Boys and me
This year, our oldest son turned 16 years-old. Watching him grow from a child to a young man has been one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. When he was a toddler, the days seemed to stand still. Today, time seems to be passing at mock-speed. The panic that time was running out with our son set in the first time he drove himself to a dentist appointment. He didn’t want to go alone, and as silly as it sounds, I didn’t want him to either. But when I realized he only had 3 more dentist appointments to go before he went off to college, I had to push him out of the nest. He doesn’t need me to be his voice anymore, especially for the small stuff.
As I reflected on how fast the time had slipped away (at this point, we have less than 100 weeks, two Christmas break, and one summer vacation to go until college), I wondered if I had done enough as his mom to prepare him for the world outside our safe and predictable community.
Looking back, I recognize that I may have gotten more out of parenting my son than he received from being parented. Parenting has been a gift that challenged me to the core of my character. It has taught me the meaning of unconditional love and sacrifice. Motherhood has also opened my eyes to what it means to live a life on purpose without recognition for a job well done.
Everyone knows there is no $100 bill waiting for you in your child’s dirty diaper. No one says, thank you, for dragging yourself out of bed, on the 184th night in a row, to feed your baby. And there is no medal of honor being presented for rescuing your child from a speeding car when he or she decides to run into the street to retrieve their ball.
The rewards of motherhood are more intrinsic – rewards that touch the depths of the heart.
Motherhood has powers that no other profession can offer. Motherhood is a teacher, a refiner, an influencer…motherhood is a gift.
Motherhood the Teacher:
- Motherhood teaches priorities: I was told by the leader of an organization that they didn’t hire mom’s because mothers always put their families before their jobs. Clearly, this is discrimination. But when we move beyond the obvious ignorance of this leader’s statement, we find the fact that mom’s put family first to be what is RIGHT about moms, not what is wrong. Imagine a world where PEOPLE came before title and money? This is the power of motherhood.
- Motherhood teaches the meaning of true forgiveness: Motherhood is humbling. Daily, mothers are faced with their imperfections. Motherhood makes it impossible to hide from our faults. But there is an incredible gift in being faced with our imperfection on a regular basis. The ability to forgive and be forgiven. There is power in admitting our faults and teaching our children the gift of forgiveness.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4: 32 (ESV)
- Motherhood teaches the true meaning of balance: Motherhood teaches us to live with intention, not perfection. We live on a path deliberated by purpose not busyness, knowing that a life of balance comes with give and take. Balance in a mother’s world is never black and white. Balance is created out of the unexpected and spontaneous moments that we choose to make life giving. The power of motherhood is to live in the moment, not by a to-do list.
- Motherhood teaches reinvention: Webster’s defines reinvention as: to invent, come upon, find again, to bring something into existence, to remake as in a different form, to revive. Mothers are forced to become lifelong learners as they navigate the seasons of their children’s lives and their own. Infant, toddler, grade school, teenage years, empty-nest, are all seasons of opportunity for reinvention. Motherhood itself is a season. As we care for our children, it is important to remember who God created us to be – revive it, bring it forth, remake it, and share those gifts with our kids!
I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Romans 9:17 (NIV)
Motherhood the Refiner:
- Motherhood refines our identity: Motherhood has the ability to strip us of the identity we once received from performance, title, or education. We learn that the true meaning of life is relationships. Relationship with God and with others. Motherhood teaches us, it is not what we do but who we become that is truly important.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5
- Motherhood refines our character: Our purpose as Christians is to become like Jesus. The Bible says, “You were … created to be like God, truly righteous and holy” (Ephesians 4:24 GW). Motherhood gives daily opportunity to practice the fruit of the spirit. It is not by our own power that we will achieve holy living. It is by our full dependency on our Heavenly Father and trust that the Holy Spirit will empower us to live out the character of Jesus in our weakness.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
Motherhood the Influencer:
- Motherhood influences the individuality of our children: Mothers have an instinct for identifying the unique talents and strengths of their children. They are the cheerleaders who teach their children to embrace their individuality through the eyes of God. As a mother, you are influencing the next generations of great change makers and leaders of this world!
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10 (ESV)
- Motherhood influences a child’s view with the world: By example, a child will learn selfishness, pride, judgment, and isolation or they will learn acceptance, humility, service and community. A mother has the influence to raise a child as the center of the world or to raise them as a life giver to the world.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14 ESV)
- Motherhood influences relationship with Jesus: It is true that a mother will influence a child’s knowledge of Christ by practicing the spiritual disciplines (Bible study, prayer, fellowship etc…) of Christianity. But it will be a mother’s practice of authentic and transparent love that transforms a child’s experience and true relationship with God. Love is an action, not a feeling. Love is a choice mother’s make every day when parenting feels like the hardest thing you have ever done.
Motherhood the gift:
Motherhood, the gift of moments: Motherhood is a gift of captured moments that steal your heart. Stop for a moment and think back on these cherished and beautiful memories. How can you record them? A poem, a letter, a scrapbook, a song…What will you do to create new memories in the days to come? Share with us your ideas in the comments below. We would love to hear and learn from you!
Motherhood – The Gift of Moments
- Experiencing the power of unconditional love for the first time.
- Hearing the blissful first words of Mommy.
- Watching with pride as your child takes their 1st step.
- Cherishing the affectionate snuggle only a baby can offer.
- Being the only doctor that can heal a hurt.
- Cheering on the sidelines as they achieve something they only imagine.
- Embracing the gift of your teen’s independence as they take the car keys from you the first time.
- Knowing every dream and every fear.
- Believing through prayer God’s great plan for their lives.
- Hearing sweet bedtime prayers.
- Having the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie recipe that keeps them coming back for more.
- Joyfully, receiving a new daughter or son, as your grown child gives their heart away in marriage.
- Welcoming a new life, a new generation, and a new world, into your family.
Motherhood – a gift of cherished moments.