From the time we are blessed with a child, whether in the womb, adoption or another way, mothers are called to hope. Emily Dickinson writes: “Hope is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul—And sings the tune without the words—And never stops—at all…”
Hope is what gets us through the seemingly endless sleepless nights of a newborn, through the challenging toddler years, teenage years, young adult years, and even parenting adults. Much of motherhood relies on hope. Hope is the daffodil bulb planted in the fall, kept underground in the dark until it makes its big debut in the Springtime. Then we know that the primarily unseen work of growing and changing will bloom and be seen.
Hope is not tangible; you cannot see or touch it; it is in step with Faith. Mothers live out hope every day. The work of motherhood is messy; it never follows a straight path. As mothers, we must be comfortable with this. Motherhood asks us to take the long view, to have faith, to hope against hope.
What does “hope against hope” mean? Romans 4:18 says, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed, and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “so shall your offspring be.” Abraham was told he would be the father of many nations, except that he was one hundred years old, and his wife Sarah had a barren womb. His faith was in what the Lord promised, not what the eye saw. This is, essentially, hoping against hope. We hope because God is who He says he is, and He promises to walk beside us, give us wisdom, and teach us to take the long view.
Circumstances can tell us to despair, give up and lose heart. But our hearts are closely knit with the Lord’s, and He is the one who sustains us and offers hope when: a young adult is making decisions that are unhealthy. When your 4-month-old has to get an MRI. When your toddler doesn’t seem to be responding to teaching or discipline. We keep hoping because that is what mothers do. It is the essence of our being. We cannot put hope in anything but God and His Word as mothers. Therapists, doctors, social media, pastors, and friends might tell us otherwise. Our children’s behavior might have us concerned, and we are despairing about what we see. However, Romans 15:4 says that the only hope we have is through the encouragement of the Scriptures.
Hoping against hope can seem painful in the moment. But it is in our calling when we became mothers that we trust Him with our children and with the ultimate outcome of our children. In the painful darkness of struggle, we know that growth is happening, and He is working. I like to picture the daffodil, not the bulb underground.
Motherhood is indeed, a call to hope.