TBT: The Emptying of Motherhood

TBT: The Emptying of Motherhood

Motherhood is filled with emptyings -- from the emptying of the womb in childbirth to the emptying of self in child-raising to the emptying of the nest, the ultimate goal. The stripping is hard, every step along the way.

And eventually, it may mean being alone on the day when moms have always been lauded and honored. This happened to me early on in the empty-nesting process. It could have shattered me were it not for my Abba Father's loving gifts to this hurting mama. 

Read More

The Emptying of Motherhood

The Emptying of Motherhood

Motherhood is filled with emptyings -- from the emptying of the womb in childbirth to the emptying of self in child-raising to the emptying of the nest, the ultimate goal. The stripping is hard, every step along the way.

And eventually, it may mean being alone on the day when moms have always been lauded and honored. This happened to me early on in the empty-nesting process. It could have shattered me were it not for my Abba Father's loving gifts to this hurting mama. 

Read More

Alone on Mother's Day?

Alone on Mother's Day?

There are lots of emptyings in life.  There are deaths and losses of every kind.  There are ends of relationships...ends of jobs...ends of school-years...ends of eras...ends of phases of life.  Some of these are expected.  Some catch us by surprise! This Mother's Day, I think of an emptying that affects all mothers sooner or later...the emptying of the nest!

Read More

Alone? On Mother's Day?

There are lots of emptyings in life.  There are deaths and losses of every kind.  There are ends of relationships...ends of jobs...ends of school-years...ends of eras...ends of phases of life.  Some of these are expected.  Some catch us by surprise! This Mother's Day, I think of an emptying that affects all mothers sooner or later...the emptying of the nest!

I know!  This is what we have been preparing our children for, right?...the launch, the flight out of the safety, security, and nurturing of their childhood home...out into the excitement of what God has for them up ahead.   But who ever prepares us moms?

I've always been an independent person. So releasing my children into adulthood...to make their own way...has caught me by surprise.  It has been harder than I ever thought!  In fact, it's been one of the swords that have pierced this mom's heart.

My mind goes back to a Mothers' Day at the very start of the emptying.   The Lord in a unique way comforted this grieving mother's heart.  It was at a time when my children, who were young adults, had just gone through some serious health crises.  So I was drained emotionally.

At that time, there were significant others in the picture.  So the issue of celebrating Mothers' Day became somewhat of a dilemma.  John & I decided to defer to the other mothers and postpone our celebration to the following Sunday.

That should have taken care of it, right?  But to my surprise, being alone on the real Mothers' Day was a grief to me!  I was doing my best not to wallow in my sadness, when the Lord surprised me with three gifts...three delights for a hurting mama's heart!  Three God-winks that most likely would have gone unnoticed had we been celebrating that day.

The first gift was finding old cassette tapes of my babies' voices.  (Keep in mind that in the 1970's early 80's, that was the best you could do to record audio.)  There were tapes of Jeremy and Beth when each of them was just starting to talk.  Others, when they were very young.  One was even labeled "doing school and being obnoxious!"  I listened...I laughed...I cried...as the bitter-sweetness of those precious voices washed over me!

The second sacred wink was catching sight of a mama house finch launching her babies.  Talk about the perfect metaphor at the perfect time!  Here the mama of the little family of house-finches, that had nested in a bush next to our porch, was giving this sorrowing mama a lesson in the circle of life.  I imagined mama finch saying her good-byes as each left the safety of her nest.  Was she grieving the way I was, or was she more courageous than I?

And last but not least, I just happened to come across a monthly letter from Telling the Truth, a ministry I had begun to follow.  I had tossed it aside to join my stack of others to be read someday.  By God's grace, in that alone time, I picked it up and started reading.  It all came together...

