Motherhood has become the single most productive spiritual discipline I’ve ever engaged in practice.
Over the course of Christian history, it has been the martyrs, canonized Saints and Popes that garner the adoration of the faithful. And I wonder, if this is by Intelligent design.
It makes sense to me that the very thing our religion and our culture tends to take for granted, the commonest of all human roles, is that which so prominently bears the image of an immanent yet transcendent Deity.
Motherhood can be blissful. It can send a woman into moments of transcendent joy. But it can also be pain, and can bring with it a grief unlike any other.
The one charged with bringing human life into the world is sometimes the one called to accompany that life as it crosses over from this realm. Nothing, absolutely nothing is more difficult to endure.
Gain and loss. Joy and pain. The bittersweetness of Motherhood can teach us more about the nature of God than any traditional Seminary education.
I am reminded.
In seeking to answer another call, I was trying to run from my first one.
When loss started to wash over me in waves, I planned my own ‘holy’ escape.
And, God let me.
When the storm started to rage around me, I found myself being thrown overboard.
I should have drowned. But, I didn’t;)
Instead, I have been spit out onto the shores of my very own Ninevah.
(Poor Jonah. I can relate so much better with him now.)
Being a mother forces me to deal with my own selfishness. Being a homeschooling, SAHM, even more so. It hurts my heart that I can still be quick to anger with the ones I love most in the world. It hurts my heart to see just how selfish and cruel the world is to the least of these.
Being a mother that seeks after the heart of God, I cannot deny that my children do not belong to me. As with the vine and its shade enjoyed by Jonah, God can remove the object of our delight and call our children home without warning. They belong to Him.
It would have been so much easier to be a Pastor. Fewer hours. Actual monetary compensation. Recognition.
It was so much easier to cart my kids off to ‘professionals’ to be educated and supervised. Even though, it quickly became apparent that not one professional had the time and patience my kiddos needed in order to learn and grow. It was my duty. My responsibility. My calling to speak their hearts from potential to actual.
God must chuckle at me. At how ridiculous I am as a human being. Here, in my family I created with God, is the most productive path to my own perfection. And in running towards the external attainment of the role of spiritual leader, I ran away from the very calling God intended to shape me for that role.
Sure, some days it feels like dying… But if it is to my own selfish ambition that I am dying to, then surrendering to Motherhood is the only discipline that will yield to me the spiritual perfection I long for.
Motherhood will not always require all of my heart, body, and mind. But right now it does. I can accept that God’s idea of spiritual growth is not the same as mine. I can accept that what the world values is an abomination to God. I can accept it now, because I see.