The room was small and dark, and the noise was loud – so loud.  As a last resort, I had shut myself into the small bathroom of our hotel room, holding my screaming newborn close, trying to do all I could to calm her, but nothing worked.  At that moment, the parenting books with all their wisdom failed me, nothing satisfied whatever was wrong. She was so small, helpless, obviously unhappy, and my goodness, her lungs could produce sound!  Like many new mothers, I was overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, and terrified.  But in that same overwhelming and noisy moment, the words of a song came to my mind.  With nothing left to do, I started to sing it softly over her….

“I lift my eyes up, up to the mountains, where does my help come from? 

My help comes from You, maker of heaven, creator of the earth.  

Oh how I need You, Lord.  You are my only hope.  You are my only prayer. 

So, I will wait for You, To come and rescue me, to come and give me life.” 

(“I Lift My Eyes Up (Psalm 121)” by Brian Doerksen) 

Eventually, she did calm down and that chorus became her “night night song”, a prayer I would sing over her each time she went to sleep.  I sang it over her crib, in her ear in the baby wrap as her warm body rested against mine, in busy airports and the backseats of taxi cabs. I sang it over her a decade later as anxiety was mounting in her heart and she struggled to sleep, and I fully expect to sing it over her many more times in the years to come.  

That simple melody became a necessary reminder that I cannot parent on my own.  For 13 years, I have come to the end of my ability daily and been shown over and over again that I need the Lord.  I need the One who created my children and loves them most to shepherd them through me in the days and years ahead of us.   

But, this truth does not only apply to motherhood.  It was true before I became a mother and will remain true after they all leave home.  No matter what season of womanhood we are walking through, we all need to lift our eyes up, to see our desperate need for the Lord. 

Those walking the road of infertility and wondering if motherhood will ever be a part of their story need the Lord.  The daughters caring for aging mothers or grieving mothers no longer with them need the Lord.  The spiritual mothers who are doing the vital and often unseen work of mentoring and discipling the next generation need the Lord.  We just cannot do any of this without our Father.  And He doesn’t ask us to do it without Him.  

The spectrum of mothers we should celebrate on Mother’s Day is wide and not limited to those connected by biological DNA.  So, wherever you fall in this wide spectrum of motherhood, pause and lift up your eyes.  Can you trust that God is there with you in all the mess?  Can you see that He is there to help you? To rescue you when needed?  Because He is, mama.  He’s got you.  

Breathe in His grace.  His love.  His faithfulness.  His mercy.   

Breathe out His peace.  His strength.  His sustaining power.    

And now, will you pause and ponder a few things with us about motherhood through these reflective journal prompts?   

  1. Where do you fall on the spectrum of motherhood?  Daughter? Mother? Spiritual Mother?  
  2. As you think about your feelings connected to motherhood, are they positive or negative? How do these feelings impact the way you relate to your mother and/or children?  Take some time to process and be kind to yourself.  
  3. If motherhood is a hope you have for the future, what do you need to say to God right now?  He can handle the raw emotions.  He already knows. 
  4. Think of your mother and all the things that make her unique. What is one way you can show her honor? 
  5. Think of the mothers in your life – friends, daughters or family members.   How can you support them and encourage them as they mother? 
  6. If caring for an aging parent, recognize that you are carrying a heavy load right now.  Take a moment to remember some happy memories and write one down here.  Then, write a prayer asking God to sustain you during this difficult season.
  7. If grieving the loss of a mother, we are so sorry.  Take a moment to think of what she taught you, what you never want to forget, and thank God for her life.    
  8. Do you have someone that you would consider a spiritual mother?  (sometimes this is also your mother but not always)  How has your spiritual mother encouraged and supported you?   
  9. Is there someone you could be a spiritual mother to?  What could you do to be a spiritual mother to the children and those younger in the faith around you? 
  10. In the tasks ahead of you, whether it be mothering, grandparenting, caring for aging parents, or tending to spiritual children, are you feeling overwhelmed? Pour it all out to God, ask for help, and remember that being in need is not weakness.  Is there anyone that you can ask for help as you deal with the overwhelm? 
  11. If you could say anything to your mother, what would it be? 
  12. If you could say anything to your children, what would it be?
  13. Who can you reach out to on Mother’s Day to encourage? 

As you walk through the different seasons of womanhood, may you look up and see the divine thread holding you together.  As you pour into your children, may you model your need for Jesus so that they see their need for Him.  As you care for your mother who is not who she once was, may the Lord fill you with His compassion, endurance and ability.  As you grieve your mother who is gone too soon, may you find comfort in your Father as He grieves with you.  As you interact with others created in the image of God, may you be authentic, allowing them to learn from where you have been and see where you are going.  And in all the different seasons of this life, may we depend on the all encompassing arms of the One who created us as we walk this road of womanhood together.