Today is Mother’s Day. (At least for Americans and Filipinos.)
My thoughts are drawn to my Korean friend. She and her husband have never been able to have children. Most would not consider her a mother. Today, she is flying down to Africa, where she and her husband support a kindergarten full of African children. She gathers materials and supplies for them, provides for them and spends her time with them. She mothers them.
She embodies this passage:
Isaiah 54:1–3 (NLT)
1 “Sing, O childless woman,
you who have never given birth!
Break into loud and joyful song, O Jerusalem,
you who have never been in labor.
For the desolate woman now has more children
than the woman who lives with her husband,”
says the Lord.
2 “Enlarge your house; build an addition.
Spread out your home, and spare no expense!
3 For you will soon be bursting at the seams.
Your descendants will occupy other nations and resettle the ruined cities.
God clearly celebrates those “childless” mothers who mother those God brings their way.
The apostle Paul expressed motherly feelings for the Galatians.
Galatians 4:19 Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives.
Isaiah 54 was clearly in Paul’s mind as he quotes it just 8 verses later. He quotes it in reference to “the Jerusalem above,” that spiritual kingdom of God, which all who believe in Jesus are free to join.
God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. People gauge motherhood by whether or not a woman has physically given birth. But God gauges motherhood differently.
From these passages, I would venture to define spiritual motherhood as labor and sacrifice which results in developing Christ in someone else’s life.
Open your eyes. What “children” has God placed around you that need your labor and sacrifice in order to reach a new level of knowing Christ?
And if God has blessed you with physical children, please understand: taking care of their physical, emotional and social needs is not sufficient! To truly mother them, you must nurture and guide their souls, leading them ever closer to Jesus and His Kingdom.