The Making of a Mother

“I will never stop loving and letting you go. A mother and child live the first great love story and there is no love story without loss, and this is always gain”– Ann Voskamp

I was raised in a single parent home. My mother worked a variety of jobs to support us.  I remember a period when she worked second shift at a factory downtown. My sister and I came home to an empty house.  We watched soap operas after school and ate whatever we had in the refrigerator. When we argued, there was no one there to break it up or referee. We were on our own in many ways because my mom simply could not do it all. She could not be in two places at one time, and the priority was earning an income to keep the roof over our heads.

My childhood experiences formed a powerful mental model of a mother in my mind. When I became a mother at age 20, I knew only two things. One, I bore the responsibility to earn a future for us. Two, I wanted to be there for my children in ways that my own mother had not been. The first was a flat-out lie, and the second was a set up for failure before I even got off to a decent start. The strain of trying to balance these two things would have killed me if God had not intervened in His great mercy.

I am still dazed by the last decade of my life. God has literally turned me upside down, including my understanding of being a mother. He has challenged me to let go of much of my faulty thinking and to really trust Him. It has not been an easy or superficial process. His Word has cut me deeply, to the heart of who I am. God is making me the mother He has called me to be.

I recently heard John Rosemond speak on parenting at a homeschooling convention. In his book, “Parenting by the Book”, he discusses the harm done to American families by the prominent deluge of psychological approaches to parenting than have replaced Biblical principles in increasing measure since the 1960’s. He is not a fan of modern psychology, which is fascinating because he is a licensed psychologist. He is another great example of what happens when God enters a life in mid-swing. He changes us in every facet. Yet, we are amazed by how well He knows us, and how personally He has been directing us all this time – even before we knew it.

John Rosemond calls this psychologically focused parenting style, “Parent Babble”. He compares this to the story in Genesis chapter 11 when men decided to go against God and make their own way. “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves” (Genesis 11:1-4).

I know I have been impacted by the cultural influences that have shaped the collective parenting mind. I spent half my life in a counseling office with my older son, trying this and that, looking for understanding where it cannot be found. The hodgepodge of philosophies confounds parents, leading us astray. This is particularly true when you factor in those mental models I spoke of a minute ago. We have all been shaped by our early life experiences into the mothers we are right now. We have no hope of sorting out the tangled mess apart from God’s grace.

But this is the good news. God is gracious. He is loving, compassionate, kind, and merciful. He is a Redeemer. God sees you, dear mother, right where you are. He knows the experiences and beliefs that have shaped you. He knows the crusade your mother heart is living out right now in the lives of your children. He has not left you helpless or defenseless. He is with you. He wants to make you the mother He has called you to be.

“O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace” (Isaiah 54:11-13).

Culturally speaking, motherhood has taken a beating. Women are like an “afflicted city, lashed by storms.  ” As we try to be the mother God has called us to be, our own thinking condemns us as unworthy. If you are a mother, I hope you will spend some time in serious reflection. Consider how the culture and your own experiences have shaped who you are and what you do, and the impact it has had on your family. God has not left us buried in the lies of the times. He is a God of redemption who has the power and the desire to transform us by faith in Jesus Christ. The precious riches of life are the joy and fulfillment we experience from being the mother He has made us to be. A mother who is willing to embrace her calling is a like a bejeweled city rebuilt by the Lord. She shines brightly for His glory!

And don’t miss the Lord’s promise in that verse. “All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace”. The Lord is teaching your children, even now as you fumble through your mother days. His grace covers all our lack. He is leading our children into eternal peace. This is the greatest hope of every mother heart. Take His Word to heart, mothers. “In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear…See it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work” (Isaiah 54:14, 16).

A mother who knows who she is in the Lord is a powerful weapon in God’s Kingdom. She is free to move with purpose and precision within God’s redemptive purposes for her own life, and the lives of those entrusted to her care. Rise up from the rubble of the dilapidated towers. Shine, sparkling jewels belonging to the heavenly city.  

 “No weapon formed against you will prevail…This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17).

 Make great His glorious name, ye mighty servant warriors of the Lord.

 Happy Mother’s Day!