The Lord told me I would be a mother.
He spoke right into my barrenness and said that He had given me a mother’s heart for a reason. He had not forgotten me and He would not forget me.
It was a pretty bold statement to say to a woman facing infertility. A woman who was crawling through the barren wasteland of loss and miscarriage and broken dreams. And if He would have just said it to me, whispered in my ear—I would have laughed. I would have labeled the voice my own broken-dreams instead of acknowledging the King-of-All as the speaker.
But He spoke the words through someone else who didn’t know, couldn’t know.
Still, I didn’t exactly grab onto the promise with smiles and joy.
Actually, I was a bit ticked off.
“What am I supposed to do with that?” I spit out, sorrow and loss having laced my heart with fear.
And then He did start whispering. Filling my quiet times with the flowing sound of His voice. This is how…
I was to be like the widow woman who met Elijah in 1 Kings 17. He told her to give everything she had left to him, and God would never let her run out. The miracle doesn’t come until you start walking. I needed to have faith first. I needed to live out the God-ways, be the mother He had promised me I would be, and then.
And I was to start living truth in my heart, not just with my mind. When I read Psalm 33, where it says By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host, I needed to push the truths into my being. The Star-Breathing God could certainly handle transforming an infertile-wasteland into a mother.
And I was to start looking for the bigger picture. My vision is so limited. How many times was I like the Jewish people of the first century—staring into the distance, waiting for a warrior, a political champion—instead of grabbing onto the Servant-King who was the true Messiah?
My idea of “mother” was just as upside-down as their idea of “Messiah”. It was filled with personal descriptions and desires and hopes and social norms.
The God-of-Angel-Armies can see in a far different light than I ever dreamed. And if He’s the one making the promises, then He should be the one writing the definition. Not me.
He opened my eyes to all the deep-deep parts of mothering. It turns out that giving birth is only a tiny fraction of it.
A mother is an originator.
She labors and gifts someone with the ability to live.
This may begin with physical birth. Or, it may begin with spiritual birth. The mother is the one who labors. How many lives were reborn from the spiritual labor pains of a dedicated intercessor? How many mothers came into existence, not with physical birth pains, but with spiritual prayers that surrounded a child and turned their eyes to the Redeemer?
I am the mother of every child I labor for. Oh God, burn Your prayers into my heart. Teach my lips to labor for the glory of Your Kingdom and the LIFE of Your children.
A mother is the one who faithfully plants the seeds of truth.
She responds to the questions and teaches children to ask them. She plants the seeds of faith into little hearts and pours the water of knowledge and discernment and truth-seeking over them.
I am the mother of every child I plant truth in. Every child who looks up at me and is fed a taste of truth and light and hope, is a child of mine.
A mother is the one who nurtures.
The one who stops when someone talks, who listens when it doesn’t seem like there’s anything to hear, who builds bridges when everyone else keeps tearing them down. Just as she labors, just as she faithfully plants, now she nurtures growth.
And under her hand, her children bloom. They may not stay close by—in fact, many times they won’t. But it will be her nurturing that gives them wings.
Motherhood is not awarded to just the women whose bodies cooperate with biology—motherhood is available to all who are willing to do the work of Mothering.
And it is work. But as I look at the array of children who have come through my home, through my life, through my heart—I see truth. I am a mother to them all. Just as God said I would be.
You who long to be a mother? You can be. Be the laborer, the faithful seed planter, the nurturer.
And to those of you who are hungry for a mother’s love– remember to look with your eyes wide open. Perhaps the Lord has gifted you with a mother you’ve never noticed before.