Motherhood – A Labor of Love
I have always been fascinated with pregnant women, so when I became pregnant myself, I was even more fascinated. I loved being pregnant, and was constantly looking in the mirror at my growing belly! How awesome that God chose women to have the blessing of carrying a child. Even so, when it came time to deliver, well that is another story! Those labor pains were no fun at all. Thankfully, I only had hard labor about 30- 40 minutes before they rushed me down for an emergency c-section. I have heard many stories of women who were in labor for over 30 hours. I’m sure that some of you have your own stories about labor!
While I was pregnant, I kept having an intense burden to pray for Dennis Rodman (a former NBA star). It became a joke that my “focal point” during labor would be a picture of Dennis Rodman. Believe me, when those hard labor pains hit, looking at a picture of him was the last thing on my mind! I so clearly remember that while in the middle of a big contraction, I heard the words “the baby is breech, we have to get her to surgery right away.” My immediate thoughts were “Thank you Jesus! I’m not going to feel pain much longer!”
I looked up the word “labor” in the dictionary and it said, “physical or mental exertion; work, to work hard, to move slowly and with difficulty, to suffer, to be in childbirth.” It is obvious here that when the labor pains stop, the real labor is only beginning. It is very hard to adjust to getting up several times every night to feed a new baby. It’s a lot of work, just trying to get out the door with an infant. There is always so much that needs to go with you besides just the baby! Then there is all of that extra laundry that a wee one can cause!
As the baby gets older, there is the teething stage, then the separation anxiety stage, and then the potty training stage, and the list goes on and on. I remember how every Sunday I would literally have to peel Rachel off of me to leave her in her class. It was such a battle that by the time I got to my class, I no longer felt like being there.
When we were potty training, my mom commented that Rachel was the only child she ever saw who was literally potty trained away from home. For some reason, she was very fascinated with public restrooms. (I didn’t understand it then, and I still don’t understand it!) Of course, we never had her little seat with us that would attach to the toilet, so when I sat her down, I would take my hands and hold onto her legs so that if she would start to fall, I could grab her very quickly. Then, if I needed to use the bathroom, she just had to mimic me, and put her little hands on my legs so that mommy wouldn’t fall into the potty!
As mothers, we are truly life-givers. Not just by giving birth, but it is something that we do every day. We do it with our words, through keeping a warm, inviting home, by being tender and loving in our actions, by imparting wisdom and instruction, to the food on the table.
Sometimes the growing which our children do can cause us more “labor pains.” Like when given their first haircut, and suddenly the baby is no longer a baby, but a little boy or girl.
Later, there is the time that they want to leave the yard and go play with the other kids in the neighborhood. Suddenly, I’m not the one she wants to be with all the time. It was bittersweet. I finally had a little more time to do other things, but I wasn’t so sure that I was ready for her to be out and about with the other kids in the neighborhood. That meant that she was growing up! What happened to my little baby? She was just here a few days ago, and now, well, she’s growing up. The pain of labor hits again.
Although I homeschool, I have heard the stories from other mothers about sending their child off to school for the first day. There’s the labor pain again. Later, we will probably all experience that labor pain of watching our child go off to college. Does this labor ever stop? NO! As long as we are mothers, we are going to have some labor pains.
All mothers, at one time or another, are going to go through some suffering. Romans 5 in the Message Bible tells us that we continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary, we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives! — God will use motherhood as a real pruning time for us. I have grown more in my walk with the Lord since I became a mother. It is the thing in my life that has caused the most sacrifice from me, but it has been worth EVERY bit of the sacrifice.
I remember hearing a lady on the radio talking about all the things which mothers do. She used a term that I just loved! She said that our title should be “domestic goddess.” Don’t you just LOVE it!? Shortly after hearing that term, I got a paper to fill out for jury duty. What do you think I wrote down in the job title section? You guessed it! DOMESTIC GODDESS! When I got called for jury duty, both attorneys commented on my response. They both thought it was really funny. — A quick side note here. With everything going on at the time that I got called for jury duty, it would have been easy to question the Lord in why He was allowing me to go through that experience. He knew good and well what He was doing. It was a civil case that lasted three days. It was very interesting to observe, not to mention that within a month of having done my civic duty, I was attacked by a pit bull. You don’t find too many attorneys in church, but because God allowed me to serve on that jury and observe these attorneys, there was no question about who I was going to call to represent me.
Let’s look at some of the examples for ways in which we mothers labor. Our job titles could be: meal planner, chef, pharmacist, nurse, laundry attendant, chauffeur, teacher, personal care attendant (giving baths, etc.), bathroom attendant (wiping bottoms), maid, butler, bargain hunter, hazardous waste removal specialist (taking out the trash), germbuster (disinfecting the house after illness has been present), cheerleader (encourager), motivational speaker, accounts payable manager, scheduler, secretary, organizer, seamstress, inventory manager (writing grocery lists), snow removal person, lawn care attendant, arbitrator (settling arguments between the children), principal (disciplining the children), life skills instructor, language interpreter (figuring out why the baby is crying), and finally, one which is critical for us to be: the prayer warrior. (I am sure that I left out many more job titles.)
Do you see it? YOU ARE AWESOME! Look at all of the things which God has entrusted us to do for our children! He sees us as very capable or He wouldn’t have entrusted us with it. Phil. 4 says that I can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens me. THROUGH HIM WE ARE ABLE TO DO ABSOLUTELY AWESOME THINGS!
Lord, I know how overwhelming life can be at times, even though I only have one child. Many of my sisters have more children than I do, so I know that they get weary and overwhelmed at times. Help them to remember that it is only through You that we can accomplish Your purposes in our homes. Help them to get their focus on You each and every day, and to be faithful in not only asking for Your help, but in looking to see how it is that You are helping them. Help them to see You right there with them each and every day. Help them to see Your tender mercies, which are new every morning. Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller