Honoring Spiritual Mothers
You did it. You survived another Mother’s Day. You’re licking your wounds, but you made it through the day. You plastered a smile on your face and gave a polite nod and shrug of the shoulders in response to the all too familiar question, “When are you going to have a baby?” You, and the other non-moms, successfully pushed back tears and sat staring at the bulletin while a church leader asked all of the mothers in the congregation to stand for applause and recognition.
Perhaps Mother’s Day is a joyous occasion for you. But for many women the day is difficult. Several of my friends skip church and avoid all Social Media during Mother’s Day weekend, so as to avoid additional heartache. Perhaps they have adoptive children, but they still mourn after years of miscarriages or infertility. Perhaps they have endured both failed adoptions and failed pregnancies. Perhaps they are single and long for a spouse and children, but it does not seem as though God wants to fulfill their heart’s desire.
Mother’s Day—it picks open crusty scabs on painful emotional wounds.
But breathe a sigh of relief. You can relax for another 364 days. Well, at least until you attend the next baby shower.
According to www.resolve.org, 11.9% of women have received infertility services during some point in their lives. Think about it; do the math. In our church congregation there are 300 attendees, of whom 60% (180) are women, which results in approximately 21 women who have dealt, are dealing, or will deal with infertility. God told Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply!” (Gen. 1:28). So if you’re not “fruitful” and not “multiplying” then society (especially church society) makes you somehow feel like a failure.
But what if we are able to multiply in a different manner?
Jesus told his disciples, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19–20)
Many women are “fruitful” and “multiply” on a regular basis, yet their multiplication has nothing to do with their wombs. They are the teachers, the professors, the mentors, the disciplers, the aunts, and the friends who teach children, teenagers, young women, and coworkers about Jesus.
They are making disciples.
They are fruitfully multiplying.
They are “spiritual moms.”
One biblical example of a spiritual mom is Priscilla. Priscilla and her husband, Aquilla, taught Apollos “the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26). Apollos was a gifted speaker, knowledgeable about the Old Testament, and taught with fearless passion about Jesus. But he needed some correction and further explanation regarding baptism. Priscilla and Aquilla, therefore, took Apollos aside and instructed him with great precision. Apollos then went on to be of great assistance to fellow believers and had successful public debates about the truths of Jesus. Priscilla and Aquilla acted as spiritual teachers, or parents, of Apollos. (Acts 18:24–28)
Priscilla took what she had learned from the apostle Paul and then passed it on to Apollos, who then, in turn, passed it on to others. Do you see the spiritual legacy of Priscilla? She was a spiritual mom.
As my Grandpa and Grandma VanSant were unable to have children they adopted my Mom as an infant. They raised her in the church, taught her about Jesus, and had her listen to the crusades of Billy Graham. My grandparents were not biological parents, but they were adoptive parents, and more importantly, spiritual parents. My Mom then taught my brother and I about Jesus. My brother has thus taught his sons about Jesus. I teach other women about Jesus. Do you see the spiritual legacy of my grandmother? She was a spiritual mom.
Last summer my husband officiated a wedding of a young couple that he and I had discipled. During the wedding reception the father of the groom asked my husband and I to stand. He then proceeded to thank us for being the spiritual parents of his son and daughter-in-law. By the grace of God, we had created a spiritual legacy. We are spiritual parents.
Last week I received this text message from a young friend, “Happy Mother’s Day. I want you to know that even if you are not a mother of any physically, you have many spiritual children. Have a wonderful day full of blessings.” I am a spiritual mom.
Are you a spiritual mom? Do you realize the spiritual legacy you are making? Take a moment and reflect on the spiritual generations you have established.
Do you have a spiritual mom? Perhaps your biological or adoptive mother and spiritual mother are one-in-the-same. Perhaps you are blessed to have many spiritual mothers. When was the last time you applauded and recognized their spiritual legacy?
Challenge: This week send a note or card to the spiritual mothers in your life. Honor and thank them for the spiritual legacy they have given you.
This blog article was originally posted on May 9, 2016.
Photo courtesy of Lightstock.