Since one of the stated goals of modern society is the erasure of gender identity, it comes as no surprise that with Mother’s Day approaching, some on the fringes are crying sexism. Normally the fringes don’t bother me all that much. Crazy’s been around for a long time, and that’s not likely to change. But our culture has apparently installed an HOV lane from crazy straight into the downtown district of normal, because normal is changing at a rapid pace. So, here’s a brief theology of the glorious gift of mom.
It seems to me a wonderful idea to celebrate moms. I have a mom. I’m married to a mom. I pastor a bunch of moms. And since the idea of showing honor to one another is entirely biblical, celebrating our mothers is not only appropriate, but wonderful.
Motherhood is a Created Good
This one’s no longer obvious, so I’ll just state it plainly. God made motherhood, and He made it good. Motherhood is part of the created order itself—what Lewis might call the “deep magic.” In Genesis 1-2, God made man and woman and gave them a mandate to be fruitful and multiply. Part of God’s intentionality in making everything was to make women who became moms. No, motherhood isn’t a form of cultural misogyny, cast upon women to oppress them. Has it been used that way in the past? Sure. But when God made everything, he made motherhood as a good, intentional, beautiful gift. Therefore celebrating motherhood can be worshipful as we say, “God, thank you for your good gift of motherhood! Thank you for the good gift of mom!” To think of motherhood as anything other than a good gift given to women is to think very differently than God.
Motherhood is a Gift of Femininity
I remember going to city hall to register the birth of my first son. I sat down across the desk from the woman in the office of registration. She began to ask me questions. Name. Address. Occupation. “Pastor,” I said.
“Your wife?” she asked.
“She’s a homemaker and a mom,” I said.
She looked at me with one brow lifted, “So, she doesn’t have a real job, then?”
“You mean like sitting at a desk at City Hall?” She got my point, I think.
Culture (and by that I mean us) doesn’t value women as mothers as much as we value them as bodies and jobs. We’ll buy their albums as long as they’re super sexualized on the album cover. We’ll celebrate them as long as they’re fit. We’ll sing their praises if they achieve something in their careers, when they dress well, have nice homes, or become sexually liberated (whatever that means). If moms are celebrated all, it’s only when they have a baby and get their abs back in two weeks. Somehow, we’ve dislodged motherhood from femininity. But this is not the picture God gives us. Proverbs 31 gives us an amazing picture of a woman of valor, dignity, and deep beauty. What’s she like? She’s a mom, a wife, a businesswoman, a lover of God, and loving to others. Her abs, breasts, and fierceness are never mentioned. Not even once.
All this doesn’t mean you have to be a mom to be a real woman. It simply means that motherhood is a gift of womanhood. Gifts should be celebrated.
Godly Moms can Change the World
It’s not hyperbole to say the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. In my own experience, the amount of influence that my wife exercises over my kids constantly amazes me. She is making four little disciples all day, every day. These four little people will grow to be and do something—hopefully something amazing like, I don’t know, become mothers like her.
The influence of godly mothers is replete in history. Western civilization wouldn’t be what it is without St. Augustine. He wouldn’t have been who he was without his mother, Monica. Her prayers and guidance moved him from being a cult-member and sex-addict to the brilliant church father love. America wouldn’t be the nation it is without men like John and Charles Wesley. Their mother, Susanna, bore 17 children, losing more than half of them. She faithfully raised her kids and as a result, we got her sons. Susanna Edwards, wife of Jonathan (easily the greatest theologian America has ever produced) gave birth to generations of good, godly influence—13 college presidents, 86 college professors, 430 ministers, 314 war veterans, 75 authors, 100 lawyers, 30 judges, 66 physicians, and 80 holders of public office, including 3 U.S. Senators, 7 congressman, mayors of 3 large cities, governors of 3 states, a Vice-President of the United States, and a controller of the United States Treasury—all from her and her progeny. Moms—diaper changing, boo boo kissing, husband loving, child rearing, working, loving, totally normal human moms—can change the world.
So here’s to you, moms. You hold an office created by God for good and glory. Your motherhood is a gift of your femininity. Your influence is unthinkably great upon the future. To fail to celebrate that would be a horrible mistake, one which I mean to avoid by wishing you a deep, profound, and joyful Mother’s Day.0