2 Corinthians 4:5-7 (NIV) For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
To be a mom is probably the most wonderful gift that I have ever been given. Each birth has brought a whole new level of love and understanding that I never thought possible. In each face, I see my purpose even now as little babies have become grown adults. Through the years, the future was hard to visualize in the midst of raising five children. I never thought past active parenting to what might come next. I literally poured my life into my kids. This is not an exaltation of self or boasting about me. Not at all. When my first son was brought to me all clean and pristinely wrapped in a blanket, I couldn’t take my eyes off this awesome angelic creature. I could not credit anyone with his beauty and presence but God. Tears rolled down my face as I realized how unworthy I was of such a blessing and that it was now my responsibility to raise him up in to be a responsible human being full of good qualities and traits to meet the purpose that he was designed for. Though far from God in the days, months and years preceding his arrival, it was with vivid clarity that I experienced God’s Presence wrap His Arms around me. I was crushed by the realization that because I am would make mistakes and not always be the perfect mom. Struck with paralyzing fear that I would mess him up with my inability to be flawless, I needed more grace to take the next step. The Lord showered me with love, grace and mercy in that moment so I could take the next breath and breathe in the extravagance of the moment.
Today is Mother’s Day. It is a new season in our home and family life. With just two girls still here, it is a quiet Sunday morning as I reflect on God’s greatest and most precious purpose in my life called motherhood. I love being a mom. I cannot imagine my survival during the darkest days of my existence had I not had little people who loved and depended on me. Now, looking back I wonder sometimes where to go from here. For all of their childhood, they always took precedence. Now what? As moms, we give and give to our children. We try to love them selflessly. Give them every opportunity. Encourage, equip and build them up to be the person that God created them to be and fulfill His Purpose. During the days of running, wiping, delivering, retrieving, cleaning, cooking, and caring for our brood, the days seem long and endless until you open the door to an empty room. Now what?
Two of my favorite mothers in the Bible are found in 2 Kings 4. Both are examples of woman devoted to their family who were willing to do anything for their children.
2 Kings 4:3-7 (NIV) Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
This mother was a widow. In Biblical times, this was a desperate situation which made this woman completely vulnerable. She could not pay the family’s debts. Her sons would be taken into slavery as repayment. When Elisha arrived, he asked, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” She said, “Your servant has nothing except a small jar of olive oil.” As moms, we tend to pour into our household. We give to our spouses and children often forgetting ourselves. Building homes filled with love yet taken for granted. When Elisha came to the widow’s home, he asked her what was in her home. She told him a small jar of oil. Oil represents the anointing of God.
A good mother will fill her home with more than just fancy meals, inviting accommodations and continual hospitality. She forgoes her office as housekeeper, bookkeeper, nurse and more to seek the Lord’s Face and pray for her family – her oil jar gets just a little bit fuller each time. There will come a day when it is time to take that anointing and passion filling our hearts reserved for our children (or so we thought) and pour it out on the world. Just as this woman, we have an anointing on our life that is not small and insignificant yet sometimes stifled by the lie of our enemy, He tells us that is all that we are good for. We become defined by a role portrayed by the world rather than embracing it fully and accepting that there is more.
I ask you today what do you have in your home? Is it time to take the show on the road? When we realize that God’s Anointing on our life reaches past our perceived roles into more, then we will begin to examine our life as God sees it rather than just how life titled it. Your role mom is not small or insignificant. In you is a Light of Love so profound and selfless that when you coupled it with Christ, now you are unstoppable. Your love for your children is full and complete so now as you look for other vessels to pour into you find that the overflow is more than imaginable. There are people who have never experienced the Love of the Father or their earthly parents who need the Light of His Love hidden in the fragile jar of our heart.
In motherhood, those who know the Lord will seek Him desperately and immediately on behalf of their children. Praying without ceasing is not a problem when it is your children who you pray for. This training ground of parenting in which we engage is to grow and develop us into fulfillment so with that same love and desperation – we can love others as Christ loves us.
2 Kings 4:27-30 (NIV) When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.” “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?” Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run. Don’t greet anyone you meet, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy’s face.” But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her.
