A Forever Mother
A Forever Mother
I hear it more with my heart than with my ears. It is faint at first, but grows steadily more robust as I move in its direction. Branches seem to be entangling me like spider webs, their little thorns painting droplets of blood on my skin. There is nothing I can do but move each one out of the way of my eyes so that I can see the ground in front of me. It cries again and I feel my pulse quicken to the point that I have to stop to catch my breath. This brief moment of surrender to the here and now allows me time to notice the physical pain I feel in my heart. I can almost see with my eyes what my heart must be feeling:
I see a big mountain of stone with tiny pebbles rolling down, one by one, onto the ground. A big, eruptive sound bounces off the massive rock as it splits in two, right down the middle. It is breaking and there seems to be no way to stop the chaos. If that mountain could hope, if it could feel, it would be pulled like a magnet toward any source of relief. That mountain would ache to be put back together again. It would run, if it could, to the source of pain to beg for mercy.
Wiping the sweat from my eyes, I begin to run. There is such an attraction to this cry that I could not turn around if I tried. This pull, the physical reaction to what is going on in my heart, reminds me of a time long ago when I was a new mother. Oh that sensation in my breasts as the crying of my baby would trigger the let down of my milk. Amazing how the sounds of a child can have such a physical effect on your body!
A loud, shrill cry brings my mind back to the present and my feet automatically run faster toward the noise. I must be close now! My heart begins to pound like it may burst out of my skin. I am so urgently needed and I so want to bring rescue to stop this awful sound. And then I see it. It all makes sense now-- the crying, the pull, the hunger and the rescue. I am the only one left who can help. I am the only one left who will help. This heap, this pile of nothingness can receive no more. It whimpers in need and in anguish only to fall upon deaf ears. The Giver wishes to help but his gifts lay scattered around the depleted lump like seeds on dry, impermeable soil. It seems too late. But I have something. I carry a tiny seedling of hope deep within my heart. That hope makes my hands gather up the gifts lying at the feet of the bundle. Carefully, oh so carefully, I pick up each one as if they are the most precious things I have ever held. I know they are valuable. I know they need the fertile soil of my heart in which to grow until I can give them back to this hurting soul. I know I must care and tend and water these gifts I hold until it is time. I cherish the promise they hold. I am honored to carry them as a woman with child, nurturing until birth. I lean over and whisper gently in the little ear, “I will not give up on you. I will not quit loving you. For I am a mother of forever pursuit, forever belief and forever love. I am a Forever Mother.”
A beautiful thing happened the other day right smack dab in the middle of a really not so beautiful time with one of my children. It was one of those days we all have as mothers when we feel shame in our circumstances, guilt over what should have been and anger and disappointment over what is not. My child let me down. Big time. I shook my fists at God and screamed, “This!....is not what I wanted!” I can't tell you how many times I have thought to myself, If I had just done that differently… or, If I had praised him more… or, If I had been harder on her… Or, or, or. But lately, I have given up the fight. I have tried everything in my power to fix my child and because it didn't work and because it hurts too much to keep trying, I just gave up and tried to emotionally walk away from the source of my discomfort: my child. I wanted to find a safe corner in the world where the pain of disappointment, guilt and shame could not find me. This is self- preservation at its finest.
It’s funny how God shows us things. Sometimes it’s a gentle, revealing “aha moment” and other times it hits you in the face like a wrecking ball. This one, for me, was more like a face hitter. In running from my child I realized I was withholding the very thing I miss the most about my own Momma: unconditional love. I have missed this every day and in every circumstance since she left this earth. She loved me….no matter what. And somehow, the very thing I want most in life and miss the most in my loss, is the very thing I have been withholding from my children.
Here’s what God showed my heart that day: A mother does not quit loving when her kids are acting unlovable nor does she quit fighting for the heart of a child that may hate her. She is a mother of forever love. A mother of forever pursuit. A mother of forever belief. She is a mother who gathers up the gifts bestowed upon every child of God, and keeps them until her child can grasp them. And she never gives up hope.
Maybe your child is whimpering from that dark place, deep within the trees. Maybe that child is crouched low, sobbing and in need but unwilling to reach out for help. Maybe those very things he needs, like hope or truth or peace are right there on the ground in front of him and he can't see them. But you can. As his mother, you can see all of the gifts our loving Father in heaven has for your child and you can hold them for him until he is able. If we quit running toward the cries of our children to protect ourselves, we will miss a great opportunity. If we are more concerned about our pain and our comfort, we will miss the privilege of standing in the gap for our children. As mothers, we have a big role in this earthly rendition of the gospel!
It is not too late for us mothers who have hidden and wandered into safety. We can still listen for the cries and pursue a path toward our children. We can hold their promises in our hopeful hearts until they themselves believe. And we can quit worrying about having done it all wrong because our children would not need God if we had done it all right. Even a Forever Mother will fail time and time again but we will not give up on trying. We get back up. We step back into the forest where we hear the cries and we pursue again. We are mothers of forever love. We are Forever Mothers.