I’m always a bit uneasy about Mother’s Day every year. Is anyone else like that?
It’s not that I don’t love my own dear mother and I am happy to proclaim that each year on a special day in May. And it’s not that I don’t love being a mother myself—it’s a calling that I felt from a very young age: to bear and mother children. To say I am grateful the Lord provided that blessing to me after my bumpy start is an understatement.
Perhaps it’s because I experienced my first Mother’s Day as a mother who had lost her child. It gives me a keen understanding of what it feels like to celebrate that day but feel like I still wasn’t quite “in the club” yet.
It took me back to being the new kid at Pymosa school…
Or being assigned to the “dumb kid” class in 6th grade at Jackson school when all my other friends were in the “smart kid” and “average kid” classes…
Or moving, yet again, because of my husband’s military career, starting another new job, and navigating another new employee cafeteria in solitude…
Or walking into a seminar that I know co-workers are attending, yet sitting alone
Mother’s Day each year provides these types of feelings for me because I am empathetic to so many women who have lost children, have tried (with much effort, expense, and determination) to have a child and haven’t, or even women I know who haven’t had the opportunity to mother a child of their own—either by their choice or circumstances.
It calls to mind the story of two sisters, Leah and Rachel. They both married Jacob.
“When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.” Genesis 29:31
God blessed Leah with children for Jacob because Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. Four times Leah gives birth to sons for Jacob and Rachel remains childless for years. She becomes distraught and unhappy because of it.
“When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Genesis 30:1
This is a woman I can relate to. This is a woman I can empathize with because of her deep desire to be a mother. I can understand her desperation and impatience and misunderstanding of God’s plan. “Why does God continue telling me, ‘No.’?” had to be her question year-after-year as her sister easily becomes pregnant, gives birth, and she watches her husband with these growing children. Every day must have felt like Mother’s Day to Rachel as she remained childless!
On Mother’s Day each year I call to mind women who have played important, pivotal roles in my life, even though none of them have never given birth to a child. None of them are my mother, yet God used them in mighty ways to help teach, direct, instruct, and point me to Christ and provide me with important life lessons.
These women include my aunt, Judy Marnin, Cherie Carl, Cindi Metzger, and Chris Roules. I don’t just recall these women on Mother’s Day—I am reminded of their effect on me almost continually. But I DO think of each of them on Mother’s Day and how they have all provided things rich in positive and eternal consequences that benefit me.
They have all propelled me to be a woman who, like them, is available, willing, and persistent in my ministry to help other young women find the key to successful living: a life surrendered to Christ.
They all continue, as individuals, to provide meaningful and lasting ways to bring Christ to those around them in what they do in their jobs, their churches, their neighbors, and their daily interactions in every situation.
So Mother’s Day is sweet, but the daily work we take on to help others find or deepen their knowledge and application of what it means to enter through the narrow gate and walk down that narrow path toward glory is the real meat of the matter.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13 & 14
Whether we are a mother in the traditional sense or not. Whether we are doing this with our birth children or with those that others have given birth to. Do meaningful, lasting work. Have your efforts effect eternity.
This is cause for celebration!