Today, you are mama-to-be. At the start of your journey. Your body will be stretched. Your heart will ache for the one you have yet to hold. And just when you think you can’t bear it anymore, your body will bring forth life. Beautiful, sacred, life.

And you will be her mama. Through those first years, you, Mama, will be the source of everything she needs. Your body has done the work of growing her. Now it is the sacrifice of your heart and soul to nurture her. Your body will admit defeat. Long nights turn into early mornings. Exhaustion overwhelms, and you’ll long to feel like you again . . . yet, Mama, you continue to give and pour into that sacred life day after day. 

Toward the end of the first year, she will look to you and say “Mama”—your favorite name, her word for everything . . . because to her, you are everything.

As she transitions from baby to little girl, your name changes again. “Mama” means everything, but she is growing more independent every day. She can eat by herself, put on her own clothes, and has even mastered potty training. Soon, she’ll be walking the halls of school alone. Simply waving before she enters those doors as you look on, longing for your home to be full again. She needs less of you physically. 

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And so, she calls you “Mommy”. Mommy brings comfort. Mommy cares. Mommy is always there. In the midst of her independence she will fall and fail. She will get bruised and cry out for help. Mommy. This is where you nurture, comfort, and encourage her soul. You are a gardener, and she, your rose. The truths and love you speak now she believes and carries her whole life. And from those words, she will bloom. Mommy. Mommy cares. Mommy loves. Mommy is always there.

Eventually, your name will change again. A child too preoccupied with growing up, friends, and extracurriculars, will be too old for her everything mama and too independent for her caring mommy. 

So she’ll shorten your name to “Mom”. Perhaps shortening your role in her life. Or maybe, your shortened name will be a reminder of the short time you have left before she goes. There will be arguments. You’ll wonder if she’s retained or even cares about the things you’ve poured into her. You’ll start to believe you don’t matter anymore. But don’t fret. 

Mom simply means home. Mom means a single constant in an adolescent’s world of chaos. Mom gives refreshment and life to her child overwhelmed with this stage of life. Mom means there is always someone to go back to. 

This season is a season of battles, your heart will feel torn, your spirit almost crushed . . . but don’t look beyond the battles. For in the midst of the battles, Mom is the reminder of everything young warrior longs to be. Stand tall, Mom. Keep refining, Mom. She will come home, Mom.

In what seems like a flash, there you will sit. Your shining silver hairs will gleam in the sun, a vision of the brilliant crown awaiting you in glory. Your name longer, much like the life you’ve lived. Your days simple. Your home awaiting the next visit. And your heart longing for the mama, mommy, and mom you were yesterday. 

You won’t hear your name as often as you used to, and many of your updates come by phone. But you will sit waiting, longing to hear your child’s voice again. And when she calls, she’ll say, “Hello Mother!” Mother, meaning faithful, wise, grace-filled, kind, love.

On this journey of motherhood, your task has been much more than raising children. Your greatest task has been to personify these words . . . always pointing back to Jesus.

You brought forth life, and gave her your everything. Mama.

You nurtured hearts, planting seeds of the Gospel. In the midst of comforting you introduced the Great Comforter. Mommy.

You stood tall, unrelenting, unwavering, a constant home. In the midst of battle after battle, you revealed Unconditional Love. Mom.

And there you will you sit. Your simple days will be spent praying and reading. Faithful. Wise. The legacy you’ll leave behind will be stamped with the Gospel at every twist and turn. And your children will called you blessed. Mother.

Originally published on the author’s blog 

Arianna Freelen

Arianna is the wife of a rugged man and a mom of three little princesses. She is a photographer, professional furniture re-arranger, purger of all the things, Celine Dion karaoke queen, and Classic Coke drinker. She loves to write about her Savior, her role as a wife and mother, and finds fulfillment with her arms full of those she loves most. You can learn more about her life at www.choosingfreelen.com and @choosingfreelen.