The second woman found in 2 Kings 4 is the Shunammite woman. A godly woman who had opened her home to the prophet. She and her husband made a room in their home for him and provided for him when he came their way. Moved with compassion, Elisha wanted to bless this woman. When Elisha asked her what could be done for her, she asked for nothing. Her response, “I have a home among my people.” The woman was barren and her husband old. She had accepted her lot in life and was comfortable. Elisha told the woman, “About this time next year, you will hold a son in your arms. The woman was not overjoyed or overly enthusiastic but cautious. She said, “No, my lord! Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant.” She was hopeless. She had learned to be content in her barrenness. She had accepted her lot in life. She refused to reach higher than reality anymore. It had served her well and she did not want to encounter disappointment again.
Nothing can stop the Lord when He intends to bless us and the woman did bear a child just as Elisha had said. But this is not the end of her story but her purpose unfolding. The child became ill and on his deathbed. She knew straight where to go. She saddled her donkey and went to find Elisha. When Gehazi came and asked if every was okay, she said, “Yes” but why did she lie? Or was this her faith speaking? At any rate, she wanted to go directly to the man of God and seek the Lord’s Presence. Once there she said to him, “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”
Elisha immediately dispatched Gehazi to lay his staff on the boy, but the mother refused to leave Elisha. She knelt wrapping her arms around his feet. “But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her. Elisha went to the boy and he was healed. Most woman would have remained at their child’s side and sent someone else to get the man of God. But not this woman, she knew exactly where her hope was found. Not in the boy but in the Lord. Our life gets wrapped so tightly in earthly responsibility that it is hard to remember that our purpose is not found in the earth but Eternity. We must be very careful not to exalt our children above God. They are a blessing of God to us. He loves and cares for them. We must remain at His Feet and fulfill our purpose according to His Will.
2 Kings 8:1-2 (NIV) Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Go away with your family and stay for a while wherever you can, because the Lord has decreed a famine in the land that will last seven years.” The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines seven years.
Our purpose is not in a single moment but cultivated in a lifetime of serving the Lord. The woman was instructed by the prophet to leave her home as there would be a famine. So she obediently followed his instructions which cost her everything she owned taken by others in her absence. So just about the time Gehazi was telling the king he story, 7 YEARS LATER, the woman walks into his court.
2 Kings 8:5-6 (NIV) Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to appeal to the king for her house and land. Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” The king asked the woman about it, and she told him. Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”
We cannot see the end from the beginning. God knows the beginning to the end of our life as He has written it in vivid detail. It is human nature to become consumed by the role played in each season of life without regarding the future. God’s Plan always contains a future and hope. We move from glory to glory because Christ lives in us. These woman both experienced great hardship that led to dramatic growth in God. The blessing of God on their life in the process made a way for the rest of their life.
Today there will be moms who are celebrated and some who think they are forgotten. Children grow up. Move away. Rebel. Wander. Get busy and forget. Perhaps as the active role of mother wanes – you are wondering if your purpose is fulfilled. Never. The years of pouring into your family and children will make a way for an even greater blessing as we allow the Lord to use us in other ways. We just have to take our eyes off the present and choose to reach for more jars to pour into. They are out there believe me. If you will simply seek the Lord, He will show you your purpose beyond the four walls of your home. Motherhood is important. God created us for that role as women, but there is more purpose hidden in our fragile hearts.
Proverbs 31:25-31 (NIV) She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 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.
Being a mother causes us to become selfless and teaches us the value of unconditional love. Jesus gives us children to love and care for but not to be our fulfillment. They are just a part of a much greater purpose. We are not small and insignificant but mighty and strong. Our lives are developed through our attempt to raise individuals and we learn responsibility that once they are grown or gone allows us a gift for others. We learn to love a little more like Jesus when than sulking in our season, but striving to share His Love as diligently with others as we do with our children. Miracles will happen. Lives will be changed. Our joy will be full both now and forever. We will be celebrated not just in our home but the city we build in His Love. Lord, teach me today to become the Titus woman you have called me to be. Living in Proverbs 31, I have prayed and believed to be transformed. Just like the woman with the alabaster box poured it out at the feet of Jesus, our life of motherhood is our most valued asset. What I do with it matters after the children are gone. Now I must move to Titus to share this treasure of wisdom and knowledge with the next generation of moms lost in doing in need of undoing. Thank you for the reminder that I have purpose beyond the four walls of my home and caring for my children. Thank you for making me a mom… and so much more.
Titus 2:3-5 (NIV) Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.