Sometimes, being a mom hurts.
Ok, I lot of times. There is something about being a mom that puts intense pressure on one’s heart. There are moments of intense hurt, fear, burden and even grief. This is part of having a mother’s heart. Honestly, I don’t think this is something men will ever understand. There are places in a mom’s heart that are so tender, so intense, that the slightest provocation can bring tears to our eyes or leave gaping wounds. Often, we keep this to ourselves as a way of protecting our kids and possibly ourselves.
Why am I rambling about the heartbreak of being a mother? Lately, I’ve been hearing Abba talk to me about spiritual mothering. Honestly, I think he is issuing a call to many of us in this season to become spiritual mothers. Some of us, like Sarah, are past “childbearing years” and yet, he is calling us to be mothers again (or perhaps, for the first time!). He is asking us to nurture a new generation of young women, to model intimacy with Jesus and live out the supernatural in a way that inspires and instructs others. And this call is not one to take lightly. In fact, it comes with all the pain and burden of having a mother’s heart.
God has given us hearts of flesh, in order to love and feel and express his heart. And whether you have heard this taught before or not, it’s true: God has a tender, mother’s heart. You see, God is neither male nor female….he is both male and female. He is a Mother and a Father. He is both masculine and feminine. Please realize this does not diminish who God is as Father but rather explains how he also has the tender heart of compassion of a nurturing mother.
I hope you can stick with me, because this is vitally important. This facet of Who God is has been largely overlooked by Christian teaching. I mean, every pronoun is masculine, how dare we imply God is not a man! I’m not suggesting we start calling God “her,” but I am suggesting that there is a whole other side to his heart that is decidedly feminine. In Christ, there is neither male nor female, isn’t that what it says? It’s not the absence of either, but the inclusion of both.
Friend, as a woman of God, you share and understand a part of his heart that the other half of the Body cannot. The Mother Heart of God feels deeply, carries burdens and even brokenness inflicted by his children. The child’s pain becomes his own, something we understand all too well as moms.
I’ve shared this with some of you, but I think the hardest thing I have ever had to do is stand with my own son and daughter-in-law as they grieved the loss of a baby at 15 weeks. And then three years later, to do the whole thing again when they lost another at 20 weeks. There are no words to describe the pain in those moments; I call it “compound pain.” Pain at my own loss, a loss which pales in comparison to feeling the pain in my son’s heart. This is something the feminine heart knows too well.
I believe that is why Jesus’ own mom is so visible, especially in the last days of his life. God was emphasizing the mother’s heart, even paralleling it with his own pain and loss as Jesus suffered and died on the Cross. What mother hasn’t wept as she watched the portrayal of Mary crying out as Jesus suffered? This is pain we know too well, the pain of loving someone so intensely even thought they may hurt us, reject us, and most likely never understand the depth of love and compassion we carry. (That is until they become parent’s themselves…).
To be asked to be a spiritual mother is no light calling. It brings with it all the emotion and even anguish that comes with being a mother in the natural. There is a burden, a heaviness even, as we bear the responsibility of raising sons and daughters into their identity in Christ and the fullness of their inheritance. As the mother heart of God, we will face and feel these sorts of wounds and burdens for those we are called to mother. Their pain will become our own. We will suffer and grieve alongside them, for this is the nature of having a mother’s heart and a mother’s calling.
And friends, I have good news and bad news for you! You, too, are called to carry the mother heart of God, to become a spiritual mother and raise up a new generation into the deep, true things of God.
The bad news is, it will probably hurt at times.
Of course, there is more to mothering than pain. There is sweetness and satisfaction. Intense joy and pleasure. It’s like nothing else you can experience as an adult; another perk of being a woman and understanding the sheer delight our Father has in just being with his kids. It is an honor to carry this mother heart of our Father, to express his unconditional love and faith in others, to help them see their true identity, their glorious gifts and strengths, how purely they reflect the image of their heavenly father.
This may be a lot to take in today, friend. But I do hope you will sense the Father’s heart in this. Another voice in the Body of Christ is sensing the same thing: “You are NOW to become a spiritual mother. You are to raise up every person to whom God sends you into his inheritance. You are to encourage, equip and build up from your doorstep to the ends of the earth. This is your assignment.” (Jamie Rohrbaugh, From His Presense Blog, 12/29/20)
I encourage you to sit with this for a bit; explore whether this word might be for you in this season of life you are in. This call to spiritual mothering is not for the weak, and it’s not about making casseroles or crafting. It’s about coming alongside brave young women who need someone to stand with them in difficult seasons, to show tough love when needed and who will believe in who they are and who they are made to be whether they can see it or not. Again, this is an honor, friend. One I believe he is calling us to carry together.
Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash