearance, faith and modesty (Galatians 5:22–23). But I also glorified God when I testified to His grace and mercy.
God saved me. He gave me a new heart. He is working in me, making me like Him. But sometimes, I fail. And when I fail, He wants me to admit that to myself, to my children and to others. And then point to the Perfect Father.
So, in all this, I came to see that my purpose as a mother was to raise a generation whose eyes were fixed on God, and who would understand the supreme excellence of His grace through Jesus.
Learning about real love
As a mother, I also learnt why God sometimes said “no” to me as the Good Father He is.
I remember early in motherhood when I used to say “no” to my children when they asked me for things that weren’t good for them (like staying up late when they were tired) I realized how little they understood about why I said “no”.
They saw the here and now. I saw the hours and days ahead.
I said “no” because I saw the long-term realities. I saw what lack of sleep would do to my children, or how too much sugar would affect them.
In saying “no”, I was loving them because I cared more about their long-term joy and health than their short-term desires for gratification.
And that’s when it hit me that that’s exactly how it was with God.
When I asked Him for things, and God said “no”, He wasn’t being cruel or mean.
It wasn’t because I lacked faith, and it certainly wasn’t because I needed to do X so that He would give me Y.
He said “no”, because, in His sovereignty, He saw the whole picture, and His deep desire was for my long-term good, not my short-term gain!
Motherhood is about a relationship of care, intimacy and nurture.
The real reason why parenthood exists is that it’s designed to be a reflection of God’s deep care and unconditional love for His children.
But the truth is that as humans we’re imperfect, and so, in parenthood, God wants us to show our children that while we’re imperfect, God still chose to give us a relationship with Him through Jesus’ saving work.
So in parenthood, we are also to show our children the meaning of the Gospel of grace and in so doing we point our children to our perfect Father in Heaven.
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