May I say something somewhat controversial about #mothering today? It’s a thought that goes back two decades to my wedding day, a story I’ll get to in a minute.
What if being a mother wasn’t the most important job on the planet after all? Oh it’s important, so much so. But what if God made the family because He wanted us to have a place to belong, but that it’s just as important to nurture the people around us, as it is to raise the ones you are privileged to have in your own home.
This #motherstories project is all about figuring out how I got here, and what God has really been doing in all the circumstances that brings me to this point. Because honestly, the twistiness of it all doesn’t make much sense. And all that’s happened can make me question my #enoughness as a parent and as a #pastor, since I struggle to mom every day, and I can’t even talk about how it feels to let go of the call in my life to be a local church pastor. I’ve not untangled that messy knot yet, but I do wonder if all along, and even though God has answered my prayers to be a mother, that there’s something bigger at play, that being a mother is important but not at all costs.
It begs the question if, for all of us at some point, it isn’t really about being a mom at all. I know so many great women with so much to offer, and a deep desire to be a mother, who’ve never gotten the privilege. Why is that? Why would God disallow them this honor?
Maybe it’s not about being mother, but about a willingness to be ‘other’, to reach out to cultivate Jesus’ words and deeds into all we God places in our lives, whether they live under our roof or not. God gave us the perfect example of this in the Matthew generations, by including outsiders in the royal line, and by encouraging the Jews who worshipped together to live out the mission of Christ, to reach out to everyone, not keep the Good News to themselves.
This ‘othering’ mission is nothing new, hopefully, to any of us. To care for someone outside, to invest in others out of obedience, to walk beside is a certain call on all Christ followers.
I can go all the way back to a specific moment on our wedding day, a true day to rejoice in a new family formed. We served communion to everyone, and while our friends and family were served, we looked out at the faces of all who gathered, from all over the world, to celebrate this day with us. Not only were all 15 nieces and nephews a part, but you remember the kids I talked about being the nannyish-kidsitter-kind of person for? I saw many of their faces in the crowd. And other kids, from the youth group I worked with, many faces I didn’t expect because these were young people away at college, came distances to celebrate with me this day. It’s indescribable what it meant that so many had made the effort to reach back. These ‘kids’ were my joy to pastor. These ones helped me focus the nurturing gift into ministry. I needed them as much as they needed me, and I see now that the time I got to focus on being ‘other’ to them prepared me for every future mission God has put me on, including becoming a mother through extraordinary circumstances. God did that. God made that happen for all of us.