Lessons of Motherhood: A Love Like His

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I still keep kind of forgetting that this holiday and that word, “mother,” apply to me now. I am a mother to a beautiful little boy who lights up my world when he smiles and melts my heart into a puddle when he reaches out his arms to me. People tell you before you have a baby to prepare to love someone like you’ve never loved someone before and it’s true.

It’s funny how much I love him really given how little I really know about him. I know the way he smells and the way he smiles, but there’s still so much I don’t know, like what kind of books he’ll like or his sense of humor or his favorite subject in school. There’s a lot left to know about him, but one thing I do know. I know that he’s mine and for that I love him wholly and completely.

After he was born, the thing I kept thinking was, I’ve never been so sure that I would die for someone as I am that I would die for him. If it was him or me, I’d choose him. If he was in trouble or danger, I would take his place. No questions asked. Because he’s my child. Because selflessness and love are two different words for the same thing.

Isn’t this how God has loved us in Christ? I think back to the Garden of Eden and how right after the fall, God immediately promises to send Jesus (Genesis 3:15). He didn’t have to think about it. He didn’t have to weigh his options and decide if we were worth it. No, the instant He saw that His children were headed for death, Jesus stepped up to the plate and said, “I will take their place.  I will do whatever it takes, pay any price that they may live.” His plan was always to save us.

I know I will not love my son perfectly as God loves us. I know it will not always be easy or fun to love him. I know that real love is costly and hard, but I’m thankful for the privilege of being his mother and for this small, but clearer glimpse into the love of our Savior who so eagerly, so willingly paid the high price to purchase us as His own.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.” Psalm 103:11-13

Lessons of Motherhood: The Little Life I Never Dreamed Of

The words to an old Switchfoot song have been playing through my head lately. “This is your life. Are you who you wanna be? This is your life. Is it everything you dreamed that it would be when the world was younger and you had everything to lose?” I think that song was out when I was in middle school or high school. I always liked it, but the words hit me differently now than they did then. I recently turned twenty-six. To my pessimistic self, that means I’m basically thirty, which means I’m basically old. Okay, I know I’m not really old, but I am older. My youth is passing away.

I remember when I went to college how big the world seemed, how full of endless possibility. I had dreams and visions for my life: who I was going to marry, where I was going to live, what I was going to do. I, of course, was going to do big, important things. By twenty-six I’d probably have gotten my Ph.D., written a best-selling book that changed the world, you know, those kind of things. I wanted to live my life for God, but I assumed that meant I had to live it loudly.

The funny thing about choices though is that they have a way of narrowing our lives and eliminating possibilities. I’ve made my choices. This is my life. I’m certainly not unhappy with it, but it is smaller than I expected. It mostly consists of the four walls of my home where I pass my days with my baby boy. I don’t have a Ph.D. I haven’t written a best-selling book. In fact, I haven’t done anything of much notoriety at all and perhaps I never will.

What I’ve been learning is that it is harder to be faithful in the mundane, to find the glory in the ordinary, and to follow God through the thickets of the everyday. It is more difficult to lay down your life in the small ways when no one is taking any particular notice. It is likely that few will remember me when I die. No one will chronicle my life with a biography, but my hope and prayer is that my son and any future children will be able to say that they learned grace and wisdom and integrity because I was their mother. I hope they will learn to love the word of God because I taught it to them. I pray that they will know Jesus because they knew me. I pray that I can be faithful with my little life and the little lives entrusted to me.

Lessons of Motherhood: The Burden of Love

There is a new love in my life. He’s about two feet tall. He can’t speak yet, but when he looks at me and smiles, I’m quite certain he’s saying “I love you too.” He’s my son and there are moments when I’m rocking him in my arms and he wraps his tiny fingers around mine that I am completely overwhelmed and almost a little scared by how much I love him.

Our society has trivialized love to the point of making it almost meaningless. We have reduced it to nothing more than fleshly instinct, insatiable lust, and a high of warm and fuzzy feelings. Motherhood is teaching me that real love is made of much weightier stuff. To really, truly love someone is a burden.

I have a vision for my son’s life, things I will hope he will learn and do along with things I hope he will not do. There are pitfalls and painful experiences I pray he will avoid, but I am not naive enough to think that all of this will work out as I plan. He will encounter struggles. He will make mistakes and get hurt. He will probably even hurt me. He could reject my faith and in so doing, reject life and salvation.  His life could even end early and so bring tragedy and sorrow to mine. You see, love makes us vulnerable. It can be painful and costly.

At times I’ve wondered why God created mankind knowing all along how they would reject him and the pain it would cause him, how He would have to suffer for them. I can’t pretend to know God’s mind, but I think I understand it a little now. Even though I realize how loving my son could bring me pain, I know I would never want to erase his life to avoid it. Knowing him and loving him is an unqualified good.

I think that’s how God feels about His children. He created us even knowing all that we would do because he delighted in mankind. Burdened by love, He became the most vulnerable thing on earth: a baby. Though we rejected Him, He embraced pain and sorrow to save us. His love for His children cost Him his life.

So when I look at my son, I know I’m in this all the way. Whatever it takes, I pray I can love him as Christ has loved me, embracing the pain as well as the joy, counting the cost as well as the blessing. I pray I will carry my burden well.

“This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” -1 John 3:16