Tuesday, June 28, 2011


What's that old saying about the grass being greener... or how about we always want what we don't have?  These are often thrown around as funny quotes when bemoaning straight vs. curly hair or jealousy over a friend's new car or house.  They sound a bit different and carry more weight if we apply them to real life, real world, really hard situations in life.  One situation this is often true is with regard to motherhood.  
Not that I have a huge amount of wisdom here, but I have made some observations about us women as we struggle with motherhood, specifically how and when this title is bestowed upon us.  There are more issues surrounding this topic than I can even know, but when thinking about myself and my circle of friends I know of the following types of women:

Moms of one child
Moms of many children
Moms of many, many children
Moms of young children
Moms of old children
Moms of children with children of their own
Moms of children who have died tragic deaths
Moms who lost children as stillbirths and miscarriages
Moms who lost their child to cancer and disease
Moms who lost their child to suicide
Moms of children with chronic diseases
Moms of healthy children
Moms of handicapped children
Moms of autistic children
Moms who want more children
Moms who want more children who can't have them
Moms who want more children but their doctors tell them it's not safe to conceive
Moms who don't want more children but are unexpectedly pregnant
Moms who have children born of other women, some in other states, some in other countries, some from other members of their own family, some from previous marriages of their spouse
Moms who have children they have brought into their home for a short amount of time, foster moms, for example
Moms who have had no problems or extraordinary circumstances surrounding motherhood
Women who want to be moms so bad they hurt way down deep in their hearts
Women who want to be moms but their husbands say "No"
Women who want to be moms, but their husbands have left them or are involved with other women

Quite a list, and I'm quite sure I have only scratched the surface of possibilities out there.  However, I know that for many of these types of women motherhood is not something only to be celebrated annually in May or enjoyed each time they hear "Mom" from their child's mouth.  For many, especially those for whom motherhood is somewhat elusive, the whole subject of motherhood can be very painful.  

As our family has been swimming in the pool of the processes surrounding parenthood for the past 7 years (and yes, I only have a single 3 year old child) we have run the gamut of emotions surrounding these issues from sorrow, frustration and complete and utter joy.  We have prayed and read and praised and begged and been thankful and surprised and at peace.  Through it all, I have so far learned 3 important things about God and maybe His opinion about some of these issues.

1) This is an issue because of "The Fall"- yes- Adam and Eve, specifically the curse after sin entered the world.  "To the woman He said, 'I will make your pains in childbirth very severe.'" Gen. 3:16  Because of the second part of this verse, it is often applied to childbirth itself,  though I would argue that the implications could and have been applied to the entire process from desire to delivery and beyond.

2) God is in complete control of this entire process regardless of expectations, hopelessness or modern science.  In Hosea 9:11, God declares that there will be "No birth, no pregnancy, no conception" in order to punish the Israelites for their unfaithfulness.  In the stories of Hannah (mother of Samuel- 1 Samuel chapter 1), Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist - Luke chapter 1), Sarah (mother of Isaac- Genesis chapters 16, 17,18 and 21) and most obviously Mary (mother of Jesus - Luke the end of chapter 1)  God shows His sovereignty over this whole parental process.  Whether we choose to believe Him and trust His sovereignty is another story.

3) His intention is that He alone is worshipped not parenthood, the desire to be parents, the love of our children or any other thing that takes our attention off of Him and onto ourselves.  In Ezekiel 8:14 God points out women mourning for Tammuz (an ancient god of fertility) and calls the practice detestable.  This is in a chapter dedicated to pointing out idolatry in the hearts of God's people.  He is pretty clear in His word that He is a jealous God and that He alone is worthy of our praise.  See: Exodus 20:5 and 34:14, Psalm 78:58, Revelation 15:3-4

May we as women seek to be all God has called us to be, including in those issues surrounding children and towards those in our spheres of influence.  May we even more seek to glorify Him and Him alone in our motives, affections, thoughts and aspirations.  

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