The other day I saw a video of a woman who looked to be nine months pregnant dead-lifting heavy weights and running up and down hills without tumbling over (like I would).
Clearly she stayed fiercely dedicated to exercising throughout her entire pregnancy. I had to laugh, because currently at seven months pregnant with my fourth child, I can assure you that woman was not me. Simply climbing the steps to the top floor of my house has me gasping for air like someone who’s changed altitudes while climbing Mt. Everest.
The video does make you wonder — is that hurdle-leaping mom stronger than other moms? Perhaps she is physically, but certainly her muscular ability is not the criteria for what makes moms strong. The strength of the strongest moms I know goes way beyond and way deeper than how active one is in the gym. (Phew!)
In fact, what mom-strength looks like is entirely different from family to family. Yet, if I’ve seen anything over the years, it’s that the strongest moms, no matter what their circumstances, share the same three godly characteristics: Faithfulness, Perseverance, and Hope.
Faithfulness to mother when you don’t feel like it. How many moms out there have days when they want to secretly Uber to the airport and hop on the next plane to Mexico? How many moms want to phone it in after hearing the painstaking crunch of dry Cheerios underfoot even though you asked your child to clean them up a hundred times? How many moms have a full-time job or struggling bank accounts that make it seem impossible to keep all the balls up in the air? Faithfulness is recognizing that raising children at times can be a thankless grind, yet still believing it’s an honor to mother your children by not giving up.
Perseverance when it’s really hard. I can immediately think of 10 moms who are persevering through very difficult circumstances with their children. Like one mom whose son is undergoing chemo for 60 weeks. Or one whose daughter suffered a metabolic crisis and was told she would be a vegetable, yet the now thriving 4-year-old continues to prove the world wrong by overcoming enormous obstacles. Or one whose children’s father died and she’s trying to help them move forward through heartache. Or one who is struggling through infertility after having no trouble getting pregnant with her first. Or one whose daughter’s special needs have kept her advocating for her at every single step, assuring she not be left behind. Or one whose number of miscarriages far outweigh the number of children in her home. Or another strong mama who lost her baby boy after only seeing him face to face for 30 minutes, yet she continues to praise the Lord for his life.
This Mother’s Day, mamas, my prayer is that we would all start to see one another the way God sees us––as strong moms..
Not one of these strong mamas ran from her circumstances. In fact, each one pushed forward, relying on the Lord in the midst of her heartache and challenge. The pain of her reality is ever-present, yet she perseveres.
Hope in something greater than herself. Another godly characteristic of a strong mom is her ability to have hope. The kind of hope found in Romans 8:18 that says, “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” She holds onto a necessary hope in Christ, knowing she is not walking the walk alone and one day there will be peace.
When I think of strong moms, I’m reminded of Naomi in the book of Ruth. Her circumstances were grim. She lost her husband, the father of her children. Then she lost her two sons. She urged her daughters-in-law to go back to their families because her own bitterness was too great. She walked honestly through a time of great loss and sorrow. Yet, in time, God began to redeem her life through her daughter-in-law Ruth. Naomi persevered through her pain.
I’m reminded of Sarah when she laughed at being pregnant at 90 YEARS OLD. She remained faithful even when it seemed impossible.
I’m reminded of Mary, who had to accept that her Son, Jesus, was not really her own. That God’s plan was far greater than anything she could ever take responsibility for. She had to let go of her own plan and have hope in One far greater than herself.
This Mother’s Day, mamas, my prayer is that we would all start to see one another the way God sees us––as strong moms. Whether you’re benching 100 pounds or sweeping up Cheerios or anxiously awaiting your adoptive baby to arrive or praying the tumor goes away or wiping away tears from a lost child, this Mother’s Day, may Christ’s strength be the endless well from which you draw.
You have not accidentally been given the wrong circumstances. You have been entrusted by a loving God with the child or children you have been given––and your role is to be their mom. May you find deep strength in believing that.