And all at once she became a mother.
Do any of you mothers reading this remember when your first little babe was placed in your arms? Everything spinning, nurses moving here and there — but all you can do is stare at that little pink face. It’s truly one of the most life-changing moments and a gift from God. For those reading this that have yet to experience that first baby, please know that many have walked where you’ve walked and you’re not alone. The point of all this is really not to talk about motherhood in the natural, but, because it’s the season I’m in, it’s where I’ve decided to start.
Bringing our son home from the hospital was so surreal; in my mind I thought I knew how everything was going to go. He was going to sleep in his bassinet all night (LOL), gain weight quickly, never fuss, nap when I needed to get things done…boy, was I unprepared. The first several weeks postpartum were full of tears and many prayers as I navigated this strange new world. It was much messier than I had imagined; oftentimes the only thing I would get done in a day was keep my baby fed and changed. His needs forced me to slow down and place fewer expectations on my productivity. As hard as this can be at times, myself and mothers the world over will tell you that it’s also the most fulfilling thing you’ll ever do. There's something about giving yourself completely to a precious baby, knowing that someday they’ll be grown and their success as an adult in many ways will depend on you. It’s daunting, it’s your undoing, it’s holy work. I learned very quickly that the “mama intuition” is a real and powerful thing. It’s God-given, regardless of personality or education. It doesn’t all happen overnight though. Sure, the title of mother was there the moment my baby was placed in my arms, but learning how to mother takes some time. Over the next few weeks, I learned how to be a nurse, a comforter, a cheerleader — and how to adapt quickly to whatever new needs arise as my little sidekick grows bigger by the day.
As has been well explained by many an anointed preacher, the church is the “mother” of us all. We all have one Father and His Bride is our mama. Like earthly mothers, she doesn’t get it all right, all the time. That selflessness doesn’t happen overnight. But she is a cheerleader, an advocate, a comfort, and a nurturer of the soul. She has to be willing to get involved in the “mess” of peoples’ lives, to minister to a hurting heart and to cherish the seemingly insignificant work. In the church you may “only” be a janitor or “only” part of the tech team, but you are doing holy work. It is slow, it can be challenging sometimes, and it goes unseen. But, much like a mother who is changing diapers in a dark room at three in the morning, you are making an eternal impact whether you realize it or not. The new convert that stumbles along needs a strong, tender mama to come alongside and offer encouraging words of wisdom. The seasoned saint that’s grown weary needs strength from the mother, the Bride of Christ. The mother must learn how to be an encourager, a mender, a comforter, a listening ear, a safe place and a strong advocate for truth. She may not be an expert on the latest foreign policies or hold a doctorate of education in psychology, but she is an expert on taking care of her “babies”. Whatever is needed, the church should rise to the occasion, standing in the gap.
You may or may not be a mother in the natural, but you are part of the Body of Christ, whose role is to nurture people in their walk with the Lord. To birth new babies in the supernatural that will grow in their maturity in Christ to become fruitful themselves. To advocate for the broken. Don’t take this role lightly! It’s holy work, often unseen, sometimes overwhelming. You, reader, are part of this role. Regardless of education, income, or background, you can stand in the gap and make an eternal difference.
Mothering both in the natural and the supernatural requires selflessness, something that isn’t acquired overnight. You may have been a part of the Body for years but have not learned how to tenderly care for new babies in Christ. In what ways, today, can you work on flexing your selfless muscle? Could you call the couple that’s just started coming to your church and invite them over for dinner? Could you commit to a Bible study with a coworker? Could you give some things away to a family in need? Could you give of your time and take a young person out for coffee and godly conversation? Stepping into your place in the Body of Christ and building people is the most fulfilling work you’ll do. In the mess, in your own seasons of weariness, you’ll acquire some riches as a direct result of your sacrifice and care.