I have loved reading biographies of women who have impacted history beyond the realm of ordinary living. I devour books that have been written about women such as Corrie ten Boom, Mother Teresa, Ruth Bell Graham and others who have lived in such a way that all of heaven stood to their feet in a resounding roar of affirmation.
In one of the many volumes of literary treasures that have been written about women, I happened across a quote that had been inscribed on the gravestone of a woman who had been a missionary to Korea. These words, written decades ago on her well-worn tombstone, so moved me when I was in the years of diapers, of peanut butter and jelly crusts and of loads of laundry stacked as high as Mount Everest, that they changed my perspective on who I was as a woman and on what God had called me specifically to accomplish with my ordinary life.
This woman who had given every day of her adult life to preaching the Gospel to the people of Korea had this written on her tombstone:
“If I had a thousand lives to give, Korea would have them all.”
This singular and anonymous woman had more dreams and visions for Korea than one lifetime could accomplish.
I don’t know her name or even when she lived historically but her words and her heart move me deeply. For this extraordinary woman, Korea would have her first life and her thousandth. Her life was poured out for others even though her name has been ignored. This woman of matchless focus and uncommon calling had no regrets ... she only wished that she could do it again ... and again ... and again! She achingly desired to serve the people of Korea and the Christ of Calvary for the value and the impact that one thousand lives would have.
My heart lies in puddles as I contemplate who she was and how deeply she loved.
I feel the same way about motherhood and I hope that by the closing page of this devotional that you will feel the same way, too. Perhaps the inscription on my tombstone ... and on yours ... someday will read, “If I had a thousand lives to give, motherhood would have them all.”
When you understand the deep purpose of motherhood, the joy will come rushing in. If you think that you are merely a babysitter, a maid or a laundress, there will be no joy. But if you know that you are changing the course of history for the Kingdom of God, you will experience the lavish joy of motherhood in gargantuan proportions!
Joy always follows knowing one’s purpose. You are a woman of eternal purpose, mom!
History would not be complete without the lives of the little ones whose diapers you are changing today.
There would be a vacuum in the course of humanity without the talents of the children who are finger painting at your kitchen table today.
You are raising the Daniels, the Esthers and the Peters of the next generation so do it with joy!
The greatest work you will ever accomplish will be within the walls of your own home.
The most expansive work you will ever complete will be among the ordinary people who you know the best and love the most.
There is no doctoral degree in mothering but if you can stay the course ... you deserve that advanced degree with the highest of honors!
There is no Olympic event for living through two-year-old tantrums, but if you can keep your sanity during those days, in my book you get a gold medal, flowers and a pedestal! You also deserve the national anthem being played in your honor!
There is no lifetime achievement award given to women who raise healthy children but believe me, my friend, God notices your labor of love and is giving you a standing ovation!
All of heaven is roaring in approval of your uncommon life, mom.
For every long night He gives His strength to weary mothers.
For every early morning, He delivers His faithfulness to doubting mothers.
Every tear you have shed is precious to Him and He saves each tear in heaven. Your tears are His trophies.
Every prayer you pray has been heard, sweet mama. He has inclined His very ear over the gates of heaven and has given you His undivided attention.
Every desire you have whispered is not forgotten. Your desires are of utmost importance to Him. He longs to hear you express your heartfelt desires at His feet.
Every song you choose to sing is a glorious anthem to heaven’s ears! God smiles when you sing!
God is well able to give you the grace that you need for an ordinary, uneventful day of mothering. He loves your children so much more than you ever could and He has chosen to partner with you in developing their character, their temperament and their discipline.
Your greatest accomplishment in life may have nothing to do with your college degree, your income level or the awards that you garner but your greatest accomplishment in life will be someone that you have raised.
You have been chosen to raise the children under your watch. I challenge you to do it with grace, with strength, with joy and with honor!
You are enough, dear mother. You are more than enough.