Love of motherhood most closely resembles love of God

by Craig on May 23, 2011

I’m asking today if the best and worst thing about being a mom is the immense love you have that compels you to take upon yourself the pain or suffering of your babies?

image source

Of course, I’m not a mom,
but when my baby sister,
whom I love without condition,
when my baby sister lost our mom
at the age of 18,
somehow,
somehow,
she became more than just a sister.
She became as much daughter as sister.

Only you moms can answer this question for me.

Because if you tell me it’s how you feel, then I can say that I have shared some of what that love is.

And right now it’s breaking. my. heart.

that love.

And this too…

From the moment my mom left this earth I knew that my sister was mine to protect.

I am such a nonviolent person. I am a man who has never thrown a single punch. But on occasion I have shocked her with a whirlwind of rage against those who would harm her.

Because nobody is allowed to hurt her.

Is this, too, what you feel?

There were things that needed to be done this weekend. But I didn’t do them, or most of them, because I was buried in an avalanche of her grief.

It’s not my sadness.

But. it. is.

It’s not my sadness.

But it is.

It’s not mine.

But her sadness is hovering over me as if it were.

Is this what you moms go through when you have a sick child?

Is this what you go through when your child has a hurt that you can’t heal…

So you just have to be there for them,

and support them,

and let them know you love them,

because you can’t fix them?

Because it’s not your pain,

but it is.

It’s not.

But it is.

image source

I thought things would change when I walked her down the aisle and gave her to the man she married. It is now his responsibility to watch over her and protect her and love her.

But now she is experiencing this agony. The birth of her first baby has been sandwiched now between two intense griefs.

And this grief,
I feel it as if it’s my own.
I wanted to be there for her strong,
I wanted to be compassionate and caring,
I wanted her to know that I love her,
but I didn’t want to feel the weight of the sadness on me.

You moms with older children…
I know some of you have older children…
I know some of your children are married…
do you still feel their pain like this?

Does a mom ever stop feeling the pain of their children as if it’s their own pain?

We can learn from books.
We an learn from lectures,
and sermons,
and blog posts.
But we learn best…
when the experience breaches the boundaries of our heart.
No?

She’s going through this thing,

and she’s going through it today,

and it’s not going to go away anytime soon,

but she’ll trudge through,

she’s been through worse,

but it’s going to continue to hurt her,

and so will it  continue to slay me?

Only a mom can answer this question.

And I know how many moms read these words.

Is this one of the costs – and benefits – of Love?

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth May 23, 2011 at 10:32 am

You’ve got it my friend, exactly. It would be easier to have the hurt happen to me, than to one of my kids. To see my grown children in pain and not to be able to fix it has been one of the hardest things to bear.

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Craig May 23, 2011 at 11:42 am

Elizabeth, thank you. I kinda knew the answer – but to hear it from my mom who loves – a mom who knows – that’s what I needed to confirm my thought. So thank you, and God bless and keep you and all of yours, and May God fix what you can’t – me to.

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Kris May 23, 2011 at 11:25 am

This is what it is. The want of a mother to take on ANY pain her child has to bare, in their place, is what rips the mother-heart open and causes it to pour out over and over again. I am sorry that your sister is going through something right now, and sorry that you are helpless but to pray (which is everything!) as she endures whatever it is. Know that you both will be in my prayers, which is all I can do from here, and trust that God who is more than enough who bares the ultimate parent-heart will be with her and will guide her through the valley and to the other side. Praying for you both this day. My mama-heart aches at the thought of this struggle for you both. God’s peace, brother. Glory to Christ, for he makes all things new!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:23-25

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Craig May 23, 2011 at 11:54 am

First, thank you for praying Kris. I really want her prayed up. And I’m not totally helpless – she knows she can lean on me – and I know that because she’s told me. So I need to be a rock – a loving rock – a praying rock. your prayers are important – and your mama heart is obvious. More proof of what I already know. God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours this day, Kris.

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Beth Coulton May 23, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Craig- you summed it up perfectly when you asked this-

“Does a mom ever stop feeling the pain of their children as if it’s their own pain?”

The answer is unequivocally no. Not in my experience anyway.

