For the Mother Missionaries Today

Phyllis Beveridge Nissila

Some of us were talking about what I would term the “missionary role called mothering”. Here are my follow-up notes for any mother who might need a bit of empathy, understanding, compassion, encouragement, and/or experienced-based knowledge today.

Note: this is not the sugary, for lack of a better term, greeting card kind of mothering (although those are useful for reminding kids to–buy greeting cards for Mom), but the kind of mothering that wakes one up, literally or figuratively, in the middle of her child’s “night” (day, morning, life) because she “knows in her gut” something is wrong.

The kind that then prompts a mom to scour her mind, heart, life, and all other available resources to try to know the perfect thing to do while also juggling the knowledge that a) there are few perfect answers to things in this life, and b) this struggle may well be the one her kid has to deal with on his/her own for the best and longest-lasting results.

The kind of mothering that never really ends even though the kid is 14 or 40 or 62 (as was the case with my own mother and me a time or two–even in her last months).

The kind of mothering that knows there will come a day when the kid will want to leave the nest and discover his or her own life/mind/beliefs/passions which, given the temptations out there, will bring Mom to her wit’s end and/or to her knees.

Many times.

Over the years.

The kind of mothering that fathers don’t get, can’t get, and/or won’t get (but they have their own issues).

The kind of mothering that is little valued but often blamed–curiously enough–by those who’ve never mothered.

The kind of mothering they never tell you about, of which the first 18 years merely scratches the surface of all one needs to know, do, plan for, apologize for later on, etc.

The kind of mothering that must decrease as the kid increasingly picks up the reins of his or her own life which happens in a five minute epiphany here, an afternoon of angst there; a couple of years of hard consequences, and/or mostly by decades of slow, maturational, wisdom-gathering (if he or she so chooses)–lessons learned by/from multiple sources, some of which it might be best that a mother remains unaware.

The kind of mothering for which there needs to be ministries, even in churches, called something like,

  • “Moms Are People Too,”
  • “Everything You’ve Always Wanted To Know About Mothering if You Are Thinking About It but If They Told You Ahead of Time You Might Run Screaming,”
  • “Prepping for 24/7, 365 Mothering: the Mission Field for Which There is No Subsidized ‘Missionary’s Furlough’,”
  • “How to Speak the Truth in Love and Then Duck” (this one is for mothers of teens and comes with maybe a chance to win a gift certificate for a week’s visit to a Spa) and its companion ministry,
  • “How to Duck Gracefully and Grace-filled-ly (not a word but fits).”

Almost forgot one more ministry called something like, “I’d Be a ‘Proverbs 31 Woman,’ too, If I Had Money, Staff, a Completely Supportive Spouse, and 36-Hour Days.”

(Extra credit for participants of any/all ministries who are not only mothers but also over-endowed with empathy and a tender heart.)

I know this isn’t the official Mother’s Day, but in reality, every day is Mother’s Day and I think somebody out there needs a little encouragement and understanding today.

Hang in there.

Been there, done (doing/will do) that.

More importantly, however, God “gets it” far more than we who are all His children may ever know.

Indeed, there is even a comparison of God in His “mothering role,” if you will, to us, as acknowledged by the prophet Isaiah. Consider:

Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. (Isaiah 49:15)

And He will help us with our own little/big/young/old ones if we ask.


Image of mother and child from Wikimedia Commons

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