Survival has been my mode for so long that I just assumed it’s what life requires. Not that less is demanded of me now, but like a dog sniffing into the autumn wind, I’m sensing a change. Maybe it’s that the empty nest is within sight, maybe just my age (almost 49), but it just dawned on me that perhaps like life in the womb, so earthly life has three trimesters, before we are born into eternity?
My youth was a daunting adventure of “finding myself” and being found by Christ. Conflicting desires drove me equally into disasters and triumphs, with my own self the only chip gambled. Or that was as far as I could see: me. I was a prodigal daughter, coming to her senses.
Enter marriage, ministry, and munchkins. Suddenly somebody cared if I closed the cabinets doors or stayed up all night. Suddenly, I cared, from depths that had never been mined in my soul before, about the nuances in their eyes and the intonation of their voice, and every little thing mattered.
I tasted the delicious budding fruit of surrendering my personal space, as “me” became “we.” Young, strong, and idealistic, I thought baby laughter and “tell me a story” would always only woo me further from first-trimester impetuousness into the uncharted terrain of others-centered, God-fueled love.
But when staying up all night went from the reckless choice of a dreamer to the relentless chore of a mother, night after night, year after year – and when the dual calling of motherhood and ministry became a torturous tug-of-war inside, exhaustion gradually replaced joy with gripe.
Bludgeoning the naive idealism of youth, uninvited monsters emerged from the sewers of my selfishness. In spite of the damage they caused, in spite of my children’s precocious precision in verbalizing that, I still coddled too many for far too long.
But at some point I realized that neither discontentment, confusion, nor any of the other villains must ever be my friend, no matter how indulgently they take my hand and assure me that no one else understands. Enough! No more sipping tea with these imposters, when the venom in their cup poisons everyone I cherish.
And that’s when I began becoming “Mama”.
When I declared war on my own flesh, I began to realize how many prisoners this foe cons into isolating captivity, and a bear-like roar began its rise from my deepest spirit to liberate them. They are all my cubs.
No, they are His, and when He entrusts them to me to cherish and to raise to adult faith, while simultaneously, He raises me, I feel His heartbeat. It’s a rising thunder in my chest that yearns to reach out, pull in, and embrace anyone younger, anyone willing. My arms and my time are too short, but somehow He stretches both with the chords of His love.
Whether my kids, their friends, or or my darlings at church, when they call me Mama, my eyes leak from joy. Not the untested joy of my first trimester that didn’t run deeper than passing personal pleasure. No, this is a swelling tide that brushes past me as it flows from the River of Life to those He yearns to nourish.
There’s an urgency in its surge. An epic awareness that heaven and hell are about to collide like never before, and trusting His Truth is the only Ark provided.
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)
Time is short, and as He calls to me, I’m calling to my cubs,
“Do not be terrified, or afraid of them. The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ (Deuteronomy 1:29-31)
If you’re a cub, can you hear Him? Do you trust Him? If not, run to the mama He’s provided in your life, and let her into your fears and frustration, so she can guide you to safer ground.
Run to Him!
“Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.”
But if you know you’re called to become Mama, let His roar rise within you. It will never be convenient, and you will never have what it takes. All that is His to figure out; your role is simply to yield to His heart reaching through you, and His grace will extend to you.
I’m not suggesting you haven’t been faithful thus far. I am suggesting a time is right at the door where we need all hands on deck, and all of us spreading our wings over as many as possible.
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name… Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. (Revelation 3:8,10,11)
More invigorating than survival mode, this perseverance (g5281. ὑπομονή hypomonē) is a cheerful constancy springing from His joy in us, when His mission becomes ours.
“There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.”
It’s almost here…
“The time is now for lifting souls
The time is now for letting go
From your skin to your core
Let light and love come rushing through the door”
~ Phil Wickham