Kidless Mothers

You don't need kids to be a mother.

Eloise never got married. I'm fairly confident she never even dated. She had no children. Aside from some distant great-nieces, her family was pretty obsolete. Yet, somehow she wound up with twenty-four grandchildren. She became my grandma. She hosted junior-high girl sleep-overs. She taught us how to make butter-cream mints, snickerdoodles, and sweet pickles. She shared the gospel with countless people in schools and nursing homes, and she brought us with her. She prayed over us every day. Did you read that? Prayed. Every. Day. She took us to the mall, watched us play dress-up in prom dresses, and had quiet talks about priorities and our futures. She was one of the most intensely fierce, dedicated, committed mothers I've ever met.

You don't need kids to be a mother.

I know women who counsel hurting college students. Women who throw baby showers. Women who teach preschool classes. Women who knit blankets. Women who feed hungry new moms. Women who pray every morning over a myriad of hurts. I know women who organize Christmas gift drives, who rock babies in nurseries, who lead Bible studies, and take teenagers on winter retreats.

You don't need kids to be a mother.

We have somehow defined motherhood by a very narrow set of criteria. We have decided that to mother you must give birth, or at least fill out paperwork and pay a lot of money. You need children. Preferably, young ones. No one wants to sign up for motherhood with a full-fledged teenager. You need to have peanut butter always in your pantry and an unending supply of fruit snacks. There will be diapers involved.

But ladies, this is WRONG.

Each one of you, by virtue of being a woman is a mother. You are hardwired for mothering.

Eve, in the garden of Eden, was named Eve "because she was the mother of all living." There were no kids. But she had already been deemed a mother. The name "Eve" sounds like the phrase "life-giver" in Hebrew. By being made a woman, Eve was automatically a life-giver.

We live in a broken world. This is the same world Eve entered immediately after her terrible sin, with the pressure of giving birth, and carrying the (as yet unfulfilled) name "life-giver." Alone. Her job was to give birth to sinful humans. She was given this job without a close walk with God, without a mother, without an idea of what was going to happen. Eve faced painful, brutal mothering hurdles.

It's not much different today.

Today, some women can't have children. Some women won't get married. Some will have far fewer children than they hoped. Some will lose children. Some will watch children walk away from truth. Some will watch children suffer. Some will never hold a new baby. Some will watch that new baby break their hearts.

Motherhood is broken.

But one of the redemptive truths is: you don't have to be a mother to practice motherhood.

You, as a woman, are hardwired to mother. Just as Eve was. Before there was a baby in existence, she was called a mother. A life-giver. By default of being a woman, by default of being created to mimic God's gentle nurturing, you are a mother.

One of the most powerful mothering figures I know is a mom who had two children, and then was given no more. (Of course, if you're going to have just two, these are a pretty awesome duo!) But she went on to mother countless college girls and young moms. She (probably even today!) is sitting in a coffee shop, listening patiently, passing Kleenex, dispelling truth, and pointing to God. She is a mother to hundreds. By the time she's done, those numbers will probably be in the thousands. What a way to enter eternity! The mother of thousands. She is a life-giver.

So, here's my question... Who are you mothering? (Please, don't mention a pet. I mean, pets are amazing, but if they are the sole beneficiaries of your life-giving, you need to re-evaluate.) Where are you giving life? Intentionally. Becoming a mother takes some work when you pop them out biologically or through adoption. The same is true when you become a spiritual mom.

You need to be a mother! The church needs you! There are countless, floundering "babies," that need you. Maybe you should be with the babies in the nursery. Maybe you should be teaching them in elementary Sunday school. Maybe you should learn how to counsel, organize a ministry, or help in a nursing home.

Your children may not be as cute as the mom down the street, who gets to push her little babies in a designer stroller and dress them in matching outfits. But when you enter heaven, it won't make a difference.

You are woman. You are a mother. Find your babies. They need you.