I asked the Lord to guide me in a subject for this post, I personally had a few thoughts, but was unsure where to go. When I stopped thinking and prayed quietly for a moment, I was rather surprised when I heard this word in my head! I shouldn't have been surprised though, as I felt the warmth of understanding cause a smile to spread across my face. This is a wonderful word and in coming to understand the feeling of love through me as the Holy Spirit, I am just happy to be asked to take a moment with this word.
In the New Oxford online dictionary, "mothering" is a verb defined as, bringing up a child with care and affection. Some of the synonyms listed were; protect, pamper, coddle and raise.
For comparison I also looked up "fathering." The definition read, to treat with protective care, bring into the world and parent. Interestingly it also had, our Lord God.
I found it interesting that, although God was mentioned, neither definition included the term, "love."
In the biblical reference I ended up at gotQuestions.org and saw there what had been missing. In as simple as learning the definition of the Greek term used for motherly love in reference to Titus 2:4, I read what I had the fortune to experience upon the birth of my son, upon meeting my daughter and what continues in such joy and love today.
...Yesterday my twenty year old was not feeling well and needed a supportive ear, some encouragement and advice, and love. Today we went to visit our daughter and our grandson. We took lunch, some extra food and some surprises. We enjoyed four wonderful hours cuddling, talking, encouraging and laughing and many love filled hugs and kisses. We witnessed him pulling himself up with his own strength and standing independently for the first time ever. I watched my husband father his grandson and I watched our daughter mother her son. The slight differences between the two became a bit clearer in definition, and love was definitely in that definition.
Both protect, both parent, both coddle, both share the connection of love, but mothering... it's that deep awareness between the mother and the child. An awareness that makes the child turn and look towards the bathroom when mom has left the room. Not looking around because she left and they are not sure where she is, but the look in the exact direction because they KNOW where she is. The awareness that allows a mother to dive in the right direction to avert disaster when her back had been turned. The awareness that encourages a tear with every time a little hand reaches for hers in fear or sadness, every time a weary head rests against her shoulder in contentment. The awareness that will continue to grow, and know and understand that there is a problem, or a sorrow, or a joy or a need before it is expressed. To sense that even through the ringing of a phone.
A connection that grows while teaching, listening, feeding, singing, even disciplining.
And the magic of the whole defining experience, is love. It's the God connection given to parents through love. The willingness to sacrifice for and fight for and die for our child. To teach, to nurture, to show them God. To love.
Tomorrow I will get up early, pick up our son and run some errands with him through new territory in life's learning, and I am sure we will discuss what is on his heart, listen to the music he has grown to like, grab something quick for lunch and then take some photo's of the area for a friends project. I will sacrifice my time, delight in letting God love through me and be unbelievably thankful for being given the gift of motherhood. And although there are many more refining lessons availed in scripture, it all is a God given instinct with love. It's a rich treasure, brighter and worth more than I could ever have imagined, this mothering, this love.