I grew up with my maternal grandmother. I never lived solely with my mother; she had tremendous issues and struggles that made it impossible for her to take care of a child.
Although my grandmother raised me, practically since birth, I never viewed her as my mother. I always knew that my mother existed but, for whatever reason, decided not to raise me. As you can imagine, this will mess with a child’s mind. I have been plagued with all manner of insecurities, unyielding feelings of unworthiness, and feelings of being unlovable. I often wondered if there was something wrong with me.
I spent most of my childhood with an unconscious desire to be mothered by my mother, but it never happened. She drifted in and out of my life like the ocean’s tides. Eventually, that became okay with me. She had her life and I had mine, and as time went by, our two lives rarely intersected.
As sad as all of this appears, this was my life. This is what I had always known.
But with the distance that time brings, as I reflect on my childhood, I can see clearly that the fingerprints of God were all over it! That lack of mothering actually drove me to seek out older women who would love and encourage me. Even before I knew Christ, during my junior high and high school years, God placed a couple of amazing teachers in my life who took time and invested in me.
Through the past twenty years of my following Jesus, He has been more than faithful to overflow my life with spiritual mothers. These women, these mothers have . . .
Wept with me,
Rejoiced with me,
Prayed with me, and
Prayed for me.
Each and every one of them has in some way helped to shape my walk with the Lord. Scripture tells us that older women should instruct younger women in the ways of God. And now, in my late thirties and single, without biological kids of my own, I have the privilege of being a spiritual mom myself to some precious junior high and high school girls at my church. It is one of the deepest joys of my life.
As women, we are called to both mother and be mothered. This happens no matter how old you are or what season of life you are in. This call from the Lord transcends biology and even expectation. Whether you too know the pain that comes from being a motherless daughter, the ache that emerges from wishing for children to fill your home, or the joy that flows from being a spiritual mom, know that you are deeply loved by a God who is faithful to fill our empty spaces.
Story by Karina Allen and featured in A Mother’s Love.
As Mother’s Day approaches, we know that it is a complex day full of many emotions and experiences. Know that at (in)courage, we are praying for each of you in this season as you remember, celebrate, grieve, or enjoy motherhood and what it means to you. Every single woman who loves, encourages, and nurtures those who become part of the next generation is doing amazing work and is to be celebrated.
Above is an excerpt from our book, A Mother’s Love: Celebrating Every Kind of Mom, which is full of reflections on God’s heart. Featuring unique and diverse stories from the (in)courage community, A Mother’s Love offers heartfelt encouragement to all kinds of moms, whether they’re a mother in a traditional sense, a spiritual mother, or a mother-like figure who breaks the mold.
This book is sure to help any woman share a meaningful gift with someone who has been impactful in her life, a new mom learning the ropes, or a close loved one facing the joys and challenges of any stage and type of motherhood. Compiled with all women in mind so we can celebrate those who made us, shaped us, helped us grow, and loved us well, A Mother’s Love is a beautiful gift for the moms in your life.
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