I wouldn’t be here without my mother! Anyone reading this has to say the same thing. Our mothers helped to bring us into this world and our gratefulness starts with this very fact. However, motherhood cannot be defined in a box. It’s so multifaceted that even on a day like today (Mother’s Day) we need to have a perspective on what it means to be a mother.
When I think of the Bible and the stories of mothers, I automatically think of Naomi. She is not a likely first choice of all the women I could choose from in the scriptures. However, for me she makes an impression of an “out of the box” kind of mother. Naomi was a woman who lost her husband and her two sons and endured heartbreaking grief. She even knew the right thing to do was to release her daughter-in-laws so they could move on with their lives from their own grief. However, her daughter-in-law Ruth stayed by her side and became Naomi’s companion. Naomi was later instrumental in helping Ruth find a new husband, a relative named Boaz. Many people focus on Ruth’s dedication to Naomi but I love the reverse in this story. She was a mother-in-law who loses her own sons but takes in an adoptive daughter. She doesn’t let grief make her bitter but becomes a caring mother for this young widow.
Naomi is just the many “out of the box” stories that you can find in the Bible of women who help define motherhood. Today there are so many stories that can be shared on this Mother’s Day that don’t line up to your traditional definition of motherhood. I think of my grandmother who gave birth to nine children and had the love and capacity to take in her nephew and her granddaughter and raise them as her own. I think of women who have endured the emotional pain of not being able to give birth to a child only to be a blessing to others above and beyond what any child bearing woman could be. There are friends who deal with great obstacles in raising children. Some who have kids with special needs who have to muster enough strength every day to unconditionally show love to that son or daughter. Then there are those, like Naomi, who have endured the devastating pain of losing a child and living beyond their grief.
There are so many more examples of what it means to be a mother. Motherhood just can’t be contained in the confines of birth. It’s all encompassing, challenging and wonderful all at the same time. In a world that devalues motherhood because it’s seen as a choice, the fact is being a mother either by natural or adoptive means is a God given blessing. As a daughter who is grateful for my own mother and as a mom who has been blessed by God with my own children, I am celebrating this “outside of the box” gift of MOTHERHOOD!
Happy Mother’s Day!