Stuart Briscoe, describing how motherhood changed his wife Jill, wrote:

When the baby was born, I stood by helplessly and watched the transformation that took place in my wife.  Motherhood changed her irrevocably.  As she nursed her child I detected a mysterious gleam in her eyes--a certain glow, a knowing, a secret insight that she shared with the new arrival.  She and he knew something that I didn't know.  I could do nothing more than observe and wonder at the mystery of motherhood.

He went on to say...

It occurs to me that the unique bond between mother and child makes possible an intimate nurturing relationship that men never know for they, by definition, are removed--they stand at a distance from the mother-child phenomenon.  But hard as it can be for the father to make the adjustment to the beloved intruder, there is divine genius in the arrangement.

For the day comes---all too soon--when the child must spread his wings and take flight from the nest.  Guess who struggles at this point?  The mother, of course!  Releasing and relinquishing are not mother gifts.

Guess who knows how to handle distance?  The father, naturally.  So as the wise mother has steered the puzzled father through the mysteries of nurturing, so the wise father now steps forward to guide the fearful mother through the anxieties of relinquishment.

And the child receives what he needs -- a healthy balance of mother nurture and father freedom... (Stuart Briscoe, Telling the Truth newsletter, May 1999)

What a comfort these words were.  Having never gone through this phase of life before, I was struggling.  And as hard as it was and would continue to be for some time, I had to realize in my experience that it is God's way to move my children into responsible adulthood.  It's their turn to step up to the plate of life and fulfill the will of God in their generation.

Emptyings are never easy...

But God's intent in the emptyings is never to leave us void.  He wants to fill us with a greater capacity for Himself...to fill us with a greater experience of WHO HE IS in every phase of life.

So dear mama-sister, if you are going through THE emptying of all emptyings (or so it seems at the time), open your eyes...there may be God-winks all around you, visitations from your Abba-Father to comfort a relinquishing mama's heart.

The God of my Mothering: the Unchanging God

Beth-Jeremy-e1305634179814-150x150-1
Beth-Jeremy-e1305634179814-150x150-1

Where had the years gone? Our son Jeremy was already married for 3 years and moving on with life.

Our daughter Beth --the "baby" of the family-- had just graduated from UD, gotten married, and moved to Arizona all in one month.  To top it off, our surrogate daughter Michelle, who had lived with us for about 3 years, moved to California a couple days after Beth's wedding.

Scan 9
Scan 9

Here I was with the "Empty Nest."  I guess I had lived as if there would always be young people in my home to spice up life.  Regrets started flooding in:  "I should have relished every moment more consciously."  " I should have enjoyed it more, rather than taking everything so seriously." And on and on with those thoughts that "eat you alive".

To add to all that, my mom was turning 80 and my mother-in-law, 81.  A friend of ours told us that statistically very few of those who enter their 80's live to be 90.  That hit me like a ton of bricks.  Chances are, we would be burying our moms in the next 10 years.  I guess I had taken it for granted that my hero of a mom would only be a phone call away or a day's drive away.

It wasn't that I didn't have other things in my life.  I had a "big" life...teaching ESL class, Bible studies, retreats...

G'ma & Babci 2008
G'ma & Babci 2008

But I was grieving!  Emotionally, I went into a months-long melancholy.

I started to ask myself, "What really endures in this life?"  In my head, I knew the answer, but I needed an answer for my heart.  Everything really important to me was drastically changing, and I guess I hadn't seen it coming!  Or maybe, being as independent and self-starting as I am, I didn't realize that it would be so hard!

Well, God, in His usual amazing way, started answering my questions and meeting me in my struggles.  In my devotions one day, I read:

In ages past You laidthe foundation of the earth,and the heavens are the work of Your hands.Even they will perish, but You remain forever; they will wear out like an old clothing. You will change them like a garment, and they will fade away. But You are always the same; Your years never end. The children of Your people will live in security.Their children's children will thrive in Your presence. Psalm 102:25-28 NLT

So what really endures no matter the changes in life?  The Everlasting GOD and those who belong to Him from generation to generation.

