I often get a kick out of going to a baby shower. Aren’t they the best, especially if it’s a first-time mother. She’s totally clueless as to what’s ahead! All the baby gifts are so cuddly and perfectly designed for the nursery, including the lullaby mobile above the crib. This mama’s little precious one, unlike all the other newborns, will never spit up on the neighbor’s shoulder or have a poopy diaper when there are no spares handy. This baby is bound to bring her much joy and happiness. Surely her God-given infant will fulfill all the mother’s personal needs that are not being met by anyone else. And what mother early on doesn’t have expectations that her baby will grant her purpose, a new lease on life, and lots of hugs and kisses.
But soon reality sets in, and she discovers this little critter has NEEDS, NEEDS, and more NEEDS. If the child could talk, here’s what the mom would hear:
- At one month, “I NEED milk.”
- At five months, “I NEED room to explore.”
- At nine months, “I NEED locks on the cabinets.”
- At twenty-four months, “I NEED to run wild.”
And on and on it goes! The “I NEED” list just gets more and more exhausting as the years go by. Then suddenly, like all of us, she realizes that the child really isn’t the needy one…SHE IS! “Help me, Jesus!” Right?
Yet the day is coming when the kids will be grown and gone and she’ll view motherhood from a higher perspective. She’ll discover that her frenzy to meet all “their” needs was not the only work going on. God was walking through the back door and doing a work in her own life, forming in her a need for HIM—His wisdom, His tolerance, His patience, His kindness, His forgiveness, His understanding, His nearness. She’ll discover what I finally did: The reward of our work as mothers is not what we get but what we become.
A lifetime of motherhood serves as a chisel carving us into a person not at all resembling the “soon-to-be mother” we were at our own baby shower all those years ago. We started the journey believing we would have full control of our children’s outcome, only to discover that God is the only one in complete control, and His plan will prevail. We started the journey hoping our children’s lives would have less pain than ours, only to learn God has allowed a certain measure of suffering for them as well. We stared the journey thinking motherhood was about the kids, only to realize it was equally about us, God transforming us more and more into the image of His Son, Jesus (and raising our kids with all the “unfixables” was what would bend us in that direction.)
I don’t know exactly where you are in the journey. Burping babies? Raising teenagers? Settling in as an empty nester? But this I know. You’re still becoming and God’s not finished completing His work in you.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. —Ephesians 2:10
About Pam Kanaly
Aloha! I’m Pam Kanaly, President and co-founder of Arise Ministries. But actually, I think Arise found me wanting to bless single moms years ago. Ministry was never on my mind as a kid. All I wanted to be was a hula dancer. So Mother enrolled me in the tiny tots’ class. Guess God knew I’d have two grandbabies born in Hawaii. I love the great outdoors. You might even find me spending time with my husband grizzly bear watching or camping. In fact, it was on a turkey hunt that God gave me the name Arise Ministries in 2002. I suppose it’s a good thing that I majored in Grammar in college since I love to write words of encouragement to single moms.