Profound Motherhood | By Denise McAndrews
I don’t know if this ever happens to you: you have a profound thought but it’s not convenient to write it down and later you only remember that you had an amazing epiphany but not the details. This happened to me one morning last spring.
Several days later, I asked God to help me remember the understanding He had given me. (The older I get, the more I rely on John 14:26; God’s promise to remind me). While I was asking God to help me remember, I grabbed some cheese from my lunch box and there, written on the package, was a note from God saying:
“All cows are moms! Before they have a calf, they are called heifers.”
I just about jumped out of my seat! I wonder, since God owns all the cattle on the hills, was He there (in the corner, kind of snickering) when the package was printed? Clearly, He planned to put it in my hands.
Now that might not sound like much to you. But, in one sentence, that package encapsulated what God had downloaded into my heart about Mothers days prior. In fact, I was so excited about the phrase, and so touched by God’s reminder, I told almost everyone I met that week! And, that’s when I was asked to write something for this blog.
Now, I feel I need to qualify what I am about to say or at least brace you for something that may either require evidence or be overly simplistic. Take it as you may. But, don’t take it until you pray. God may show you something amazing and simple even if He has to write it on a package of cheese for you.
What’s in a Name?
When you became a mother, you were given a new name; you were given the name, “Mom.” This is Mom with a capital “M.” And, like in marriage or when you became a Christian, a new name implies a new identity. Your name and personal identity go hand-in-hand. And, once you became a mother, at least one person was destined to call you “Mom.” (Yes, I am using the cow analogy. You love the cheese-package story now, right?)
There are important distinctions about names that sometimes get muddled up with the roles we play. “Mom” as a name, is not an additional role like sister, student, employee, child, or even wife. The difference between roles of a mom and the name Mom are easily misconstrued because many people perform the roles of a mom. In fact, you can be Mom and “a mom” to someone. It is when there is no Mom, that the role of mom is so valuable.
To embrace Mom as an identity means to realize that mom-ness permeates your every fiber. To fulfill the role of mom implies a portion of your life or time or effort. Roles may be temporary. Mom is not. Becoming Mom changes you.
Not only does the word “Mom” identify who you are but it has the power to define what a mother is to your child. Since you are Mom to your child, you are your child’s definition of a mom. It is something like a math equation: to your child, you are Mom (You = Mom). Therefore, Mom equals You to your child. Make no mistake, to your child, you are “Mom.” It is who you are from the moment you became Mom. And, you are always Mom to your child even apart from age and life.
Many times, young mothers (and older ones too) struggle with identity issues. To be Mom, the things you used to do with your time and money are often exchanged for other things because you are Mom. (Not to mention your body no longer looks or feels like it’s yours.) Becoming Mom doesn’t mean you are required to give up all other identities. Yet, there are times when the new identity can feel like an unfair trade and even a sacrifice. This part doesn’t last forever.
Whenever God calls for a sacrifice, the return from Him is always far greater. Our best example of this is God’s love for the world that is so great that He gave His only Son so that anyone who believes in Him will have everlasting life. The return for this is incomprehensible. And, while I can’t say the sacrifices you make to be Mom feel like that type of a return, the return can be amazing!
When my children were young, I thought about the sacrifices I made to be Mom. Now that my children are older, and have children of their own, I can’t picture myself not being their Mom. There is no sacrifice too great compared to the gain I received in exchange for being Mom.
Your identity as Mom has the powerful potential to envelop you and wrap itself into the fabric of your very being. It is significant, impactful, and lasting. Without embracing it as an identity, you will miss the very blessing God intended it to be.
Here’s a bit of trivia: The moons of other planets have names other than “moon.” But, the name of the moon that orbits the Earth is “Moon.” (Now we have a cow and a moon story! I see a theme here.)
It’s clear that this issue of identity is mysterious and that sometimes, it doesn’t manifest as deep, sacrificial love. Selfish desires or seeking to protect ourselves from rejection cause us to avoid love. But, only love protects. To get a Mother’s (or Father’s) heart, we must move towards love or at least lean into it until we can shift our weight completely so that we are standing firmly, secure in our decision to love no matter what. This is what God desires of us.
So often we don’t love deeply because we don’t know we are loved deeply by God. We need to ask God to help us know and remember His love for us. In that, we can overcome hurt and be free to love others and not count the sacrifice as a cost greater than the returns.
Denise is a mom, a Grammy (and a Mimi). She is a sister, a daughter, a wife, a friend, a co-worker, and a lover of Jesus Christ. Little fun fact (posted by her daughter Bethany) Denise was co-founder of the original Classical Academy (yes, THE Classical Academy). She homeschooled her three children and loves educating.