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  May 8, 2022

Many Kinds of Mothers

By: Shana Schutte

You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
1 Peter 3:4
When I was 42 and still single, I sat near the back of a church sanctuary during an evening service and listened to a preacher preach. I have no idea what he said. I don’t remember. All I know was that I felt deep grief, so I sobbed quietly, hoping no one would hear.

Like many women, I wanted to become a mother. Being a mother would mean having a baby to love and nurture. It would mean belonging to another person in a way that I would never belong to anyone else.

As I sobbed, my dream to marry and have a family died. I knew I wouldn’t have children. And—wrongly—as a result, I felt my purpose was limited. How could I truly be a blessing to anyone? How could I be really important to anyone? Other women had children to hold. Why, God? Why? 

I regretted my journey as I looked in the rearview mirror. If only I had known different so I could make different choices. I would have chosen marriage, love, and babies earlier and not made numerous relationship mistakes.

Now 12 years later, I am happily married, and I see my childlessness in a different way. No longer do I believe I can’t be a blessing because I don’t have children. In fact, I believe that thinking God can’t use me was short sighted because all kinds of women can be a blessing and all kinds of women can mother.

Just think about it. There are many types of mothers in our world. There are our biological ones, of course. Then there are bonus moms and stepmoms and even grandmothers who take on the role of mother. Then there are moms who adopt and women who mother other people’s children through organizations like foster care.

In fact, women everywhere mother other people’s kids. Sometimes mothering happens simply, with a hug or a word of advice (that you are open to receive from a woman stranger or a friend, but that you won’t—or can’t—receive from your own mother). Sometimes, mothering is a part of giving a listening ear to a younger soul who needs it.

One of my good friends is a high school counselor. Every day she mothers kids who need encouragement and hope.

When I was in my twenties, a woman just 10 years older than me but many years wiser, mothered me and shared her wisdom for life with me. She constantly prayed for me and pointed me to Jesus. She was my spiritual mother.

When I was in my thirties, a woman old enough to be my grandmother regularly wrote me encouraging letters and reminded me of my value.

When I was in my forties, a woman who I came into contact with for a few moments at the grocery store, shared an encouraging word from Jesus that I needed just then.

Mothering isn’t just something biological moms do. Women everywhere mother as they nurture and care for those around them with encouraging, wise, and guiding words, with acts of kindness.

Every kind of woman can mother. If you are a biological mom, wonderful! If you’re a childless woman, you can mother. If you have lost children to heaven, you can mother. If you’re an aunt, a friend, a neighbor, a sister, or any other woman, you can mother and nurture those around you.

Who has mothered you on your journey? Take time to thank her today.

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26).

LISTEN TO TODAY’S DAILY DEVOTIONAL
PrayerLord, thank you for all the women you have brought across my path to mother and care for me. Thank you for the women who have shared wise and instructive words with me. Thank you for women, Lord. They are your good, good creation. Amen.
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