Every question you ask and put out above is showing you are right on track with how moms feel about their children. I was just thinking about this the other day so your post title really got my attention. I was wondering how, after giving birth to a stranger we don’t even know but who depends upon us for his or her very life, we get to the point where we would gladly take all their pain and heartache so that they could be spared. It’s a bond and a love that is nothing short of miraculous. And for all the joy that connection brings, we also have to share the pain. They may cut the umbilical cord, but there’s an invisible cord that is never, ever broken.

My son, who recently graduated from college, was diagnosed in February with major depressive disorder. I cannot describe what I’ve gone through, as his mom, in not being able to help him and in not being able to take away his pain. It’s been nothing less than devastating.

No matter how old they are- you feel just as protective, just as mother-bearish, just as “I’d lay my life down for you.” Once a mom, always a mom.

I commend you on taking such wonderful care of your sister. You’re doing a great job.

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Craig May 23, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Beth, and I’d say I commend you on taking such good care of your son except I figure you just kind of can’t help it. Still, I know God hearts good mom’s. I had no idea of the depth of a moms love before he began blogging in this community, among “mommy bloggers”. I know more moms now and have read more moms now and understand the heart of moms now more than ever and I continue to stand in awe. And my sister? Well, I just love my sister – and like you I can’t help it :-) God bless and keep you Beth – and thank you.

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Kara May 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Yes Craig. I think Motherhood is the first ground upon which humanity learns what it means to bear each other’s burdens. There are labor pains that never cease. And you are not the first (or the last) man that has had to fill a mother’s shoes. To be sure, the tender heart that God has placed in you, is at least in part, to fulfill this purpose. Your dear sister. The want of a mother.
Bless you for receiving His grace to fill the gap.

In Christ,
Kara

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Craig May 23, 2011 at 1:54 pm

labor pains that never cease – I think I get that a little – as much as a man can.

And thank you for your kind words – she needed somebody to step in, losing a mom, and the father – well less said about that the better. And God has worked the magic of the heart – he gets full credit for the love that’s there. Thank you very much for reading, Kara, and leaving such a nice comment, and God bless and keep you and all of yours.

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Deborah May 23, 2011 at 4:03 pm

First thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such sweet comments.
Secondly, I agree with the moms above. I would always much rather endure the pain than have my kids go through it. As I’m sure my grown kids will atest, I practically spent most of their growning up years trying to intervene anything bad coming their way, which of course could not happen. Your sister is blessed to have you. Just because you aren’t a mother doesn’t mean your instinct to protect your child (sister) is not as strong.
Blessings

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

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Craig May 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I remember, vividly, a few years after my mom left this Earth. I was doing laundry, and my baby sister was going through the hardest of times. I looked up and said to Him, “give it all to me. Please give it all to me, all of her struggle, all of her pain, send it my way please. I can handle it.” The more moms I know, the more I know that I am by far not the first to say those words. Thank you Debra for your gracious words. It makes me glad to know, that what I THINK I know, I’ve got right. A moms love is the closest thing we have on earth to the love of God.

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Amanda @ Serenity Now May 23, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I think you very eloquently summed it all up. I can’t think of anything to add b/c your words fit the bill perfectly. As a mom, I do take on the pain I see my kids experience from time to time. And you are right, it is amazing how quickly my temper will rise if someone “messes” with one of my kids!! Thanks for the visit today!

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Craig May 23, 2011 at 7:37 pm

thank you Amanda. I really needed the input of moms here to make sure that I was on the right track. I think now that I was because of comments like yours. The taking on of the pain, and the assertive defensive posture when someone “messes” with one of yours. It makes me feel that I have approached the kind of love that truly is the closest love on this planet to the love of God. God bless and keep you and all of yours this day, Amanda, and thank you again.

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Kristi May 23, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Hi Craig! Yes, you got it! This is what mothering is. Of course, it’s full of joy…moments so rich with laughter, love, and pride you feel as if you will burst. But it is also filled with those heart wrenching moments. Those moments when your babies, no matter how old, are hurting. Sometimes its because of the choice of others…sometimes it’s because of the choices they themselves make…but regardless of why….it rips at your mama’s heart.
It’s late, and I have been going through some of this “sympathy pain” regarding my oldest child. So I’m not writing the response I wish I could. But I had to tell you that this is a beautiful post…and your sister is one lucky woman to have a brother so filled with love and protection.
It’s all in God’s hands…and in His plan…I just wish it didn’t have to hurt so much in the process!
Love this…thanks for sharing!
<3

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Craig May 24, 2011 at 9:30 am

Kristi, your words mean the world to me, I needed to know that I was on the right track. I heart your momma’s heart – better yet– God hearts your momma’s heart. So thank you very much for this, I’m not quite done processing it, there is more for God to teach me through this, we should never waste our pain – or the pain of those that we feel like it’s our own. God bless and keep you and yours this day – and thank you again.

