The High Calling of Motherhood

These are very emotional days as I near the approach of my first Mother’s Day without a mother living on this earth. Mother’s Day is not enough to honor my mother, and probably not all of yours. The Bible talks a lot about the blessing of children, but all children are blessed to have a mother.

While I was an only child by birth, many people were blessed to have my mom as their ‘mother’. She didn’t stop showing mother-like love and compassion towards anyone she met and she opened her home up to a long string of children, teenagers and friends who needed help or encouragement.

I will never forget her and we should all seek to fill the absence she left behind as we have the opportunity. Keeping your eyes open, but more importantly your heart and arms open is all it takes to make the kind of difference she made in the lives of so many. Her love was driven by her relationship with God. She loved because He first loved her.

Motherhood is under attack in many ways today. Even though it is a calling of singular importance, the value of being a mother and especially a mother who prioritizes her children over other things is increasingly deemphasized.

It is common to say they aren’t her children or the parents’ children, but everyone’s children. You’ve heard the mantra, “It takes a village”. It’s a truth that community is powerful and helpful in the education and development of children, but parents can be perfectly equipped to provide everything children essentially need. Rather than honoring a woman’s commitment to “raise” her own children, it’s despised. Women are encouraged to return to work as quickly as possible, shipping their kids off to daycare or the sitter. But why? Why should parents be so eager to hand over their children to someone else?

  • Economic Reasons – One of the most cited reasons is that the family needs the money and if they are going to give the child everything he needs, it’s necessary for the mother to work. This is definitely what the capitalists want. A push for economic growth was part of what started pushing women to join the work force and leave their work at home. My grandmother “worked” very hard on their farm raising nine kids over a 30+ year period and she added to the prosperity of her home with that work. I’ve read historical studies where businessmen focused on recruiting more women to work in factories and other businesses so they could take advantage of the economic productivity of women. After all, when she was only working at home, it only benefited her family. No one made a profit off of her and no government tax benefit was earned. More people might benefit economically by a speedy return to the workforce after the child is born, but not the family.
  • Career Achievement – Many women enjoy a vibrant professional career and stepping away from that for a significant amount of time is seen as detrimental, or at the worst, career suicide. Some point to this as a reason for lower pay for women and attempt to use it to justify such policies. This is blatantly unfair. Women who are pursuing a career should not face discrimination because they become pregnant. Investing in children is every bit as worthy as investment in a career. Long after we’re gone, our career and the money we’ve earned will fade away, but our children and their children will continue with whatever values they’ve had invested in them.
  • Childhood Socialization and Academic Development – Putting children in pre-school and day care is often seen as path to helping them get ready for school and advance developmentally early on. This dismisses opportunities to develop through direct parental investment, which can serve the same role, but is done through the investment of the people who care for them more than all others. 

A Biblical view of motherhood holds the role up as of first importance. Parents and especially mothers are given the responsibility for the daily rearing of their children. This isn’t a burden, but a blessing and an honor. The future of the world is given into the hands of mothers and this is no little thing.

I’m grateful that my mother made raising me and staying in my life throughout my upbringing  a priority. She ‘worked’ in a variety of jobs over many years and was willing to make changes when it suited her role as a wife and mother better. She taught me that relationships with real people and ministry is what was really important.

After her passing, notes came flooding in from the many people she loved over the years. She was a mother to my friends and me. She was ‘mother’ and friend to many while working at the hospitals and the school. Towards the end of her life, she mostly demonstrated her motherly love through her local church. Wherever there was an opportunity, she took it.

My world was changed because of my mother. Her love helped me understand the love of Christ and her ability to keep her eyes open and see the needs around her is something I hope I will continue to try and do to honor her.

It’s now been four months since she passed into eternity and not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. Those who love her continue to grieve, but we would do best to honor her with our actions. I’m so grateful my mom took her calling to be a mother seriously. She was a great example of what is written in Proverbs 31:25-31.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity, 
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
    and suffers nothing from laziness.
28 Her children stand and bless her.
    Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
   but you surpass them all!”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
    Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

Proverbs 31:25-31

Mother’s Day is Sunday, a day to honor our mothers and their memory. One day is too small a thing for such a great honor. There is no higher calling in this world than to be a mother. To pass on love and faith to your children is the great work of the age. I wouldn’t be what I am today without the influence of my mother.

Thanks again Mom, I love you!

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