The Life of a Mother

May 13, 2018


          Motherhood is greatly honored in the Bible.  Jesus himself had an earthly mother, Mary, whom He dearly loved.  Although he said his time had not yet come, he performed a miracle at her request at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11).  And even while He was suffering the worst torment any human could possibly endure, bearing our sins on the cross, he made sure his mother was cared for by entrusting her to his beloved disciple, John (John 19:26-27).  Mary also suffered, remembering throughout her years of raising Jesus, the words spoken to her by Simeon in the temple when Jesus was only 8 days old, “a sword will pierce your soul as well” (Luke 2:35).  As her precious son was thinking of her despite his pain, she was remembering how this day was prophesied thirty-three years ago.

          The life of a mother is never an easy one.  As little girls we played with dolls hoping to be a mother one day.  We practiced dressing them, feeding them, taking them for walks in a stroller, and rocking them to sleep.  And when we got a bit older we played with Barbie dolls, hoping to look like one some day.  But while pretending to be a mother that looks like a Barbie doll was fun at the time, and easy for us as young girls, when we became adults, we quickly discovered it isn’t easy at all, and at times even wondered why we were so eager to grow up.

          I still remember how excited I was when my first pregnancy test turned out positive.  The excitement of being a new mother!  Would I have a boy or a girl?  What would we name him or her?  But then came morning sickness, and all the rest of the so-called ‘joys’ of pregnancy.  Yet these are nothing compared to the pain of being in actual labor.  Even the Bible speaks of this, but mentions the real joy that follows as well, in John 16:21: “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”  Yes, as soon as a mother sees and holds her baby for the first time, she knows it was all worth it.  However, both her joy, and her sorrow, are only just beginning…

          In our first Scripture reading (Exodus 1:22, 2:1-10) you heard about Jochebed, the mother of Moses, and the difficult decision she had to make to entrust her baby boy to the Lord’s care, by placing him in a basket in the river.  He was then adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised as an Egyptian.  Some young mothers today are also faced with the decision to put their baby up for adoption, in the best interests of the child.  I, myself, am one of such children, and know my birth mother did so out of her love for me; and I praise God that He brought us back together after 50 years.  I also praise God for my adoptive mother, who is now with the Lord, for the years she spent raising me as her own child.

          For mothers that bring their babies home and raise them, they are about to discover that unlike the idyllic life portrayed by that of celebrities with new babies, their own life will be turned upside down.  It is difficult enough for a stay-at-home mom to handle the multitude of new responsibility - the sleepless nights and endless days filled with feeding, burping, changing, and trying to soothe a baby to sleep, while forgoing all of the normal activities that used to fill her days.  But for a mom that tries to juggle a job at the same time, the challenge of leaving the baby she loves with another, and concentrating on a job, and then returning home to resume care of the baby, becomes a revolving door of emotional and physical turmoil.  And for the growing number of single moms, the struggle is greater still.  This is when we praise God for grandmothers that are able to lend a helping hand!  Because I don’t know of any mothers today that have some of those ‘servant girls’ that we heard about in our third Scripture reading (Proverbs 31:10-31), unless you consider the babysitters working moms hire and then have to give at least half of their paycheck to.   

          Real irony comes when the child starts school.  While an exhausted mother looks forward to the day when she will finally have a few hours out of each day to herself again, she quickly finds out that sadness fills her heart as well.  We realize that our baby is growing up, and is not quite as dependent upon us as he or she once was.   My own daughter is suffering through this right now, as she sees my granddaughter becoming less and less ‘attached’ to mommy.   And yet we want to see our children grow to become self-sufficient, responsible, independent, and mature.  And we want them to grow up knowing God, understanding the love of Jesus, believing the message of the Gospel, and following Christ in their lives;  just as Timothy did in our second Scripture reading (2 Timothy 1:1-5) thanks to the spiritual nurturing of his mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois.  And so we pray that God keeps them in His care and under His watchful eye, and we pray that He gives us the faith to know that He has heard and will answer that prayer.

          As our children progress through school, each time they come home crying because they have been bullied, or snubbed by a clique, or can’t seem to fit in for one reason or another, we want to comfort them and yet build up their inner strength all at the same time.  Not to mention wanting to personally deal with whoever made them cry, but knowing we need to set a Christian example as well.

          And when they become teens, and are faced with decisions about alcohol, drugs, and sex, we waver between wanting to lock them in their rooms forever, and pretending they aren’t even considering those options.  Of course, neither of those actions will help them.  We need to be firm, but understanding.  We were teens once, too, and I doubt any of us can say we never made a bad choice.  We know the pressures they are under, and we know the temptations that they face.  We should neither ignore them, nor be self-righteous hypocrites.  And this is why young mothers need to remember the promise of God in Proverbs 22:6, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”   That doesn’t mean to preach it without practicing it.  Mothers need to set a Christian example, for our actions will always speak louder than our words.  If we do that, and if we pray every day for our children, in the end all of the grief we endure for their sake will indeed be worth it.  For the trials we go through here on earth will someday be replaced by the joy of spending an eternity in heaven with our children and grandchildren, where there will be no more sorrow – from hospital emergency rooms, from calls to the principal’s office, from hearing them say they hate you when you discipline them, or even from the horror of losing them to a tragic early death.  Yes, children are both a blessing and a trust from God, and if raised in accordance with His Word, one in which the joy will far exceed the pain. 

          So praise God for our mothers and grandmothers, and all the women who have cared for us, nurtured us, and taught us about life and the fear of the Lord.  May we always treasure them, respect them, and appreciate all they have endured for our sake.  Amen.