May 22, 2019

Moms embody grace.

God gives each of us an immediate friend and automatic defender even before birth. This He does—and so does she—without our earning or deserving it. As much as daughters and sons bring His blessings to their parents, so much also do mothers mediate His mercies to their little ones.

But free doesn’t mean cheap, not for God and not for moms. Motherhood costs a woman almost everything. No longer may she live for herself alone. She lends out her very flesh, not to mention her time, attention, and energy. Most often it amounts to hard work. Sometimes it hurts—because of the brokenness of the whole world, because of the fallenness of every child, because of her own sinfulness.

Certain cultural expectations can lay the weight upon particular ladies heavier than others. So, without diminishing our sincere celebration of all mothers, this year we offer our special appreciation for mommies who are affirming life’s worth by enduring these extraordinary circumstances:

Single moms: You perform twice as much parental labor. You press on without the support and presence of the child’s father and the one you once believed to be your beloved. You spare your child the brunt of the abandonment by bearing it yourself. Maybe that desertion happened before giving birth, and you bravely refused the intense internal and external pressure to use death as the solution and terminate your baby. Or maybe the forsaking took place after delivery and in the thick of caring for kids, but you prioritized your children’s well-being over the health of your own romance. With you the Heavenly Father is well pleased.

Stay-at-home moms: You forego financial advantages, occupational advancement, and, in many cases, your own vocational training so that you can devote your whole focus to managing family. You humbly immerse yourself in the less-glamorous tasks of domestic servanthood to enable others’ productivity instead of your personal achievement. You may feel inferior to career women as you endure accusations of undoing feminine progress and assumptions that you have ample free time to volunteer. In your undivided devotion to raising the next generation, you testify directly to the preciousness of children. You shine like the sun in the kingdom of God.

Moms of large families: You stomach the ridicule of both strangers and brothers or sisters in Christ. You forgive the implications that you’re uneducated or irresponsible. You strive to prove that the fifth child matters just as much as the first one and that the same Almighty Maker who sends mouths also supplies the meat they need. You receive each one as an inheritance from the Lord regardless of the additional responsibilities. And you teach us not to treat anyone as an accident or an interruption to be “handled.” Well done, good and faithful servant.

Moms who placed for adoption: You humbly acknowledged that your child required a different mom and home than you could provide. You insisted on what was best for the baby rather than settling for what was easiest. You underwent all the burdens of pregnancy and childbirth without collecting any of its benefits. You took up the cross of grief, one you carry daily if only silently and secretly, in order to save the life of one whom you may never even meet. Great is your reward in heaven.

Moms who conceived by sexual assault: You didn’t get to choose and pursue motherhood. Having it violently forced upon you discolored much of its joy. The trauma left you with not only sorrow but also with great obligation. Nevertheless, you honored the Creator’s call and determined to defend and to redeem the life of the tragedy’s other victim. You declined society’s demand that you penalize the child for the father’s crimes, and you rejected their attempt to label you and your baby “exceptions.” Angelic hosts rejoice to recite your story in their everlasting song.

Ladies suffering infertility: You have the heart, mind, and spirit of a mother even if not the body. You do not despise children just because God has denied them to you. Your hands ache to hold your own baby and yet you still use them to applaud the gift when granted to so many others. You hold motherhood before us as something worth suffering for. Yet you yield your holy desire to the Savior and wait with faith upon the good and gracious will of the Lord, reminding us all that the only identity more sacred than having a child from God is being a child of God.