A Mother is A Chalice

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  • Scripture teaches that older women have the responsibility of teaching younger ones to love their children.  Love certainly involves attention to basic bodily needs, and in allowing me to share in her preparations Mother was teaching me things I would remember perfectly when my own child came.  She being the youngest in her family had not participated in the care of a baby, and her own mother was of course long dead by the time her children were born.  Children don’t come with a set of instructions, so mothers need help.  It is sad that so few older women think of offering it to the bewildered young mothers who hardly know where to begin.  It’s sad, too, that the young ones seldom think of asking.

    I did not know the things Mother kept in her heart and pondered—things of far greater consequence than the physical care of the coming child.  The fear of God was in her heart and the deep awe of receiving a gift, the sense of her own inadequacy to be to this child all that she ought to be.

    The Hebrew midwives also feared God, and when the king of Egypt ordered them to kill all newborn Hebrew boys they disobeyed.  They let the boys live.  In preparing for the coming of a strong deliverer for His enslaved people, God began with these devout women.  He rewarded their obedience by giving them families of their own.  Pharaoh’s next order was that the Hebrew boys must be thrown into the Nile.  God chose a Levite woman with the courage to defy the king’s edict and hide her son for as long as possible—three months.  Then entrusting him utterly to God, she (in a manner of speaking) “threw” him into the Nile, but in a nice basket which she had made and waterproofed.

    An anonymous writer declared,

    There is no nobler career than that of motherhood at its best.  There are no possibilities greater, and in no other sphere does failure bring more serious penalties.  With what diligence then should she prepare herself for such a task.  If the mechanic who is to work with “things” must study at technical school, if the doctor into whose skilled hands will be entrusted human lives, must go through medical school . . . how much more should the mother who is fashioning the souls of the men and women of tomorrow, learn at the highest of all schools and from the Master-Sculptor Himself, God.  To attempt this task, unprepared and untrained is tragic, and the results affect generations to come.  On the other hand there is no higher height to which humanity can attain than that occupied by a converted, heaven-inspired, praying mother.  

    A mother is a chalice, the vessel without which no human being has ever been born.  She is created to be a life-bearer, cooperating with her husband and with God in the making of a child.  What a solemn responsibility.  What an unspeakable privilege—a vessel divinely prepared for the Master’s use.

    **Excerpt originally published in “The Shaping of A Christian Family”, pp 95-96, 98.