When my children and I arrived at the playground, there was a group of kindergartens, twenty of them, running and shouting, pandemonium on the jungle gym. One little girl, with the grace of a tightrope walker, slowly made her way through the chaos. Her mother stood off to the side, carefully watching, calling out instructions, “Take four steps to the right. Wait, there is a little girl in front of you. Okay, now, two more steps, the slide is at your right, the monkey bars to your left.” I stared. What was she doing? I wondered.
I saw the girl’s dark glasses, her determined steps, and realized she was blind. I watched as she navigated the whole jungle gym, dodging squealing children. She maneuvered the slide and the monkey bars with nimble concentration. Her mother never faltered in her instructions, and the girl patiently listened to her the whole time, her head almost bent in her direction, listening and waiting for her voice. They worked as a dynamic team; one guiding, one listening, as they made their way together.
I turned away. The devotion, the constant love and guidance of this mother for her daughter brought me to tears.
When I became pregnant with my first child Lydia, I did a study of the word “motherhood” in Scripture. Time and again, motherhood was associated with sacrifice. King Solomon knows the baby’s true mother in that she is willing to forfeit all her rights as a mother to save the baby’s life. Mary, in her early life, receives a heavy call to bear the savior of the world, the same son whom she will one day see dying in front of her – mocked and humiliated. Through it all, her response is one of humble sacrifice, echoed in her words, “Let it be to me according to thy word.”
Motherhood gives us an image (albeit an imperfect one) of the divine love for us: sacrificial, devoted, and steadfast. We can only practice the ministry of motherhood because God himself loves us so completely and didn’t think twice about giving up his very life that we might live.
Let’s be real, motherhood is really hard. There have been so many moments when I have wanted to scream, cry, and give-up. It changes everything, however, to know that this is a ministry, that this is a divine calling. Jesus knows, understands, and is the driving force behind this work. And perhaps, most importantly, that all this service we do, he does it all and so much more for us.
So, my fellow mothers, let this encourage you in your work. It’s sacrificial, it’s challenging, but it’s God’s work, so be courageous, and committed, just as God is to us. For we do this work, not in our strength, but because he loves us so tenderly, so devotedly, that we can love our children with that same love. Motherhood is ministry. Every late night, every frenzied morning, we are following a divine call. Remember, all that tireless, unseen, and unacknowledged service – God sees it all and is deeply pleased.
And, how about that amazing little girl? Let’s be more like her, with our heads bent in the direction of our savior, always listening to his voice. May every step of our lives might be guided by his devoted love and faithful instruction. So that, with his help, we too can navigate the chaos and challenges of this life with a tightrope walkers grace.
Happy Mother’s Day to all, and be encouraged in the great work you are doing!