Mothering is something that God invites all of his daughters to participate in.
Mothering is a selfless act. When we mother someone, we are giving them our protective care and kindness. It involves looking after someone else’s needs, providing for them and lending support. Mothering is nurturing something in someone else. It’s giving a piece of ourselves to someone else. So while we may not all be mothers (noun) we are all called to participate in the act of mothering (noun, adj.).
Mothering is done in nuclear families and mixed, with the neighbors across the street and with nieces and nephews. Mothering can be done with co-workers, friends, even the children of our friends. Mothering extends across social and economic boundaries, it crosses personal beliefs and distances. It cuts through barriers and connects our hearts to another.
For a stay at home mom with young kids, it looks a lot like tending to the daily physical and emotional needs of their littles. It’s the TLC they give when their child falls and scrapes a knee and the late night rocking back to sleep. It’s a lack of time for yourself because you’ve given it to another. It’s selfless and exhausting and holy.
Mothering my daughter, now 13, looks different than it did when she was little. Instead of kisses and band aids, she needs me to listen to her, to pay attention to what is important to her. She needs me to lead in example more than ever before, because she’s looking to me to see if I’m being authentic, to see if what I say and how I live, truly line up. It’s intentional and hard at times. It’s also holy.
When we were youth pastors, and I was surrounded daily by amazing teenage girls, I found they craved acceptance. They just wanted to know that they were loved and accepted for who they were. They needed to hear, “You are enough, just as you are.” I loved my girls and worked hard to be honest and real with them. Over time, we built trust with one another and it gave me the unique position to be able to speak truth into their lives. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was mothering even then, long before we decided to have kids of our own.
Sometimes mothering involves calling something out in someone else. Highlighting something special in their life that maybe they don’t have the vantage point or perspective to see yet. It can be something as simple as stating what they are good at, or what you see in them that you admire. Sometimes, the Holy Spirit breathes on those simple words and it’s like the oxygen needed to fan the flames and bring a thing, a decision, a person, to life.
Mothering can sometimes feel mundane, but it is always holy.
If you look up synonyms for the word mothering, here’s a few of the words that will come up: Cherish, care for, nurture, rear, nurse, tend, bring forth, produce, bear, inspire, reproduce, cure, heal, remedy…and the list goes on. Nothing short of holy work.
Some of us are mothers, but all of us are doing the holy work of mothering. And today, (and every day) I honor you.
For those of you who are experiencing a loss this Mother’s Day, whether it’s grieving the loss of a child, the hope of one, or perhaps the expectation of what you thought motherhood would be like, I pray God would send someone to mother you during this difficult season.
Philippians 2:1-4 says this: “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility values others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of others.” Paul is basically saying here that if we have experienced the comfort and tenderness of God’s love for us, then we ought to follow His example and do the same. We should pour into others this same love and tenderness that we have been shown.
We have been authorized and empowered to carry out this holy work.
The reason we can mother well, is because Jesus is our example. We have experienced encouragement from Him, we have felt comfort from His love and we have felt His tender compassion towards us. He is our example in all things, even in mothering.
I pray today that you would experience his love and comfort in a personal way and that it would spur you on to share it with those around you. Mothering is a hard and holy work, but you were made for it!