Greetings Ignitum readers! My apologies for missing my last posting here a few weeks back. I’m sure you were all wondering where I was (uhh hum) and/or waiting with bated breath for the announcement of my baby’s birth (you didn’t know I was even expecting?!). Well I am slowly coming out of the postpartum fog that has surrounded me since the birth of my fifth child, Levi Joseph three weeks ago today. Late nights, lots of diaper changes, soreness from labor, delivery, and breastfeeding, trying to get life back to a new normal with five children…. It is all honestly exhausting and sometimes during the middle of the night feedings I pause and wonder, “Why in the world do we do this?!?”
Then I look down at this tiny bundle nestled here in my arms and smell the faint trace of Chrism oil still present from his recent baptism in his baby soft hair, and I reminded that this work is not of this world. I am overcome with emotions of intense gratitude and humility when I recognize that I have been asked to raise an eternal soul created by God in His own image and likeness. I will have the honor of being called Mom by this beautiful child and his accomplishments and character will reflect the love I have invested in him. This is truly a gift that I cannot comprehend. This gift of Motherhood. This amazing gift that I never even knew I wanted until I was one. The role of a lifetime that I was called to from the moment of my creation by a God that knows my purpose better than I do. Motherhood.
Motherhood has been something I have been pondering a lot lately. You see I am passionate about something called New Feminism and have written a bit about it over The Guiding Star Project website and here at IT too. The idea and call for the New Feminist movement came from one of my favorite men, John Paul 2 in 1995 when he asked the women of the Church to establish an authentic form of feminine expression; one that works to turn back the destructive forces of the earlier feminists who promoted the idea of women independent and separated from men and children. I believe what JP2 was really asking the faithful women was for us to embrace and elevate the status and vocation of motherhood in our culture to once again remind humanity what it means to be valued and cherished by a mother.
Embracing motherhood does not necessarily mean that a woman must conceive and give birth physically to children in order for her to “mother”. In fact there are many women who have borne children who have never really mothered. And on the flip side, there are many beautiful mothers whose wombs will never carry a child. Motherhood is the expression of the feminine traits that are intrinsically built into us when we were created women. The unique talents and gifts of females are perfectly suited to the mothering of humanity. Our intuitions, communication skills, empathy, personalization of others, and emotional capacities are exactly what our world needs to see expressed to turn towards an attitude of appreciation and acceptance of life. The feminine virtues expressed through the selfless sharing of our lives and acceptance of others is what JP2 was asking of today’s women when he called us to become New Feminists. He was asking us to exude the qualities of motherhood to a world very much in need of a mother’s love. The people of our world need desperately to be reminded of and experience the unconditional, unending love of a mother. Either by mothering her own children physically with great love and intention, or spiritually mothering those in her life with kindness and prayer, this selfless love is how women best show others the face of God.
I alluded briefly above that I never really necessarily wanted to be a mother. I grew up a fairly competitive and driven young woman who perhaps felt a need to prove something to someone. Who I was trying to impress I’m not really sure (perhaps the women of the previous feminist movement?), but I felt like I’d be letting someone down if I didn’t add a few credentials to my title. And these credentials had to be in the forms of degrees, diplomas, and career advancements; not a spouse, children, or personal fulfillment. The pressure to fill these requirements of success led me to spend more time preparing mentally for the working world and not seriously considering motherhood as a call upon my womanhood. In fact, if someone had said that I was called by the mere coincidence of being a female to emanate some sort of “motherhood vibe” to those around me, I would have likely found that very insulting of my intelligence and degrading of my accomplishments. I did not understand that I was being raised in a world where motherhood was all but lost outside our own little family units, and that this attack was leading to a massive cultural loss of respect for other human beings.
I can see these things now because, by God’s grace, I ended up falling in love, married, and became a mother before I was able to fall too deeply for the pride and lies of my old understanding of success. I became a mother physically and very slowly began to understand that just as I need to teach my children to love their siblings and playmates and treat them kindly, someone too needs to teach this to all the motherless children and adults of our world who were simply not taught that everyone is created in God’s image and likeness and therefore deserves love and respect. We have entire generations of people who were born into scenarios where they have been treated like burdens, or have been ignored for other pursuits, or have just not had the good fortune of a good mother figure in their lives to teach them their own and other’s worth. However, I firmly believe that no one is ever too old or too hardened to be reached by the kind of love that comes from a true mother. So there is hope.
If the women of today can recognize and embrace their uniquely feminine gifts and talents and express them to our world in the form of a mothering type of love, we can change the course of our nation. If we can love our coworkers, and listen better to our in-laws, and provide non-judgmental support for the needy in our lives, then God can use those efforts to remind those most in need of their worth and value. Just as the Father sent the Son to show humanity the way to live, He now sends the mothers to remind us just how special we all are and to bring the entire family home to heaven.
Lord Jesus Christ, just as You have entrusted me as a new mother with the eternal soul of my child, please bless all women with the grace to accept Your call to embrace our femininity and mother humanity home to You in heaven.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Leah-Jacobson-e1318950563716.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Leah Jacobson is passionate about John Paul II’s “New Feminism” and teaching women about the amazing dignity and worth of their bodies. She founded the Guiding Star Women’s Center in 2009, a non-profit focused on uniting the pro-life movement in Duluth, MN, and coordinates a national effort called The Guiding Star Project whose vision is to create a Culture of Life by creating greater unity and collaboration of pro-life groups. As a homeschooling mother of five young children, and a lactation consulting graduate student, she feels she understands better than most the pressures and stresses facing women and families in our current culture.[/author_info] [/author]