An Attempt to Explain
“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” (Mother Teresa)
Last night my husband and I went to visit some friends at the hospital who just had their first child. This little baby girl, not even a whole day old, weighed less than six pounds. She was beautiful and delicate and pure. And as I held her, I was in complete awe of God’s creation. Yet still there was no undeniable yearning inside of me to have my own.
Each year I get older and each wedding anniversary I celebrate, I am forced to try to explain to others why I don’t want to birth my own children. Now I’ve heard it all before, “that’s strange, unnatural, unbiblical, and are you an alien?” But what if these so-called, “maternal instincts,” are sometimes learned and not innate?
I believe there are a handful (or maybe even majority) of moms who stumbled into motherhood on less than ideal circumstances. And these women were forced to acquire their maternal instincts in a brief nine months. Whether through an unfortunate situation of abuse, or a neglectful one night stand, both inopportune circumstances can result in beautiful miracles. What man meant for evil, God meant for good.
Of course there are the women who just knew since they were little girls carrying around baby dolls that they couldn’t wait to one day be a mother. (I carried around teddy bears if that means anything?) So they fell in love, got married, and a couple of years later had children.
There is also a whole other demographic of women, who since the beginning of time have felt like outcasts. Much less in present day than hundreds of years ago, but the woman who was barren was socially perceived as less of a woman. Some even believed it was curse. Yet this is nonsense because scripture tells us that God can choose to close the womb on His own accord. What man meant for evil, God meant for good.
But there is this last, very minute, group of women who feel called to be a mother to the motherless. This is where I align myself. There are many reasons that make up each group of women. Mine may be that I was an only child, never around many babies; or that I have a broken relationship with my mom, and am afraid. But whatever the circumstance that made me who I am, what man meant for evil, God means for good.
I help my husband lead the mission team at our church. And every year we get to travel to the other side of the world and minster to the Fatherless. And never do I have to concern myself with who will watch our kids, or what will happen if I died on this trip. My chief concern is the gospel. Most moms do not have this “luxury.” Now I won’t pretend to be “super religious” or that I’m an aspiring Mother Teresa. (Because I most certainly am not! Though I do find it interesting that she’s known as “Mother” despite the fact she never birthed any children. Perhaps being a mother means more than giving birth?)
Maybe you have heard the passage in 1 Corinthians 7 where the Apostle Paul speaks on marriage. And then there is the part where he says, “Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am [unmarried]. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.” If you are married, you understand why Paul said this. But he then goes on to say, “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.”
Well most simply, that is my reason. I believe the Lord has assigned me a different role than He has assigned other women. And if I’m wrong, then I will be held accountable for that, I know. But for now, can’t we just embrace that God may have made me different from you?