Let me ask you, dear moms,

When the "dust" of your mothering has settled, and you find yourself with "the Empty Nest"... When you start to lose the heroes of the previous generation, and you find yourself nearing the top of the generational ladder... What will stabilize you for the days ahead? To Whom will you turn...Who will never change and will be there for you no matter the changes?

May you find your comfort and stability in our Faithful, Unchanging God. And may you find your purpose in an ever deepening walk with Him.

FAITHFUL ONE Brian Doerksen

Faithful One, so unchanging Ageless One, You’re my Rock of Peace Lord of all, I depend on You I call out to You, again and again I call out to You, again and again

You are my Rock, in times of trouble You lift me up when I fall down All through the storm Your love is the anchor My hope is in You alone


Alone? on Mothers' Day?

There are lots of emptyings in life.  There are deaths and losses of every kind.  There are ends of relationships...ends of jobs...ends of school-years...ends of eras...ends of phases of life.  Some of these are expected.  Some catch us by surprise! This Mother's Day, I think of an emptying that affects all mothers sooner or later...the emptying of the nest!

I know!  This is what we have been preparing our children for, right?...the launch, the flight out of the safety, security, and nurturing of their childhood home... out into the excitement of what God has for them up ahead.   But who ever prepares us moms?

I've always been an independent person. So releasing my children into adulthood...to make their own way...has caught me by surprise.  It has been harder than I ever thought!  In fact, it's been one of the swords that have pierced this mom's heart.

My mind goes back to a Mothers' Day at the very start of the emptying.   The Lord in a unique way comforted this grieving mother's heart.  It was at a time when my children, who were young adults, had just gone through some serious health crises.  So I was drained emotionally.

At that time, there were significant others in the picture.  So the issue of celebrating Mothers' Day became somewhat of a dilemma.  John & I decided to defer to the other mothers and postpone our celebration to the following Sunday.

That should have taken care of it, right?  But to my surprise, being alone on the real Mothers' Day was a grief to me!  I was doing my best not to wallow in my sadness, when the Lord surprised me with three gifts...three delights for a hurting mama's heart!  Three God-winks that most likely would have gone unnoticed had we been celebrating that day.

The first gift was finding old cassette tapes of my babies' voices.  (Keep in mind that in the 1970's early 80's, that was the best you could do to record audio.)  There were tapes of Jeremy and Beth when each of them was just starting to talk.  Others, when they were very young.  One was even labeled "doing school and being obnoxious!"  I listened...I laughed...I cried...as the bitter-sweetness of those precious voices washed over me!

The second sacred wink was catching sight of a mama house finch launching her babies.  Talk about the perfect metaphor at the perfect time!  Here the mama of the little family of house-finches, that had nested in a bush next to our porch, was giving this sorrowing mama a lesson in the circle of life.  I imagined mama finch saying her good-bye's as each left the safety of her nest.  Was she grieving the way I was, or was she more courageous than I?

And last but not least, I just happened to come across a monthly letter from Telling the Truth, a ministry I had begun to follow.  I had tossed it aside to join my stack of others to be read someday.  By God's grace, in that alone time, I picked it up and started reading.  It all came together...

Stuart Briscoe, describing how motherhood changed his wife Jill, wrote:

When the baby was born, I stood by helplessly and watched the transformation that took place in my wife.  Motherhood changed her irrevocably.  As she nursed her child I detected a mysterious gleam in her eyes--a certain glow, a knowing, a secret insight that she shared with the new arrival.  She and he knew something that I didn't know.  I could do nothing more than observe and wonder at the mystery of motherhood.

He went on to say...

It occurs to me that the unique bond between mother and child makes possible an intimate nurturing relationship that men never know for they, by definition, are removed--they stand at a distance from the mother-child phenomenon.  But hard as it can be for the father to make the adjustment to the beloved intruder, there is divine genius in the arrangement.

