The first time I stepped into the role of a mother, it was wonderful and overwhelming all at the same time. It was new territory, and I wanted to learn how to be the best mom I could be. My mom taught me all she knew about being a mom, sharing the joys and absolute responsibility of caring for a little one. It amazed me that God would instill in me the desire and unbelievable love for this precious new life in my arms. Like other moms, I lost sleep and rest — but I never considered it to be an inconvenience. Mothers count it a privilege and honor to take care of the innocent ones God has given us.
I loved our first little girl, Rhonda, with all my heart and knew that her dad and I would be the ones who would teach her how to do everything for the first time: how to laugh, walk, talk and be confident in life. Most of all, to come to know Jesus in a personal relationship with Him. I didn’t need to teach her how to cry — that came naturally! I wanted to protect her from all hurt and pain but knew that would be impossible as she experienced life. There would be scrapes and falls, as well as disappointment. I couldn’t stop these experiences from happening but tried awfully hard trying to soften the blows of life. Indeed, mothers want to hold their children close when their hearts are broken. And when necessary, we will be the ones who fight like a lion to defend them!
When Rhonda was five years old, our son entered our life and family. Hoping that I had improved through my first experience of being a mother, I was so excited to now have a little boy, Randy! And then sweet Robin came into the picture three years later. Our family was complete! Our firstborn always said her two siblings had it easier than she did. I admit — she was the one we practiced on as new parents.
We were so blessed to have such wonderful children and thank God that He entrusted us with them. They filled my heart and life as a mother. I was living my lifelong dream, enjoying every age and feeling so blessed to be in this role. Many days, I felt unqualified to fill the role. Most importantly, I hoped my children would always know I loved them and would do anything I could for them. They knew I wasn’t perfect and that sometimes when I’d “lose it” and react instead of responding to their actions or request, I still would give my life for them. It is hard to describe to a child who has misbehaved or acted ugly that I deeply love them. Many times I would correct them with a broken heart, knowing I was doing this because I loved them. The fact is, moms love their children unconditionally and forgive as God forgives His children over and over again.
As time progressed, I watched our children grow up, get married and start their own families. Many of you can relate to the fun part: You are a grandmother! For several years your children need your help with their children. You babysit and spend lots of good times loving those wonderful grandchildren. The nurturing instinct in you is in some ways still active, and you love it. You continue to fall to your knees, asking God to watch over them, protect and guide them, just as you did with your own children.
The grandkids get bigger, start school, make new friends and become very busy. The visits become less and less frequent, and you adjust to the new life that impacts not only you, but the whole family. This is God’s plan, but it doesn’t necessarily make it easy — especially for this mom, who has lived life thus far fulfilling a God-given nurturing gift.
I have to be honest: Sometimes it makes me sad and lonely. I think, What do I do now with this nurturing desire that has never diminished in me? God must have something else in mind, because He doesn’t leave His children hanging with no purpose in life. I’ve asked my Father to reveal to me the way in which He wants me to focus my gifts. Yes, I will always have a nurturing spirit toward my family — but they are spreading their wings, and we are so proud of them for living their dreams and fulfilling what God intended for them!
God has spoken to my heart: “I’m not finished with you! There is work to be done! If you will be soft clay in My hands, I will shape you for another season of opportunity to serve Me and bless others.” I know firsthand that mothers around the world need a helping hand—and it is an honor to come alongside them. When we feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty and provide a place of refuge for those in need, we are giving to the Lord. Scripture tells us, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; please the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).
I realize that the enemy will pounce on this change of season if I don’t consistently yield myself to God. Many other mothers are at this exact point in their lives. If you find yourself wondering, What’s next?, please know that you have a purpose! Look for ways to be a blessing. Someone needs you more than you may ever know.
God is our source and strength…and He will give us the perfect “next assignment” if we will submit to Him!
“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).