Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pondering Motherhood

The day Caleb was born, they put him into my arms and I looked at him and thought, "Oh! This is what I've been looking for my whole life!" What I was lacking wasn't any of the things society said I should be pursuing--college degrees, jobs, money, prestige--it was children! I didn't know that I longed to be a mother. I had never, ever thought of it that way before Caleb showed up.

With a new baby in the house, it seems reasonable that my mind would be on motherhood again.

It feels like motherhood is really looked down upon in our culture. People delay starting families so they can have a career, people have fewer children and farm them off to daycares so they can pursue their adult interests. Children are increasingly  unwelcome in places like restaurants and hotels.

And nobody really thinks you're amazingly awesome for having more than 3 kids. They just think you're nuts. And 7 kids? Well, that's not a crown of jewels and honor, by any stretch. I mostly feel like a circus sideshow act when we go out in public. The thing I hear from most people is, "I could NEVER do that," with the subtext being "nor would I want to"--because being a checker at the grocery store is so much more fulfilling? (It always strikes me as sad that women have been trained to think they are too weak to do something as integral to woman-ness as raise children, but that's another post for another day).

Having children should be an honor and privilege and a joy. It should be something society values and supports.

At least it is that to God.

God says that His work and glory is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of Man.  And we all know He did that through Jesus.

But do we ever sit and think about the fact that He couldn't do that without women being willing to be pregnant and have babies?  Immortality is a free gift, thanks to Jesus, given to every person who is born on this earth.

But you have to be born. And that requires a woman willing to carry a baby and birth it, just to give it a body--no small sacrifice, mind you. Being pregnant is NOT fun or easy for most of us, and 9-12 months of downright torture for many. But that is the only way for a person to get a body, and therefore to get access to Jesus' gift of immortality.

In other words, God's work and glory aren't even possible without mothers.

And God didn't make us like many animals, who are born and then hop up and get going on their lives, independent of parents. He made us born weak and fragile and incredibly dependent for many, many years. Why? Because of the second part of his work: eternal life. Being raised in a family is the way God has chosen to give His children the very best shot at eternal life, or returning to live in God's own presence for eternity (which is what He wants for us). Jesus made it possible; parents doing their job right make it easier (parents doing their job wrong make it much harder, though, but the benefits of good parenting must have been worth the risk of some people getting bad parents). And it gives obvious benefit to parents. This is the most right thing we ever do--for our children and for us (because we are, in fact, God's children, too).

No wonder they call motherhood the highest and holiest calling women will have! No wonder this feels like hands-down the most important work I will ever do. This is my greatest chance--even greater than going on a mission--to partner with God to help bring to pass His work and His glory.

Too bad our culture seems hell-bent on stopping women from doing this work at all! And, just in case women do decide to have children (and most still do), our culture works very hard to confuse them into thinking that motherhood is a house decorating assignment, or a janitorial job, or a fashion design and model-training program, or an assignment to keep people who do extracurricular activities (sports, art lessons, etc) in work, or something that it's perfectly okay to outsource to whomever has a daycare or babysitter license, or a chance to re-live your life through someone else, or an art exercise in sculpting humans to our liking and for our own benefit and glory only. Even women in the church often confuse motherhood with the peripheral assignments that go along with it. Or they think there is only one way to mother and spend a lot of time teaching that and condemning people who don't do it "right". Sad that there is so little understanding of one of the most important things women ever do. (But of course, Satan would prefer it that way, wouldn't he? Parents are God's "secret weapon," so of course Satan will do anything he can to stop them from understanding and doing their work.)

Thank goodness we have prophets to let us know the truth!

1 comment:

medieval.woman said...

Well said.