I’ve carried this picture in my wallet for thirty years. It’s me and my mom, no doubt fresh from some summer shenanigans.
I lost my mother not long after this picture was taken, due to the connective tissue disorder that I inherited from her. I was eleven, she was thirty-seven. Losing my mother at an early age taught me to look for motherly love in unconventional places, and what I’ve learned is that mothers are all around. A mother is born not just when they bring physical life into this world, but when they place someone else’s needs in front of their own. A mother is born when she brings comfort, when she teaches truth, and when she covers needs, from the most basic to the most frivolous. Motherly love isn’t bound by genetics and the truth is, I have more mothers than I can count.
You’re a mom too, you know. How do I know? Because I know you’ve taken the courageous leap of faith to trust God with your hard stuff and to watch Him to bring about something new from it all. Any kind of labor + new birth = motherhood. Maybe you’ve labored through the death of a loved one and waited patiently as God turned your grief into peace. Maybe you’ve processed a difficult diagnosis and then held someone else’s hand as they did the same. Maybe you’ve nurtured a bucket-list dream and watched it come alive. In all of these ways, you’ve become a mother to new life.
If you had asked me at twelve what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said: be a mom to as many children as I can have…but definitely at least four. I am the mother of one child today, and I used to let my own perceived stigma of being the parent of an only child bother me. But the reality is that opportunities to be a mother stare us down every single day, whether you’ve carried a child in your womb or not. And I am thankful to the women who recognized this earlier than I did. I am who I am today because of their collective motherly love over me.
So get out there and look for opportunities. This world needs an army of mothers to rise up and usher fresh, new life into the darkest of corners. Bring comfort. Teach truth. Cover needs. Labor through it all. And watch God do something amazing with your mothering.
Happy Mother’s Day. I am thankful for you.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.