Gospel mothering

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By Jolene K. Hodder, Commissioner –  

Alice von Hildebrand is 97 years old. She’s a well-known feminist, and she never had a child of her own. Yet every year she is bombarded with Mother’s Day cards and wishes. And she takes great delight in responding to each one.

“I would not call myself a Christian feminist, but a champion of femininity,” she writes. “The sublime beauty of the female mission as virgin, wife or mother has been so degraded that I felt a calling to shed light on the privilege of being a woman.” 

But why does she receive Mother’s Day cards? She believes that “a woman by her very nature is maternal. For every woman, whether married or unmarried, is called upon to be a biological, psychological or spiritual mother. She knows intuitively how to give, to nurture, to care for others, to suffer with and for them.” In other words, there are countless people who are desperately looking for a mother. And Alice has made it her God-given mission to be just that.

I know individuals who have mothers but are spiritually orphaned. There are also those who have no mother of any kind. There are Christian moms who are overwhelmed or unable to meet all their children’s needs.

That’s why I’m convinced that all women are called to stand in the gap. Colossians 3:16a encourages us to do just that: “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another.

On the day of my daughter’s college graduation, I sat in the audience before the commencement exercises thoroughly convinced that I was a terrible mom. As a missionary, I had been away for the last four years. Sitting there with tears in my eyes, I reviewed in my mind all the missed birthdays, performances and other events of my daughter’s college career. I thought of all the holidays on which I could only speak to her via Skype. I thought to myself, “I should have been there for her!”

When her name was read out over the loudspeaker and my daughter walked across the stage to receive her degree, I stood up to cheer. Yet before I even had a chance to stand, I noticed others in the audience standing and cheering for her as well. I realized at that moment that God had used others to stand in the gap for me. They had all played a part in keeping my precious daughter connected to the Lord and The Salvation Army when I was unable to do so myself. 

Gospel mothering has an eternal impact. And God needs all of us to do it. Yes, it may require a few sacrifices. That comes with the territory. But the blessings? They go on forever.  

This Mother’s Day, I will send out more cards than I ever have before, thanking the Lord for the many gospel mothers in my life. And I will pray that the Lord sends me more children.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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