Michelle Duggar (mother of 19 children)….. A selfless mom that I admire.
Have you ever considered how we can possess and demonstrate “selfish love” in our roles of parenting? How is this portrayed to others and how does it affect them? I have recently been challenged with the many ways that I have loved because of selfish motives instead of sacrificially loving my children as God would want me to.
I have four different friends that I would like for you to meet. These are women who symbolize many various individuals whom we meet on a daily basis. You may be surprised by how many of these women exist. I had no idea until I became one of them.
I would like for you to meet Jamie. She is a friend who has always deeply longed for a child of her own but has never been able to experience this world of “motherhood.” She wonders what it would be like to hear that she is, indeed, pregnant. She hears you talking about how your children are driving you crazy with their insistent chatter and all the demands that they bring to you. She can only imagine how motherhood is a tough challenge and how difficult it is to make the sacrifices to share your whole life with these little ones who need so much attention. She doesn’t condemn you but she secretly wonders if you realize the special gifts that have been given to you. Do you know how amazing it is to hear a little innocent toddler throw her arms around your neck and call you, “Mommy?” She cringes when she sees you choosing not to have any more children because you are concerned about what others would say. Your reputation is very important to you. Jamie sees that many times parents decide to have children for their own pleasure. Then when parenting gets more demanding or takes more energy than anticipated, they decide to jump ship and say, “One child is definitely enough!”
Next, I would like for you to meet my friend named, Grace. Grace has been able to bring two children safely into the world. She is so thankful for this privilege but there is a loss that she feels for the babies that she was never able to hold in her arms. Her dream has always been to have a large family but she has had multiple miscarriages and realizes that her dream will never cross paths with reality. She sees you deciding that you are done having children after you see the financial strain that it puts on you. When you are in your final weeks of pregnancy, Grace hears you complaining about your swollen ankles and how difficult it is for you to sleep at night. She wonders what it would be like to carry a baby for so long with no fear of whether the baby will be healthy enough to survive outside of the womb. She knows it isn’t always easy to be positive but she wonders if you truly know how much that you have been blessed. She longs for her womb to again be able to produce life instead of it ending in death. Grace is aware that many parents choose to have children because of the security it brings them. When they are old and need someone to care for them, they are hoping that their children will then be available to assist them. She is saddened by this fact because she has seen how this brings no true security as a life can be taken in a moments notice.
Eileen is a mom who has been blessed with this great calling of motherhood. As you express frustration about your children’s indoor wrestling matches, another pair of good pants that are ruined with grass stains and one of your tea cups broken because of an energetic toddler jumping on the couch, she wonders what that would be like. She almost feels envious of minor bumps and bruises that you have to tend to because that means your children are healthy and active like children should be. Do you know how lovely the sound would be to her ears to hear her children running through her house. She doesn’t think you shouldn’t train your children but she just wonders if you know how incredibly blessed you are because you never had to hear the heartbreaking diagnosis that she received. Her children will never be mobile or be able to run and play or dribble a basketball. Eileen will never have her children’s assistance with household responsibilities like the majority of other moms experience but this doesn’t stop her from finding true joy in caring for the special needs of her dear children.
Cathy hears you complain about your rebellious teenagers and all the demands that they bring. You have to spend so much money in paying for auto insurance, clothes and college. In spite of all that, they never seem to appreciate or respect you! You talk about their dating experiences and then help them plan their weddings. Cathy wonders what it would be like if her son would have been able to live for a few more years. What career would he have chosen? What would her “angel” look like today? She would give up everything just to be able to buy him some new clothes again or pay for his auto insurance! She wonders if you are talking to your children in the same way that you would if you knew that it was their last day with you. Cathy knows that deep within her heart, she will always carry the raw pain of missing her son and not being able to watch him grow up, to her grave.
Whether you have felt that pain of loss from infertility, miscarriage, premature birth, a disabling disease or the death of a child, you are keenly aware of the miracle of life and how very precious each child is. I know that we are all very human and we experience many emotions and frustrations. I am not trying to bring condemnation but my desire is for you to understand that you have been given the most difficult but also the most rewarding task (if it’s done God’s way!) for a woman. You are raising a child…a precious soul who is created in the likeness of God. Ask your Heavenly Father to teach you how to parent His’ way.
Let’s hug our children a bit closer, talk a little kinder and love a bit more unselfishly!
P.S. For those of you who are wondering…I have experienced 8-10 years of infertility and my doctors informed me that I would never be able to become pregnant again. God intervened but I was heart broken when I experienced 3 miscarriages. We have experienced the disheartening news of a life changing diagnosis for 2 of our babies and 2 different encounters of very aggressive cancers in our oldest child. Currently, we are walking the journey of grief as we continue to miss our son, Austin, who went to be with the Lord on Oct. 31, 2010.