By Mary Wiley.
Motherhood is the strangest thing.
In the past year and half, I’ve had the greatest opportunity of my life to become mama to two babies: one biologically and one through adoption. Both have been the sweetest reminder of the Gospel message to me.
I was five months pregnant when we received a call that there was a baby who needed a family. In just three days, we went from owning a glider and a baby pillow to welcoming a baby into our home. (I cannot say enough about the way our church served us during this time. They single handedly provided everything we needed and were the most beautiful picture of the church, but that’s a post for another time.) We loved this sweet baby before we even met him, but in many ways, he was a stranger to us. It took time to get to know him. He didn’t share our eyes or the shape of our ears, and we had no idea what to expect in his personality or his health.
Then, there’s our younger child, who since the day she was born has been strangely familiar. Watching her do the quirky things I thought only I did is like looking into a mirror. Her lip quivers when she’s about to cry, and she bites one side of her lip when she is thinking hard. I thought those were just weird things I did. Now they are weird things we do.
The dichotomy of holding one child that we anticipated for 9 months and one who was a complete surprise has made this season so special. We have the same deep love for these two as our children, but the way they entered our family is different.
This experience has given me a fresh perspective on how good the gospel really is. Despite the differences between my children, my husband and I love them both deeply. With motherhood comes a new understanding of the depth of sacrifice that would be required to willingly submit your child to harm, let alone to death on a cross for the wrongdoings of guilty men. Yet God did exactly this in Christ.
Here are 3 more ways this season has pointed me to the gospel:
God with Us
I look at our younger child and see so much of myself, and in that, I’m reminded that Jesus was “God with us.” This child is my flesh and blood, a genetic representation of her parents—and a picture of our brokenness as well. (This child already has a bit of an attitude that will probably get her grounded in a few years.)
Likewise, Jesus is a physical picture of what God is like. He dwelled with us and reveals to us God’s character and love. Hebrews 1:3 says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” God sent Jesus, who is one with Him, so that we might not only know about Him, but also know Him and have the ability to be made right with Him. Powerful stuff there.
Never Forgotten Child
Our younger child also is much more demanding than her older sibling. She lets me know with varying noise levels what she needs and when, and she prefers that I fill those needs immediately. I was at the point of exhaustion with this when I was reading through Isaiah and came across this beautiful verse:
“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
or lack compassion for the child of her womb?
Even if these forget,
yet I will not forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15)
What a picture of God’s care for us! A mom cannot forget her hungry baby – and even more than this, God will not forget our needs. He truly is a good, good Father.
Adoption Through Christ
Then, I look at our older child—who is not part of our family because of genetics, but because of love. Because he has been adopted, he’ll be part of our family forever with the same rights and responsibilities as any child who is or will be a part of our family. What a beautiful picture of how God has adopted us into His family! I am not a direct descendant of Abraham. I would not have been included in the people of Israel. Yet, through adoption made possible only through Jesus, the Bible says I’m a co-heir with Christ.
“But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
Loving Moms—and Would-Be Mothers—This Weekend
As wonderful as motherhood can be, it can also come with challenges. There were so many things I want to say to moms, to those who love on moms, and to churches in light of Mother’s Day this weekend. I pray that moms will be celebrated well and will consistently be pointed to the love of Christ for them that far exceeds the great love they have for their children.
Moms – whether you are moms because you carried your child for 9 months, adopted your child, or were only able to carry them for a short time, ending in sadness, I pray God gives you comfort, peace, and joy today. Those who desperately want to be moms but are struggling with infertility, I pray you will be comforted and can rest in God’s goodness to you, that He would send His child to dwell with people and ultimately pay their penalty for sin. Mother’s Day may be a beautiful, difficult, wonderful, painful day for many. May we be mindful and serve accordingly.
Mary Wiley lives outside of Nashville, TN with her husband and two one-year-olds. She works with B&H Publishing Group. This post was adapted from a post originally posted at www.marycwiley.com. You can read more from her or download a free 7-day devotional guide from John 1 here.