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Debra May 24, 2011 at 12:21 am

Dear Craig, you have hit the nail on the head. I recently went through this suffering when my Abigail was in unrelenting pain one evening. I sat by her bedside and prayed all night long. And felt the anguish right along with her, and experienced such helplessness as I’ve never known.
Into the wee hours of the morning while she still cried I thought of Mary.

The image of Christ’s own mother as she appeared in The Passion of Christ loomed strong and vivid. I’m not Catholic, but that night I found myself looking right into her eyes and saying, “Help us.” I’d tried everything else. What did I have to lose?

Was it wrong to beseech her mercy during this dark hour? Was I amiss to plead with anyone other than God the Father? All I know is that somehow, miraculously, both my daughter and I drifted off to sleep not long after dawn. It was almost like Mary came to me, instead of my seeking her out.

At that juncture it seemed as though only another mother would know exactly how I felt. And when I thought about her watching her son beaten to a bloody pulp and crucified unjustly… somehow it felt okay to ask for her help.

Your sister is abundantly blessed to have such a loving, wise, and compassionate brother in you. You are one in a million.

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Craig May 24, 2011 at 9:33 am

Debra, the compassion I feel, the love I feel for my sister? It’s not my fault. I blame my mother – and God :-)

And the heart of Mary – how that heart had to break. Simeon was so right when he told her “and the sword shall pierce your heart.” thank you from this not always loving, not quite so wise, and never quite compassionate enough brother – but I’m working on it. God bless you this day, you and all of yours.

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Christina May 24, 2011 at 5:16 am

Yes, yes and yes. Watching my four year old come awake after sinus surgery undid me. Every trial, pain, heartache, illness if theirs becomes mine as well. Being a mom gives me a bit more understanding of what it meant for God to watch his son suffer for me. Praying for you!

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Craig May 24, 2011 at 9:36 am

Christina, I understand – I I think I can really, truly, say, I understand. I know this feeling of “undone”. The love of a mom – seriously, the closest thing we have on this planet to the love of God. It is so clear to me now – and becoming clearer and clearer the more moms I read, and the more moms I know. Good moms rock! And today, Christina, God bless you and each and every one of yours.

PS… And you are one of those good moms that I get to read :-)

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Michelle May 24, 2011 at 6:28 am

Yes, Yes and Yes. I have no more to add, it’s all been said above, and I agree with one and all.

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Craig May 24, 2011 at 9:37 am

thank you Michelle, and thank you, and thank you, and thank you, – and I have no more to add :-)

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gina reid May 24, 2011 at 8:12 am

Hi all. It’s Gina…the sister. It’s a different relationship that Craig and I share. I can see his pain when I hurt. It is genuine. He would go to bat for me anywhere, anytime. I know that is an unconditional love that only a mom and child share. I know that now personally. My baby girl is a blessing and the best thing I’ve ever done. I owe Craig more than I can ever repay. He has saved me in so many ways, encouraged me, been my soft place to fall. Don’t get me wrong…he frustrates me to no end sometimes :). So let me answer your question, Craig, as a mom now I know you are experiencing what we experience and you have done a great job helping me get to where I am now. Your support and encouragement mean the world to me.

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Craig May 24, 2011 at 9:38 am

lms – and what you mean I drive you crazy?!:-)

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Craig May 24, 2011 at 9:39 am

by the way, for everybody else that just happens to be reading this comment section. That last comment to my sister – the”lms” – that’s secret brother/sister code :-)

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A. June 1, 2011 at 11:32 pm

What a precious thing to read all these comments and yours and Gina’s, Craig! I am grateful for your love for your sister. If your mom could only know, I am sure she would be smiling and crying. I am also grateful that you have a Father who loves you, too!.

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