* yes, there should be FIVE sets of boots but Allen ignored my advice to get adequate rain gear...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Motherhood and Jesus

I gave the devotional at my MOPS group this week.  A member asked me if I would post it so I am.  The theme for the year is "A Beautiful Mess" and the theme verse is Ephesians 2:10.

If you're interested in more information about MOPS, you can go here.  In short, it's a mother's group affiliated with churches but open to all.

The relationship between Christ and the Crucifixion is written about somewhat regularly but my line of thought was inspired by a paragraph I read 4-5 years ago.  It was another blogger commenting on yet another blogger and I have no idea where to find the original posting.  But, to that mother that wrote those many years ago, when I was staring at a c-section scar and wondering when I would ever "get my body back," thank you.


I gained insight into the power of the Holy Spirit in my early 20s.  I had stuck with a college I thoroughly disliked; worked a job I grew to hate; under a supervisor who clearly was in the wrong profession all due to some sort of internally driven, willful stubbornness that this was where I needed to be even if I didn’t much like it.  Through a series of decisions I likely really shouldn’t have made, I met my husband.

This sort of thing has happened often enough in my life that I have come to something of an understanding about the spiritual promptings of the Holy Spirit.  Whenever you find yourself on a path that seems to defy all reason but are quite sure it is the one you should be on, if you listen closely, you can hear the Holy Spirit hollering with a slight unholy glee, “Road Trip!”  The Holy Spirit is the best teacher you will encounter but the lesson plans are far from straightforward.

Pastor Chris came and spoke to our group a couple of years ago.  She touched on a number of topics but the thing that struck me was how my understanding of God had changed through my experiences of parenting.  I don’t think we can ever fully understand the decision and choices our parents made and I think God is, rightly, even more inscrutable, but, as I parent I begin to understand why you sometimes say “no,” even though you very much want to say “yes.”  I understand why sometimes, the process of keeping my children safe and healthy is in direct opposition to making them happy in that moment.  I have experienced allowing my children to feel pain even when I want nothing more than to protect them from it. I see times when the only answer is “because I have lived longer and have seen more and have more wisdom than you and because I said so.”  I do not know the mind of God but I do feel that I am closer to understanding his heart.

But, the question we are looking at today is how we can embrace our beautiful mess.  

I am looking at that even smaller question of what sort of growth does he offer in that moment that we take on the mantle of “mother?”  

If I grew closer to the Holy Spirit before motherhood, and closer to God the Father through the many acts of mothering, what did that point in which I physically became a mother, offer?

If anything is simultaneously beautiful and a huge mess, it would be having a baby.

For questions as complex as these, there are no simple answers but I once read a meditation on motherhood that seemed to contain at least a piece and now I shall share what I learned with you. 

I can only speak to my own experience and I know that some of you came to motherhood from a different path.  I most sincerely hope that you can find a bit of truth from my story to bring to yours.  

The author pointed out that sacred connection between childbirth and the Crucifixion.  Jesus’ body was broken and his blood was shed so that we could have a life transcendent past death.  He gave birth to our eternal life through pain, blood, and exhaustion.

My body was broken and my blood was shed so that my children could experience a mortal life.  When I look at my scars and my stretch marks and I consider all the things that don’t work quite as well and aren’t quite as lovely as they were before I had children, I consider the gift that they represent.  I was given the gift of offering life and for that I willing gave of my body and of my blood. 

While some mothers may not have had quite such a literal birth experience, I don’t think it could ever be debated that we have all been broken.  

We have all given far more than we thought we had to give.  

We have all had a moment where we looked to God and said “Seriously?  This is not what I signed on for.  I need an easier task.”

We have all had our time in the garden, in the darkest hours of the night, wondering if anything could possibly be worth this level of pain, deprivation, complete exhaustion and absolute isolation.  And then…

We heard that cry.  We looked at those little feet.  We counted tiny fingers and we felt that breath on our cheek and we knew that, yes, there was pain and yes, it was scary but also that yes, it was worth it and yes, we are happy we wound up on this very rocky but ever so sacred path.  

And, so, the next time you find yourself wishing that various bits worked a bit better or that various marks and scars were a bit fainter, remember that you became part of a symmetry so beautiful and so perfect, it must be divine.  

You are now in a unique position to tell and be told

“This is the body broken for you.  This is the blood, shed for you, that you might have life.”

This is the path offered long ago. 
 This is your story, written before you were even imagined.  
This is the sum of the choices you made and the choices that never seemed like choices at all.  
This is work of the Holy Spirit joined with the Father and with the Son.  

This is the broken that made us whole.
This is the bloodshed that offered us peace.

This is the love that brings forth life.

“We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

This is the body that was broken for you and this is the blood that was shed for you and 

this is the work of Christ


 it is also the work of mothers.

The work of Christ, who is so many things but one of them was taking the form of a mortal man, was akin to that which was ever before and ever after within the unique purview of women… 

of mothers

This is the body broken so we can do the good things.


  1. Beautiful Becky. Thank you soooooo very much for sharing. Goosebumps and a God breeze from this one :)

  2. This was incredible. I am sharing it with the moms I know.

    1. Sorry for the delayed response. This week has been busy! Thank you so much for the kind words. I'm glad it resonated with you. :-)

  3. Becky...this is working on my heart in so many ways, I would like to link to this in my next post if that's ok. So glad I stopped in to catch up tonight, Holy Spirit is using you so beautifully. Hugs from Alaska xxoo

    1. Of course it's ok! I had been wanting to ask someone who is Catholic... I wasn't sure what the teachings of the Church were about suffering during childbirth. Is this in line with what you were taught? Most of what I've read lends more to the use of the suffering to atone for those in Purgatory.

      A big wave from Virginia!

    2. Becky, sorry to not respond've got me writing a post on this now so it's in the works. Wishing you peace on this Sunday xxoo

    3. You mean you have things going on with your life full of littles? :-) No worries! And, peace be with you!

  4. Very beautiful, Becky!
    So true, a very good meditation on suffering in general and this suffering in particular. Motherhood is a form of priesthood, looked at a certain way. A participation in the priesthood of all believers that only women can understand. This is why I have no trouble with the reality that only a man (but not every man) can be an ordained priest. When a woman has the privilege of motherhood... well, let the men do what they can.

    1. Thank you so very much. That means quite a bit to me. And, ha!, about the men. :-) The thing this clarified for me (as writing things out does) is why Jesus had to be a man. I'm not saying I know the mind of God or anything like that, but, it made significantly more sense- at least to me- but there is still plenty of mystery.

  5. Sorely missing your blog posts. Seasons of life, I think you would assure me. Hoping you and your family are well and rising from the intense winter.

    1. I love you, Suzette! We are doing quite well. Blogging the US is more challenging for me for a few reasons. In Ireland, I had a lot of time for contemplation built into my schedule- I'm working on finding those times in the US. What to blog was more straightforward in Ireland since we would visit a castle, I'd take pictures, and then I'd have blog post. :-) This has been much more a year of transition than I expected and I've had trouble finding my rhythm. I'm confident I'll be back. :-)