As we journey through Advent, God often reveals an aspect of Mary’s character for me to focus on. This year, it’s Mary’s spiritual motherhood and what it means for me.
I wanted to be a mother ever since I was a little girl, and lately, I have ached for it quite a bit, feeling a desire to love deeper and wider. So, I had every intention of beginning to take steps soon to eventually achieve my desire to be a biological mother by taking long-term committed relationships more seriously. I even told a close confidante that I was going to begin a new chapter of seeking out a relationship. The person suggested starting that on December 1.
Well interestingly, December 1 was the beginning of Advent, and I felt no such spark to do as I intended. I did, however, feel a stirring and urgency to serve in a particular way. God had very different plans on this day. It was like He said “Let me open your eyes and heart to more fulfilling, deeper motherhood,” and I was. I was awakened to a different kind of motherhood in a mysterious, surprising way.
I am not a mother in the sense of having biological children, and I don’t know if I am called to be. Time will tell. But I do know that I am called to be a spiritual mother in the here and now, like Mary, to be a maternal presence of the Lord's love in the ministries He calls me to. How this comes naturally and peacefully; it’s almost like He made me for this.
The seed was planted long before this Advent. The seed of being God’s own, His servant, and His disciple in a more committed, self-giving way. God’s given me some beautiful experiences lately that have illuminated this distinct role and shown the blessing and abundant joy that lies within it. With the elderly. With kids. With the poor. With young women. I hear him say that all this can be mine, if I accept my own Fiat.
I ponder this all like Mary probably did. Her plans changed. Her role as mother expanded. Her heart enlarged for the needs of the world. I am pondering how the Lord is working through me as a woman, through my unique feminine gifts and qualities. Pondering how I’ve gone from being comforted to comforting. Being served to serving. Being nurtured to nurturing. The delicate shift from being discipled to discipling, and from desiring biological motherhood to recognizing the vastness of spiritual motherhood.
I’m realizing that we come to a point in our spiritual and faith lives where the joy and fulfillment that we get from our faith is more about when we see others growing in theirs, in essence, our spiritual motherhood and fatherhood of others. Others encountering mercy. Others accepting and receiving God's unconditional love. Others embracing the truth. Others building a relationship with God. Others being held in suffering.
The time comes, when we leave our nets and follow, and join the team of disciples in nurturing souls along the journey. The time comes when we need to accept the call to enlarge our motherhood and fatherhood to God’s children surrounding us.
Like a spiritual mother, I’m increasingly welling up with joy when God's children take another step on the journey. It’s beautiful how God works in others’ lives and through His servants and ministers. It’s grace.
So this Advent, let us reflect on Mary’s spiritual motherhood, and our own call to be spiritual mothers and fathers to those around us, that is, to be instruments of mercy, grace, and love in our midst and build the kingdom for Christ's second coming.