Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thoughts on Being Wife & Mother: A Letter to My Daughter

While I'm sharing about childbirth and labor experiences, I thought I'd share a letter about these things that I recently wrote to my daughter, in her celebration book. (I don't really keep a "baby book", per se, for her. I started a memory book for her to record her major "firsts" and anything I or others want to share with her for her to read as she grows to be a young woman.) So here's the letter I wrote a couple weeks ago, as I began to prepare for the end of this pregnancy:

Being a wife and mommy, Maranatha-- there is NOTHING like it!

I'm no expert. I've been a wife for almost 8 years and a mom for almost 6-- but I'm telling you- WHAT an adventure! This silly "modern" world will tell you that 'you can do anything a man can do'-- and to some degree, they've made it so that that's true (although men still have the corner on being daddies!). :-) But here's what they don't tell you: you can do some things, Maranatha, that NO man can do.

If God allows it, you can carry a baby inside your very own skin- feeling his or her little feet and fists and knees draw circles on the inside of your belly. You can lay in bed and marvel at this precious child inside of you in a way that no man will ever know. You can nurse a little one-- and know the joy of being used by God to nurture and sustain the life of a darling little human, created by God in His image.

Oh, and Maranatha-- there are so many things God teaches us through these roles of wife and mother.
  1. These roles connect us to God. *When you've literally given up your name and identity to submit and be a helper for the husband God gives you, what a picture that is of how we should be all the more submissive to and identified with Christ! *When you've poured out every drop of energy, sleep, breastmilk, love and attention that you possess for a little person who (at 3-4 weeks old) still doesn't even smile at you-- you have a sense of how much God gives us, though we do absolutely nothing for Him. *When your child is sick or in danger, you begin to comprehend how DEEPLY God loves us. *When you have a second child, you begin to understand how God can love each of us SO intensely, though we are all so different from one another.
  2. These roles connect us to Jesus' birth and life. *How sweet it is to have a baby growing inside of you and reflect on what Mary must have felt and dreamed for the baby Jesus in her womb. *How amazing to consider that this young Hebrew girl didn't have babycenter.com or "What to Expect When You're Expecting" or parenting classes at the hospital-- and yet, God gave her a cousin to assist through the labor & delivery of John the Baptist, so that she (a virgin) might be ready for this pain and work of bringing a baby into the world. *How sweet to nurse my babies, inspecting each hair swirl and toe and gazing into their eyes, and try to identify what Mary must've felt as she did these same things, knowing that THOSE hair swirls, toes, and eyes were formed, NOT by two humans' intercourse, but by GOD! * And I don't yet have a 33-year-old son, but I imagine I will one day be able to reflect all the more on Christ's death by considering Mary's anguish as a mother at the cross.
  3. These roles connect us to the Word of God. As a wife and mother, we are so connected to these stories of the women of the Bible, and can far better understand so much of the Word of God as we grow as women. *Hannah's longing for a child, *Sarai's quickness to "fix" the problem of not having a son, followed by her rage and jealousy towards Hagar, *Hagar's sorrow for Ishmael, when she thought they would die in the desert, *Rebekah's nature of trickery and manipulation on behalf of her son-- (your love for your children -if you don't submit that to God- can cause sin in your life!), *Rachel's intense jealousy and hatred of her own sister, all over children and jealousy (you'll see when you get to be a mommy one day-- comparisons KILL!), *Song of Solomon--what a wonder it is to love a husband and be able to draw insight from the Word about human and divine love, *Verses that compare God to a mother caring for children or nursing her baby.
Precious one, there is so much this world wants to 'teach' you, and there will be so many things that will vie for your heart and mind-- but I would urge you with all of my heart and mind to seek out the ways of God instead.

Instead of trying to be like a man, be the whole and complete woman that GOD MADE YOU to be! And Maranatha, that may or may not include being a wife. It may or may not include having biological children. It may or may not include breastfeeding. These things are all precious gifts from God, and they are indeed what women are designed for.

But, baby girl, whatever God crafts you for-- do it with ALL your heart and ALL YOUR MIGHT-- as a woman who longs to better know and please God through your experiences in this sinful (but still beautifully created) world.

Don't buy the lies that your worth is found in "breaking down barriers" of gender. Trust the way God designed you and let HIM direct your path. Oh how I love you, precious one. I can't wait to see what God will do with you in your life.

All My Love,

p.s.- There are many woman who have been faithful in their service for Jesus Christ who have not known what it is to be a wife and/or mother. And yet they were and are gloriously designed by God and used for HIS purposes. It is not these roles which I seek to praise-- but GOD! His designs and purposes for us are perfect-- whatever they do or don't include. I praise Him for His design of women- married and single alike. He has wonderfully made us!

But I share all of this as a caution for you-- don't listen to the world and its goals for your life. Seek God and HE WILL make your path straight, darling girl. He is faithful; the world is fickle. TRUST HIM!

And I pray God's blessings will rest on you, as a woman, wherever God has you on this path of womanhood. His plans for us are amazing and we will do well to trust HIM no matter where it leads.


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