So here’s the thing. When I was a young girl, then a young woman who became a young wife and a young mother, I was so very hungry. Hungry, desperate for an older woman who was full of peace, full of joy, overflowing in wisdom.
I was eager to learn, wanting so much to be taught.
At key points in my life, God met my need. Here and there along my way, He put older, godly women in my path. Women who had followed Him through fire and through flood. Girls after His own heart who’d raised kids, loved their husbands and then, after that, loved me. And loved my family.
I think of these women as my spiritual moms. They have mothered me, counseled me, and prayed for me through some of the darkest, most difficult days of my life.
I still need some of that mothering. Still reach, on occasion, for that mentoring. But of all ever-lovin’ things, can you guess what has happened? The years went by, my walk with God deepened, and I find myself on the cusp of my half-century mark. And now, today, this…
So this morning, I’m sitting in a dentist’s chair. The young woman who attends me is cheerful and kind. She moves around the room with confidence, explaining as she goes, what she’s doing. We’re chatting about the weather, and in conversation’s flow, I catch two words, “my boy.” Of course, I’m going to ask it. “You have a son?”
Her face, she’s smiling. “I have three.” And mine is smiling, too. “I’ve got you beat by one,” I say. And there we go.
I tell her of my four sons, how I grieved (just a bit) a life without daughters, but how He showed me a truth that ushered in joy like a flood with my last one: that a loving God chooses (always, at all times) what is best, that in His sovereignty, “His best” was Boy Number Four.
I tell her how we’d named him before he was born. That his brothers had helped with the naming. That the meaning of his name was this, “God is my strength.” I look at her face. I can see it…
Her heart’s encouraged. She says it with her words, and her spirit’s open like a flower, turning toward sun’s rays.
I tell her of adventure, how flesh and blood went ‘cross seas. How a mom’s stretch marks never stop, that your heart just keeps stretching. How one’s labor never stops, either, for pain in the mothering births life.
I talk of boy things. Of firecrackers and bottle rockets. Vinegar ice cubes for my Cokes. Of the Indy 500 that roars through the house. Of Off! spray that’s used to repel a sibling (true words). And she’s laughing.
Of course, me, too.
Her sons? Five, 4, and 10 months old.
My sons? Twenty-seven, 23, 18 and 10.
I am now that “older woman.” I’ve got some miles on my treads, some wear on my fenders. The pain and stretching and enlarging of my heart is now being called forth, not just for my sons and my husband…
But for younger women behind me. Oh, glory! Oh, joy! There are so many ways to mother. So many chances to love and to nurture. To build up and encourage and to carry.
What a thrill, the work God has done inside all of me. The work that He gives me to do–with all of me. For other girls, other women, other mothers.
I am now a Filler of the Cup for them.
Grateful. Happy. Blessed.