For the day comes---all too soon--when the child must spread his wings and take flight from the nest.  Guess who struggles at this point?  The mother, of course!  Releasing and relinquishing are not mother gifts.

Guess who knows how to handle distance?  The father, naturally.  So as the wise mother has steered the puzzled father through the mysteries of nurturing, so the wise father now steps forward to guide the fearful mother through the anxieties of relinquishment.

And the child receives what he needs -- a healthy balance of mother nurture and father freedom... (Stuart Briscoe, Telling the Truth newsletter, May 1999)

What a comfort these words were.  Having never gone through this phase of life before, I was struggling.  And as hard as it was and would continue to be for some time, I had to realize in my experience that it is God's way to move my children into responsible adulthood.  It's their turn to step up to the plate of life and fulfill the will of God in their generation.

Emptyings are never easy...

But God's intent in the emptyings is never to leave us void.  He wants to fill us with a greater capacity for Himself...to fill us with a greater experience of WHO HE IS in every phase of life.

So dear mama-sister, if you are going through THE emptying of all emptyings (or so it seems at the time), open your eyes...there may be God-winks all around you, visitations from your Abba-Father to comfort a relinquishing mama's heart.

The God of My Mothering: the Unchanging GOD

Where had the years gone?

Our son Jeremy was already married for 3 years and moving on with life.

Our daughter Beth --the "baby" of the family-- had just graduated from UD, gotten married, and moved to Arizona all in one month.  To top it off, our surrogate daughter Michelle, who had lived with us for about 3 years, moved to California a couple days after Beth's wedding.

Here I was with the "Empty Nest."  I guess I had lived as if there would always be young people in my home to spice up life.  Regrets started flooding in:  "I should have relished every moment more consciously."  " I should have enjoyed it more, rather than taking everything so seriously." And on and on with those thoughts that "eat you alive".

To add to all that, my mom was turning 80 and my mother-in-law, 81.  A friend of ours told us that statistically very few of those who enter their 80's live to be 90.  That hit me like a ton of bricks.  Chances are, we would be burying our moms in the next 10 years.  I guess I had taken it for granted that my hero of a mom would only be a phone call away or a day's drive away.

It wasn't that I didn't have other things in my life.  I had a "big" life...teaching ESL class, Bible studies, retreats...

But I was grieving!  Emotionally, I went into a months-long melancholy.

I started to ask myself, "What really endures in this life?"  In my head, I knew the answer, but I needed an answer for my heart.  Everything really important to me was drastically changing, and I guess I hadn't seen it coming!  Or maybe, being as independent and self-starting as I am, I didn't realize that it would be so hard!

Well, God, in His usual amazing way, started answering my questions and meeting me in my struggles.  In my devotions one day, I read:

In ages past You laid  the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. Even they will perish, but You remain forever; they will wear out like an old clothing. You will change them like a garment, and they will fade away. But You are always the same; Your years never end. The children of Your people will live in security. Their children's children will thrive in Your presence. Psalm 102:25-28 NLT

So what really endures no matter the changes in life?  The Everlasting GOD and those who belong to Him from generation to generation.

Let me ask you, dear moms,

When the "dust" of your mothering has settled, and you find yourself with "the Empty Nest"... When you start to lose the heroes of the previous generation, and you find yourself nearing the top of the generational ladder... What will stabilize you for the days ahead? To Whom will you turn...Who will never change and will be there for you no matter the changes?

May you find your comfort and stability in our Faithful, Unchanging God. And may you find your purpose in an ever deepening walk with Him.

FAITHFUL ONE Brian Doerksen

Faithful One, so unchanging Ageless One, You’re my Rock of Peace Lord of all, I depend on You I call out to You, again and again I call out to You, again and again

You are my Rock, in times of trouble You lift me up when I fall down All through the storm Your love is the anchor My hope is in You alone

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecmDytp3nNw[/youtube]