Mother verb: to give rise to, to care for, or protect like a mother.
Oftentimes as mothers, we find ourselves playing by unknown rules. Rules that are mysterious, hard, and sometimes downright scary. It can especially be challenging when you are trying to be a GODLY woman and a GODLY mother. As we just celebrated our mothers on Sunday, I got to thinking about how different being a mother can be for different women–and how no one mother looks alike. That is when I came across this definition of the word mother as a verb. I love what it represents and I think it is the strongest base of what a mother truly is in God’s eyes!
In Restless by Jennie Allen she says it well,
“Now obviously, some of the most powerful ministry on this earth is happening through stay-at-home moms and homeroom moms and at Pinterest-worthy dinners at 6:00. These things are noble and not the problem. Certainly, these tasks and thousands of others have to get done in homes, schools, and offices, whether we feel passionate about them or not. The problem is not in these roles or duties themselves; the problem is when these things turn into man-made rules mandatory for godly women…Judgement is happening in a million forms in a million places. The rules seem to change in each church, each city, each country, even throughout history in each generation. Women, we are so dang hard on each other. We have to stop. We are in the midst of a generation laced with social and gender pressures. The weight of “the rules” for women in the church, home and workplace are so heavy, I think we forget how all the different pressures are carried into nearly every choice we make, nearly every dream we dream. If we are all obeying God with our unique gifts and visions, our dreaming, our obedience, then our roles should look beautifully diverse. We each look unique on the outside, and I assure you we are even more intricately designed on the inside.”
Intricately designed…beautifully diverse! Yes! We are!
So let me share with you just how diverse being a GODLY woman and mother (v) can be.
Catherine Hamlin has led an amazing life, God gave her such a passion and a gift for what she does you cannot ignore the blessings she has poured out in His name. She is an Obstetrician who co-founded the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. This hospital is so unique because of the way Catherine and her husband worked to not only serve their patients, but to show them that they are loved and valued. They provide free obstetric fistula repair surgery to poor women suffering from childbirth injuries. Catherine and her husband also created a non-profit called Hamlin Fistula that helps to support the hospitals needs, as well as midwife training for villages around Africa. At Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital they have treated over 34,000 women for the obstetric fistula! I don’t know about you but that number BLOWS ME AWAY and absolutely humbles me to my core. You have to understand a little bit about the culture of what these women go through when they suffer from the obstetric fistula to get the full impact of this. They are often left out for “trash,” dragged out into the woods to be left for the wolves, disowned by their families, these women walk THOUSANDS of miles at times to get the care they need at this hospital. It is also unique because it is an educational hospital. Many of the nurses and obstetricians who practice there were former patients trained by Hamlin herself. Later in life, she dreamed of Desta Mender. Desta Mender is a rural village near the hospital for women with severe injuries that are not able to be cured completely, here they are provided with long-term care, training as nurses aides, rehabilitation, and training for income generating activities like farming. Desta Mender allows these women to continue life with dignity and have a home where they are never forgotten. The women who are treated always walk away with a beautiful new dress, just another way they are given a new life. To me, Catherine Hamlin has been the Godly mother to over 34,000 women and their children since Addis Ababa opened their doors! I am humbled by her continued devotion. Although she is in her nineties now–she still works every day to better the lives of these women. Yes, she was married. Yes, she has a son and has grandchildren. But her life has been devoted to this hospital, its cause, and these women in Ethiopia–because that was the calling that God gave her. As a result, her legacy will live on and so will the grace that is Hamlin Fistula. That is something BEAUTIFUL.
So what about an unmarried woman, who is young? Yes, they can be a mother (v) also.
Katie Davis is courageous. She stepped out in faith in a way that makes me a little breathless. When she was eighteen (yes, I said EIGHTEEN!) she went to Uganda for the first time, the next year she went back to teach school to young children for a summer and decided to move to Uganda for good and leave her lovely SAFE life in Tennessee behind. She went on to start a child sponsorship program to educate children in Uganda, formed a non-profit called Amazima Ministry International and adopted three orphaned girls…she has now adopted ten more daughters. “Amazima” means truth in the native language of Uganda where she lives. Katie has started feeding programs that serve 1,200 children Monday-Friday, she developed a self-sustaining vocational program where women are empowered to help provide for their families by making beaded necklaces to sell. Katie says, “People tell me I am brave. People tell me I am strong. People tell me good job. Well here is the truth of it. I am really not that brave. I am really not that strong, and I am not doing anything spectacular. I am just doing what God called me to do as a follower of Him. Feed His sheep, do unto the least of His people.” Katie is the mother to thirteen daughters, she has helped multiple villages and families to know more about God through her. And she chose to do it in a completely diverse way, because God called her to. That is BEAUTIFUL.
So what is a mother to you? What did God intend a mother to be? We know that Mary became a mother and was a virgin. It can be such a diverse and yet beautiful thing. It will never be the same for each person. Some mothers are young, some are old. Some have many children some do not have any. That doesn’t mean they aren’t a mother. I think that any GODLY woman is a mother. Because as women God called us to give rise to others! Just know that you are ENOUGH. Without the “rules” and without the cookie cutter. Toss that out the window and chase after the calling that God has laid out for you with all you have. If you don’t know your calling yet then dig deep, pray, and do ANYTHING and you might just find it. There is so much unknown. There is so much that is unclear. Just know that you are ENOUGH because you are His. And if He wants you to be a mother, you ARE.