Embracing the Gift of Motherhood

Embracing the Gift of Motherhood - An Everyday Mom

You may not know this, but I am a firstborn--the firstborn of nine children to be exact. And as such, I tend to like rules and definitions. I love things defined so I know what's expected of me. It bothers me when things aren't clear and defined--and shifting definitions really, really bother me. One of those phrases whose definition seems to shift frequently is "embracing the gift of motherhood". Have you noticed it too? It shifts and morphs; and worse than that, it's often used solely to demean and manipulate a mother. You know the line . . . "If you would just embrace the gift of motherhood . . . "

Not going to lie here, when I hear the phrase I feel a bit like Buddy in the movie Elf, "What's a Christmas Gram? I want one!" Yeah, just picture me over here jumping up and down, clapping, and exclaiming "What's the gift of motherhood? I want one!"

What is this gift of motherhood?

I've been puzzling over the phrase this weekend and I wanted to dissect it a little this morning. As the phrase is particularly {if not exclusively} used in Christian circles, we ought to turn to Scripture first to find the definition {actually, turning to Scripture first is an excellent practice for any aspect or question in life}.

From a Scriptural perspective, here is the definition of the gift of motherhood:

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. -Psalm 127:3

Our children are undeniably a gift from the Lord. As we all know, it's those little people calling us "mom" {whether biological or adopted} that entitle us to wear the badge of motherhood. Biblically, I believe the gift of motherhood is my children. They are gifts--my most precious gifts--both of them. And I embrace them often, so I think I've got a pretty good handle on the embracing the gift of motherhood thing ;-)

But I think we can take the definition a little bit further. What is the definition of embrace?

Embrace {verb(used with object), embraced,embracing.}

1. to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug.

2. to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly:

3. to avail oneself of:

4. to adopt (a profession, a religion, etc.):

5. to take in with the eye or the mind.

6. to encircle; surround; enclose.

7. to include or contain:

Definition from Dictionary.com

So let's put it all together now and look at what embracing the gift of motherhood looks like:

It looks like knowing our children are a gift from the Lord

Whether biological or adopted, planned or unplanned, our children are a gift from the Lord. When a precious gift is given, we care for, treasure, steward, and protect that gift. The gift of motherhood is no exception. He has placed them under our care and we are to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord {Ephesians 6:4; Deuteronomy 6:7}. Embracing the gift of motherhood means that I accept the responsibility the Lord has given me.

It looks passionate

Let's add some context to the above definition. Think of embraces you've witnessed or given. Embracing as we know it is more than a hug--it's passionate, vulnerable, and emotional. Sometimes it's pure love, other times there is hurt. Sometimes it's born out ofexhaustion, fear, and weeping, or joy, excitement, and wonder. Sometimes there is relief, other times it is holding on because what you love is growing up or leaving. You can't embrace halfheartedly--it's full of passion. Similarly, motherhood requires passion. The passion to throw yourself into it, work your heart out, to fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day, to open your heart for hurt, and also for joy. It's treasuring the moments we've been given.

It looks human

Again, consider the embraces you've witnessed or given and notice the theme. Embracing is a human experience. It's full of imperfection, emotion, passion--it's wholehearted and a little wild. I've never seen a tame embrace. When we apply it to motherhood, I think we must recognize that we are human. That there are imperfections, emotions, and passion--but in all our humanness, we are striving to serve the One who gave us these gifts in the first place.

It looks emotional

Embracing requires emotion. Whether thrilled, terrified, relieved, excited, or exhausted, embraces are overflowing with emotion. Have you noticed how motherhood is much the same? There is excitement, terror, relief, exhaustion, joy, love, devotion, tears--you don't get through this journey without experiencing some form of emotion. Embracing the gift of motherhood requires us to recognize, express, and deal with the emotions we feel. You can't get through motherhood having suppressed every form of emotion.

It looks honest

An embrace tells the story of the wife who patiently waited for her soldier to return, of the daddy giving his daughter in marriage, of relief after a disaster, of grief at loosing a loved one. It's raw and honest. In motherhood, it is so important that we are honest with ourselves and with each other. That we lower the masks and minister to one another. You know what? Sometimes motherhood is hard. And we do each other a disservice by pretending that it isn't. And you know what? Motherhood is amazing. And we do each other {and our culture} a disservice by keeping that to ourselves.

So in my opinion, embracing the gift of motherhood means that I gladly, and willingly accept the gifts I've been given in my two sons. It looks like recognizing that I'm human and you know what? I'm not enough--but I know the One who is. It's passionate and vulnerable--it's wholeheartedly investing my life into my children. It's falling into bed exhausted at the end of the day knowing before God I've done my best--and continuing to serve through the night hours. It's recognizing that I am human, their daddy is human, and they are human. That we all need grace--and praise God He doesn't leave us alone on this journey. It requires emotion--loving requires opening ourselves up to experience a wide range of emotions. And it means honesty because I want the world to know that our God gives good gifts. That it is beautiful and hard, and that He is right there with us.

And when my boys are grown and I'm left alone, I want to know that I embraced the gift of motherhood in this way. It's not a pie-in-the-sky, make-up perfectly intact, tame kind of embrace. No, my embrace is raw, emotional, messy, and a little vulnerable.

My embrace of motherhood is raw, emotional, messy, and a little vulnerable.

I want my boys to look back someday and say of me "You know, mom made mistakes--plenty of them--but she threw everything she had into raising us and she did a darn good job with what she had. And more importantly, she led us to Christ through her imperfection."

You know why?

That is what I say of my own mother and she taught me what embracing the gift of motherhood looks like. What denying yourself, and passionately serving Christ in the trenches of home looks like. She taught me what humanness and honesty looks like. And most importantly, she taught me what it looks like when a woman accepts Christ's love and learns from Him. That's the ultimate goal of motherhood after all.

Our kids don't need a perfect mom savior. They need Jesus.

This is the way I'm embracing the gift of motherhood. It's in no way perfect, but my kids don't need a perfect mom savior anyway. They need Jesus. And I pray Jesus calls their hearts through my imperfect, human, messy embrace of the gift of motherhood He gave me.

Our children don't need a perfect mom, they need Jesus.

{Post linked at The Deliberate Mom, Mom's Morning Coffee, A Little R & R}

Be encouraged,

Carrie

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