Just a few thoughts about motherhood and children as Mother’s Day approaches. Much will be made this weekend of the passage, “Children are a blessing from the Lord.” (Psalm 127:3) As a father of six, I have heard it many times myself. More and more in our modern culture we are having to state this passage in a convincing, apologetic manner. What should be celebrated is often debated and discussed and nuanced. Sometimes I even have to talk to myself in this way. Part of the problem is that we have defined the term blessing in a purely experiential way. Blessings are merely conditions or results to be experienced not gifts received. We do not bestow blessings anymore. We do not see how intentional and objective a blessing can be. “May the Lord bless you and keep you” has become more of a well-intentioned wish rather than a promised blessing bestowed and believed.
Motherhood is anything but normal and predictable in so many ways. But one certainty in every case is that motherhood is a created glory by God that He bestows on women. To be a mother is to receive a gift from the Lord. Therefore, children are a blessing because of Who they come from not because of what they do or who they become. Life is a blessing because life is a gift. And it is a gift given from the source of all blessings. If we disconnect life from the Life-giver then it is only as precious as it is beneficial to those around it. It becomes an object in our own hands to manufacture, manipulate, and manage. When we rightly see children as gifts, we will receive them, raise them, and release them in faith, hope, and love.
Think about God’s grand design from the beginning. He created one man (Adam) and took him apart to make two people (Adam and Eve) so that they could come back together covenantally as one flesh so that He could make them three people. Now these three—father, mother and child—join together to make one family so that the children may grow up to maturity, divide the family that new ones might be established, and start the whole process over again. You don’t learn this kind of math very often in school. It is generational math. And it is incomprehensible in its goodness. Does God always do it this way? No, He also knows how to speak something out of nothing. Can the single woman or the barren wife become a spiritual mother to many children who will also one day rise up and call her blessed? Oh, yes! This also is incomprehensibly good.
If you are a mother today, you are blessed! If you are the child of a mother today, you are blessed! Your children may be young and needy and a constant drain emotionally and physically. As they never tire to ask of you, may you remember that God never tires of our own needs and requests. They may be moving into young adulthood, straining toward independence, becoming less pliable, taking on the shape of their early years with hard edges that need to be smoothed out. Hammers and chisels take hard work and make some real messes along the way. But as you shape them God is shaping you. Your children may not be children anymore at all. They may have already left the nest to make their own home. You are now having to learn how to be a friend, a grandparent, a matriarch to another generation.
Our children are not little bundles of potential blessings. They are the blessing because every last one of them are “from the Lord.” As we receive them as such from the hand of our Father, then happiness and gratitude will follow. Those objective blessings will become real experiences. We will experience the goodness and grace of Christ through our children rather than trying to get something from them.