Today in South Africa we are celebrating Mother’s Day. I never wanted to be a mother.
And yet, here I am, the mother of three unique, amazing human beings, celebrating Mother’s Day today.
The past nineteen years and eight months are totally indescribable. These years have been filled with so much self-doubt, fear, hurt, pain, anger, disappointment, tears, doubts and heartache. They have also been filled with moments of pure joy, overwhelming love, the knowledge that ‘yes, I would lay down my life’ if it meant one of my children could live, so much laughter and immense personal growth. They have also been filled with continuous spiritual growth as I have found myself spending more and more time on my knees, asking God for His wisdom, His patience, His love, His sense of humour, His guidance and His help in raising our children.
My mother once confessed that she had never wanted me and had struggled to bond with me. In hindsight, if I look at her life circumstances I can completely understand why she felt this way. My parents divorced before I turned thirteen and the years that followed were very challenging for me. Because of my past, I decided when I was nineteen years old, that I would never get married or have children. I felt that there were few things worse or lonelier than being stuck in an unhappy marriage and I did not want to bring children into a world full of the hurt and pain that I had experienced.
God, however, had totally different plans for my life. I found myself married at the age of twenty-eight and gave birth to my first child at the age of thirty-one.
The following two verses have become the cornerstone of my life:
“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten…” (Joel 2:25)
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18,19)
My life is a testimony to God’s grace and His immense ability to restore lives and make them whole.
For so many years I felt that I was a terrible mother, that my children had suffered because I was so strict and that I had made so many mistakes in raising them. My guilt has overwhelmed me at times.
God then said to me: “Noelene, look at your children. Just look at them! They are amazing. They are compassionate and kind, they have so much potential and so much to give. They are so loved”.
A grandmother said to me today: “I am such a terrible mother. One of my children told me that”.
I was gob smacked. This from a woman whose son I am friends with. He absolutely adores her, the grandchildren love being with her and her daughter-in-law admires her!
All I could do was quote my life saving verse:
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” or in my case “a multitude of mistakes” (1 Peter 4:8)
This blog is for all the mothers out there who feel they are failures and who are riddled with guilt about the mistakes they have made in raising their children.
Remember just this one thing – if you truly love your children – any mistakes you think you have made are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. God “demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. (Romans 5:8)
In Christ’s death and His resurrection lies our salvation as mothers!
When I opened my eyes this Mother’s Day morning, there on my bed side table was a cappuccino in a Styrofoam cup. My husband, the father of my three children, had gotten up early this Sunday morning, driven to our local store and bought me a cappuccino just because it was Mother’s Day.
This is love in a cup of coffee. This is the fulfillment of motherhood.