I remember the year that 30 babies were dedicated at our church on Mother’s Day and I had just lost my fourth pregnancy well into the second trimester. I was still wearing maternity clothes at that service even though my womb was empty, and I cried through nearly the whole thing. I was a mom of one little, but my heart ached to mother another.
It hadn’t been long before that the Lord reminded me of a word spoken over me years before. It could be true whether I was holding a little one or not. In a prayer for me after I’d lost my first pregnancy, a friend at the time had a word that I would be a “mother of warriors.” I’d raise up children of the Kingdom and train them for battle on earth and in the heavenlies. Children who will stand for justice and operate in love and spread the good news of Jesus. A mother of warriors. I would mother warriors.
For a long time I thought the word related to babies I would birth. But over time, I came to realize that mothering isn’t just for the fertile. Mothers aren’t made only from wombs that bear life.
A mother isn’t always one who gives birth. She isn’t defined by her fertility or stretch-marks.
I have a tattoo of that now…”Mother of Warriors” in Hebrew. Because I need to remember it. That a piece of my identity in Christ is as a mother of warriors.
And for me to mother, I don’t need to have ever given birth. You don’t need to give birth to be a mother. We all bear the stretch marks of ourselves poured out for another.
We all wear the inkings of identity as daughters and sons of the King.
For me in some ways, mothering has looked like loving people that we invite into our home to live for extended periods of time. To love well on those in a transitional stage of life…it’s sowing into Kingdom warriors and mentoring those a few life steps behind us.
Once when Casey was living with us, she had a busy day and needed to take brownies to a Bible study that evening. She didn’t have time to make them and was overcome by how to “get it all done.” The solution was simple. I would make them for her. I had time that day and she did not. She lived in my home and was part of our family.
She cried and said noone had ever done anything like that for her before. Her mother hadn’t ever been able to do that for her.
Maybe mothers bake brownies for twenty-something women who need to feel loved tangibly. Or maybe we stand in the kitchen with them later and process through all those feelings that run hot down cheeks that don’t know what to do with past hurts or future questions.
I think perhaps Casey has no idea how she has mothered warriors too. And Chelsea who was before her maybe doesn’t fully know either. Or Danna, Julianna, Jenny, Aleena, or Bekah… all have mothered the warriors in my home over time. Some of them have lived with us and some of them have loved my children and our family well in other ways. They are part of our lives…part of our family.
I would be remiss not to acknowledge the ways that these women whose stomachs haven’t worn stretch marks still make indelible marks on our lives.
Sometimes they are big sisters to my kids. Often they fill in gaps of spaces where I don’t excel. They teaching swimming lessons in summer or the lyrics to favorite Disney songs. They are women who may need mothering in some ways and who are mothers in others. They give us nights to sow into our marriage and save the day when plans change and get complicated. They are part of our family.
To all the single ladies…I want you to hear me say that the freedoms you have are gifts to our families when you come around. That my kids will even argue with you like they argue with me shows that they love you big and deep and they trust you in ways I know you may not even see. Your presence in our lives makes them richer. Your presence in our home and in our family is not just welcome, but necessary. It takes a village, and without you our village would be lacking.
So while you’re in a season of singleness whether you want to be or not, know that your contribution to the world of mothers isn’t dependent on a spouse or on your own baby.
I see you. I applaud you. And I hope that you can allow me to stand up this Mother’s Day and hand my Sunday flower to you too. I am a better mother because you walk alongside this journey with me.
You are mothering warriors, and I celebrate you.