This last week I attended a baby shower for a gal in our bible study group. Colorado Springs was only a short stint for her and her husband while he was in school and she prepared to give birth to their second child. Considering her time here would be brief, she was certain the year would be a write-off with respect to having girlfriends, though a bible study seemed like a good way to pass the time. Not only did friendship develop during the course of the study, but she also found godly women full of grace and wisdom. Along the way, she too was a woman of grace and wisdom for others. That is the beauty of authentic community.
We prayed over her, shared this delicious cake made by Care Young, and as she unwrapped gifts each of us offered words of encouragement and insight about mothering more than one. Much of the advice of the evening revolved around the importance of enjoying this season that passes all too quickly. A couple of the women did not have children, so they reminisced about their own childhood and their moms. The collective wisdom in the room was palpable and the consensus: don’t hurry, enjoy it. Household duties, working, projects, ministry positions can wait—babies aren’t babies very long.
What is it about the season of life when babies are being born and a woman decides to “stay home,” that we wonder if we’re missing out? In my own experience, contentment during this stage in life is greatly impacted by those we spend time with and unity with our husband. Our desire to fast-forward is at least two-fold; we want to see the result of our sacrifice now, as well as the desire to get back to the goals, dreams, endeavors we may have put on-hold to be mothers. We want to feel significant beyond the loads of laundry, trails of toys, and moldy sippy-cups (you know, the ones you find later, sure it will cost you Mother of the Year because you didn’t find it before they tried drinking it!).
Modern women have a difficulty with the notion that once they choose to become mothers, motherhood is their ministry and lifework—anything else is a bonus. I am not suggesting that motherhood is all we can do; just that it takes all that we have to do it, and then some. Not a single weighty accomplishment on the planet even comes close to the nurturing, training, and launching of another human being. In fact, it is our greatest privilege.
God fashioned woman, uniquely equipped to give life. Beyond the ability to produce life from the womb, is the capacity to impart life through our words, our touch, and our reach into the community around us. We must not succumb to the beguiled thinking that daycare centers, youth pastors, school yards, coaches, or Sunday school teachers are an adequate substitute (though great resources). There is desperate need today for young mothers to have seasoned women and like-minded girlfriends to link arms with when the days are long and purpose seems elusive.
Parenting in the midst of this you-can-have-it-all culture requires a community rich in valuing the appropriate things. Each of us need to be reminded what a precious gift we hold in our hands, especially when they are sticky with jelly or strained carrots. I am forever grateful for the godly women in my own life who know how important it is to celebrate new life and encourage each other to embrace and value motherhood at every opportunity.