In seminary this year we are studying the New Testament. As I’ve been reading, pondering, and preparing lessons I’ve come to an even stronger realization than ever before that Jesus Christ understands motherhood.
The masses that pressed upon Him. People reaching out to touch Him. His constant teaching and guiding. Gathering children into His arms. Feeding the hungry. Clothing the naked. All this and more!
A couple of stories really stood out to me this time around as I have been reading the four gospels.
Matthew 14, in particular, demonstrates very well how Jesus Christ understands motherhood.
We read of the beheading of John the Baptist. When Jesus learned of it He sought solitude but instead was followed by a multitude. How many times do we as mothers seek a quiet place, some calm from the storms around us? Whether we, too, are mourning the loss of a friend or just needing some space to think uninterrupted we also search for a place of privacy.
There are mouths to feed, wounds to care for, and other needs to be met. Jesus Christ did not turn the multitude away. Instead, in His grief He had compassion on the people. He served when it was the most difficult to serve.
Mothers do that too. They stretch every reserve they have to meet the needs of their families. When they are sleep deprived or sick, physically exhausted, and mentally consumed, they keep serving, developing that Christlike love He has shown us.
Feeding the Multitude
How many times have mothers seemingly created a feast out of crumbs? (And also just served cold cereal because it was easy!) The Savior knew the people needed nourishment. Out of five loaves and two fishes He was able to feed 5,000. The great lesson in this story is He gave thanks first, then the miracle occurred. (see John 6:11) Expressing gratitude helps me as a mother. It makes me marvel at the mundane. Opens my eyes to what I already have. And then I am blessed with so much more.
It also works with feeding our children spiritually. Some days our spiritual reserves are small but we still kneel down and help our children pray. We read scriptures with them. We show them God loves them through our acts. Some days in the showing we hope to be shown that He has not forgotten us.
Praying for Fortitude
After feeding the multitude Jesus sent His disciples away as well as the people. It was now nighttime and here He was finally able to find some quiet corner of the world to pray, to be alone. He was renewing His strength to keep on going.
It is not rare to find mothers up late at night doing the same thing. They are just relishing the peace and quiet, or the feeling of not being thronged and constantly touched. And there, too, comes the thought, the need, to pray for fortitude to make it through the next day and the next.
All that praying and yearning does not go unnoticed! Even Jesus Christ, as He prayed earnestly in the Garden received Divine Help in His very hour of pleading need.
“And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” (Luke 22:43)
Angels do come in our hour of need! I can testify they do come. Sometimes they come as a voice over the phone offering encouragement. Sometimes it is a knock on the door with a willing hand to help fold laundry. And sometimes the angels coming, rushing, to help us are truly the immortal kind sent directly from God Himself.
“Do the best you can through these years, but whatever else you do, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, Because She is a Mother)
Jesus Christ understands motherhood! He knows what it is to give and give. In that giving is living. Living a life of endless sacrifice. In this, too, Christ has shown us the way to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1) Doesn’t that sum up motherhood right there?
Mothers are a living sacrifice.