I was a mother long before I had children.
Before I was married.
Before I was pregnant.
Before I miscarried.
Before I labored for 33 hours.
Before I pushed and bled and my firstborn came into the world.
Before my second refused to turn.
Before the caesarean.
Before the breastfeeding and diapers.
Before the potty training and feeding.
Before all the hugs and tears and feelings.
I was a mother.
I was a mother long before I had children, because I am a Christian.
As a Christian, I'm baptized into a family.
Not a club. Not a private little 2.5 child nuclear family with two parents and a white picket fence.
I'm grafted into a ginormous, dysfunctional, beautiful family. I'm baptized into a tribe, a people, a family of faith bound to one another by promises and the flesh and blood of Jesus, God-In-The-Flesh.
In our baptism, we're adopted by a network of mothers and fathers.
In our baptism, we're named and marked by a God who calls and commissions ALL to the vocation of parenthood.
And over the years, we make vows.
Vows to nurture, and raise, and love, and teach.
Vows to serve, and guide, and instruct, and help.
If we are followers of Christ, people of the Way, Lovers of God: We are parents. Whether we like it or not. We are bound to one another, and charged to share in the parenting of all little ones who are in our Family.
So whether you birthed or adopted or made vows as part of community of faith, Happy Mother's Day, y'all. I celebrate with you, and mourn with you, and I stand with you.
And I charge you:
If you are stretched thin and trying to be superwoman all by your lonesome, STOP. Ask for help. You are not meant to do this alone. That is not God's design. God's Story is about a COMMUNITY raising up one another, generation after generation.
Don't buy into the hype that you should do all this mothering all by yourself. That's a lie. Invite your brothers and sisters in the faith to live up to and into their vows. Love your children, by being honest. Love your children, by confessing you can't do this on your own. Look to others who are alone or lonely. Make ways to connect with those outside of your immediate household. In doing so, you will be blessed.
If you do not have children, biological or adopted -- you are still a parent. Live into your vocation. Live into this part of your identity. Reach out to those mothers, fathers, and children in your community of faith. Ask them how you can be a resource and a support. Be vulnerable. In doing so, you will be blessed.
Friends, we need each other. That's how its supposed to work. And good thing, too. Lord knows, I can't do this mothering thing on my own.
Follow Tara Woodard-Lehman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@theRevtwl