But to those of you who aren't mom's yet, want to be and can't conceive, or simply don't feel called to be, I want to encourage you that you, too, have purpose and can be a mother-like figure to many.
Every year, families everywhere celebrate generations of women they call "moms." For some, it's a bittersweet day reminiscing those who are no longer with us. For others, it's a gentle reminder of the pain many endure, praying to achieve status. For most, it's a day to commemorate someone they hold near and dear as "mother," even if not biologically.
This past Mother's Day was no different. I'm not a mom, nor do I feel the calling to be one, but I have many female figures in my life who have always been "mom" to me. And as I grow older, each of them continues to teach me lesson after lesson about what it means to be a woman of God.
As a twenty-something young adult, I am starting to reach that age where I don't feel young, but I don't feel old. And the more I gravitate toward my wedding date and living as an independent female, the more I respect my mom for who she is.
My Mom's Example
Since conception, my mom has been there for me. She's wiped my tears, provided food and shelter, and offered a helping hand. She's my absolute best friend, and there's truly no one as generous, giving, loving, and strong as her. She would do anything for me, and everyone needs a Tammy in their life. But of all the qualities I could use to describe my mom, the one that's become the most prevalent to me over the years is her selfless generosity.
The Dreaded Proverbs 31 Woman
In Proverbs 31, King Lemuel describes a woman of honor. And many women today cringe when she's mentioned:
"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants" (Proverbs 31:10-15, NIV).
Who can be this perfect, poised, hard-working, loving woman all of the time?
"She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy" (Proverbs 31:16-20, NIV).
Who can maintain such perfection?
Who can be strong all of the time?
Who can work through the darkest nights and the longest days?
How hard is it to work continually?
Give continually? Serve continually?
"When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity;she can laugh at the days to come" (Proverbs 31:21-25, NIV).
How can a woman who works so hard laugh so well? The questions flood my mind. The imperfections become staggering. I'm so far from this Proverbs 31 woman.
Works In Progress
But the woman of Proverbs 31 isn't someone born that way overnight; she's achieved her character through her years of living. She's a work in progress; however, she still fully encompasses each of those qualities as she grows. She's not striving for perfection; she's striving to be all God called her to be. She knows who she is, and she's self-denying in all she does and is. She's a woman after the Lord's own heart.
My mom and grandma are just two examples who embody this type of character. But what I see in them most is their spirit of generosity and growth. They've never been perfect. Neither am I. None of us ever will be. Yet the motherly example they exemplify calls me to be like them in each and every way.
A Spirit of Generosity
In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul takes a similar approach to generosity. In his address to the Corinthians, he mentions that while Macedonia was very poor, they gave more than they could afford with willing hearts. They trusted God and listened to what He wanted them to do beyond their own feelings and emotions.
As Jesus gave and became poor for us, these Corinthians were called to do the same. It's a calling each of us, mother or not, is still asked of today. Because just as Paul encouraged these churches to continue in this way, let us learn to give eagerly with what we have and are able.
I may not feel the call to be a mother, but my mom, grandma, and many other motherly figures have shaped how I see generosity and selflessness. As a high school teacher, I'm like a mother to them. As I mentor a teenager through Big Brothers and Big Sisters, I get to play a mother-like role for her. When I care for pets, I'm not afraid to call myself a dog mom.
You Can Still Be Motherly
I will always be grateful for my mom, and I would be lost without her. But to those of you who aren't mom's yet, want to be and can't conceive, or simply don't feel called to be, I want to encourage you that you, too, have purpose and can be a mother-like figure to many.
The truths I've learned from these women have helped shape me into who I am today. And today, I'll be honest in saying I am not anywhere near where I want to be. I haven't reached the final destination, and I am still growing and learning. But one thing is certain: The generosity and selflessness my mom and grandma have shown me are qualities I pray to possess more of. They inspire me, and I want to be just like them.
"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate" (Proverbs 31:28-31, NIV).
Dear God, please transform us in these ways; to be more selfless, caring, and giving in all that we say and do. Being a mother is not easy. And for those of us who don't still have our moms or don't feel called to be moms, it can be a difficult and challenging road to navigate. Nevertheless, let it be our prayer that you can still use us and have your way. Help us to be like you. And help us to be like the women before us who've gracefully paved and led the way. We love you, Lord, and praise you for the gift of "mom" today. Amen.
Photo Credit: ©Zach Lucero/Unsplash
Amber Ginter is a young adult writer that currently works as an English teacher in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a passionate desire to impact the world for Jesus through her love for writing, aesthetics, health/fitness, and ministry. Amber seeks to proclaim her love for Christ and the Gospel through her writing, aesthetic worship arts, and volunteer roles. She is enrolled in the YWW Author Conservatory to become a full-time author and is a featured writer for Crosswalk,