I have had the privilege of being mothered for fifty one years. I have had the joy of watching my six children experience the same benefits of being mothered for 28 years. There is a certain security in being mothered.
While ‘being mothered’ may stir up certain feelings of animosity among the offspring of certain wicked, negative, controlling, or hovering types of nagging mothers, being mothered positively provides security in shaky world.
I have a number of friends, parishioners, and acquaintances who lost their mothers to the grave. At crucial moments of their lives their secure world was left shattered. The tender moments of childhood and young adulthood welcome the timelessness of a nurturing mother. But when time runs out and that mother breathes her last, those children and young adults meet with significant moments in their life, sometimes life changing and devastating moments. C.S. Lewis lost his mother at age nine. He wrote in his autobiography Surprised by Joy, “With my mother’s death all settled happiness . . . disappeared from my life. There was to be much fun, many pleasures, many stabs of joy; but no more of the old security. It was sea and islands now; the great continent had sunk like Atlantis.” Stretches of sea interspersed with islands is the measure of a life without being mothered.
It may not be a secure experience for all who are mothered, but for those of us who have shared in God’s common and special grace, being mothered is like traveling on land from one rest stop to the next. Mothers provide security in a shaky world because they lead us home.
All God’s creatures are made for a home. We were made for a secure home with provision and protection, nurture and care. The glory of a mother is in carrying out her calling to secure this home for her children. It is not the home of HGTV or Southern Living, but the home of warmth, love, care, and communion. It may be a tent in the desert where tears are wiped away or a suburban palace where tantrums are firmly and gently handled in wisdom. These secured mothered homes direct us home.
We all know we were made for a home. God placed his first parents in a garden to create a home for their offspring. Their distrust and rebellion in that garden lead them out into a wasteland exercised to all the foolishness of their transgressions and creature worship. But God promised a way home. The way home through the offspring of the virgin mother. A secured home, a garden city, provided through the life, death and resurrection of the seed of the woman, was the blessing promised to all the nations. He would come from heaven through the channel of the womb of a mother. He would come to lead her home by convicting her of sin and leading her to himself for righteousness. He would lead her and a countless number to security in the midst of ravaged selves and a ravaged world. Our souls wrestle until they find their rest in him.
Everyone is restless trying to get home. Everyone who works a long day, travels on a plane or a bus, wrestles over a math test, avoids the bully on the playground or eats breakfast at the hotel, is trying to get home. Mothers lead us to that security of home. They are not the real security we are seeking, but we know it’s through them that we find pictures, buds, images and reflections of it. Their nurturing, love, care, kindness, gentleness, patience, wisdom, shrewdness, caution, industry point us to a home beyond themselves. A joy filled security that is beyond them. A security we seek in their Creator, Sustainer and Savior, whether they have acknowledged him or not they are directing us there.
Timothy, the young pastor and disciple of the Apostle Paul, lived in the secure world of a mother who lead him home. Paul writes to him reminding him of the faith of his mother that now dwelt in him (2Tim.1:5). Eunice had been mothered by Lois who had lead her home. Timothy had been taught God’s sacred writings since childhood and it was these writings that the Spirit of God used to lead Timothy by faith to Jesus Christ for salvation (2Tim.3:15). Being mothered was a good thing for Timothy. It lead him to peace with God where he constantly stood in his grace, hoped in his glory and was settled upon God as his joy (Rom.5:1-11). Being mothered leads to security in a shaky world. For some like Timothy it is direct, but for others like C.S. Lewis it’s in seeing he was being lead home all the way though through shadows.
Motherhood is a gift and a calling to lead children securely home.