Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be a mom. When I close my eyes, I can picture those early memories—me toting around my little Bitty Baby in a carrier while my mom pushed my little brother in the stroller. It is so ingrained in who I am as a person, that whether or not I would have kids was never a question, just how many and when.
But that all changed a few years ago when the doctors made it clear in no uncertain terms that it wasn’t in the picture for me, and a dream I didn’t even know was a dream was ripped from my hands.
And I cried.
I cried over my broken heart and unclear future. I wept at the feet of God and begged Him to take this cup of suffering away. And when He didn’t, I went back to face the world wondering who I was. Because being a mom? It was central to my mental picture of who I was, of who I was going to be, as a woman. And without it, I felt broken and the years of love that God had cultivated in my heart for children seemed like a waste. Who I was felt like a waste.
I dreaded that first Mother’s Day I was going to face knowing that it wasn’t a “someday” dream, but a dream I was burying.
The weekend before Mother’s Day, I met a friend for coffee. When I got to the table, I was greeted with a bright bag and sparkly tissue paper and a Mother’s Day card from her and her children.
She thanked me for being a mom to her little ones and for pouring into their lives the love of Jesus. She recognized my heartache of not having my own children to care for, but also said she couldn’t let the holiday go by without acknowledging the role I played in the lives of her children by using my maternal nature, the nature that God had given me, to express motherly love, kindness, and care for them.
And then we wept together.
But these were not the tears of grief that were so familiar to me; they were tears of joy that God’s work in my life was not wasted.
My motherly instincts, my desire to care for those around me, was not lost because I did not have biological children. God still had a purpose and a plan for every moment I’d spent preparing to be a mom.
She reminded me that day that, while I may not be a mother, God could still use me to be a mom to those around me. I can be a refuge for those who need comfort. I can feed those who are hungry. I can mend the hurts of those who are broken. In living as the hands and feet of Christ, I am acting as a mother, spreading His love, mercy, and grace.
In that coffee shop, the Holy Spirit restored the vision of who He had made me to be. He widened my view of motherhood and showed me that it was never just about showing His love for my own biological children, but to share that love with the world around me. My heart mended as I saw Him use the calling He planted in me at a young age to care for those around me blossom into a bigger picture that I would ever imagine.
I may never hold my own children in my arms, but God has placed all around me those who need motherly care. From a young age, He’s cultivated in me a heart eager to take up that call.