One Proud Mama Bear

Last week was the last night of the student wives class that I taught. They were a sweet group of ladies learning the art of teaching. Their final exam was to give a 10-minute devotional. You should have been there. I was a proud mama. Yes, I said “mama.” These ladies are “My Gals” . . . as are all my other students.

In recent days, I have found myself crying with, praying with, cheering on, challenging, and protecting my gals. I even reassured one not to worry as mama bear’s claws were out and poised at the ready. Daily I arm myself, both spiritually and literally, prepared to do whatever it takes to protect them from the schemes and acts of the evil one. I would lay down my life for each and every one as any mother would for her child.

May I stand on a soapbox for a minute?

Those of you who are followers of Christ, and for whom God has not placed a child in your arms or your home, are deceiving yourselves if you say you are not called to mother OR that God is short-changing you in the motherhood department. It is time to counter that lie with Truth. With the decision to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior comes the responsibility and yes, even the calling, to be a spiritual mother to someone else. True, the reality is that God did not choose me to be a mother, but it is just as clear that He has called me and expects me to mother. And to say that God was not fair or short-changed me, cheapens the work that God does through me and allows me the privilege to be a part of

What does spiritual mothering look like for me?

Sometimes it looks like being a Foster Mom. Many of the gals who are here at Southwestern are miles away from their real mothers. They are not afforded the luxury of being able to see or talk to her on a daily basis and I become a type of foster mom who fills a need for a short time.  In these relationships I get to have conversations with women who just need a mom’s perspective. We talk through future plans, relationships, spiritual plateaus, fears, and dreams. While we stay connected after they leave Southwestern, my influence and mothering is temporary.

Sometimes it looks like an Adoptive Mom. Some gals come here and mom is not an influential part of her life either because she is no longer living, or the life choices mom has made makes the relationship difficult. God allows me to build relationships with these sweet daughters in a way that we are forever connected. My “adopted daughters” are few and far between, but are the deepest and most meaningful relationships that are developed.  Like other mothers of adult daughters, the relationships evolve over time to being more of a friendship. And though they have left the nest of Southwestern, we still stay in contact, I still love them, and I still consider them mine.

Sometimes it looks like being The Aunt. Some gals are here and have a close, open, relationship with a mom with whom they have regular, almost daily contact. So, I get to be the aunt from whom they seek second opinions. (Yes, that dress is way too short!) We get to do fun things together like shopping and lunches. And I get to ask the questions that only aunts get to ask. You know, like “So who was that boy I saw you sitting with in chapel today?” Or, “And why did you wait until the night before to study for that exam?” I get to ask the tough questions in a way that feels more like accountability versus a mom keeping too close an eye on them.

What you moms do looks much like what I do as a spiritual mother :

  • I laugh with them and celebrate with them.
  • I challenge them and sometimes discipline them.
  • I teach them about real life and the skills needed.
  • I grieve with them and for them.
  • I pray with them and for them.
  • I listen to them.
  • I protect them.
  • I answer every question they have as openly and honestly as possible.
  • And, I launch them from the nest even though they try to hold on with all their might.

Recently, someone asked me what have been the high points of my time at Southwestern and immediately the faces of “my daughters” came to mind. Even now, while writing this, with proud tears rolling down my cheeks, a decade’s worth of faces clicks through my mind’s eye.

Is spiritual mothering as rewarding as being a mother? I don’t know, as I have not experienced the latter. What I can say is my heart is full and yes, I am a proud mama!