Having left the markings of themselves all over my battered body, they have grown and gone out into the world, on to their own lives. The little toddlers who bowled me over with love and affection every time I came through the door quickly reached the age where they listened to my voice distractedly, unheeding often, no longer captivated.

They became themselves.

As I dress myself every day, I look at the physical marks that remain of my motherhood, visible evidence of my sacrifice of love, my offering to God of my fruitfulness and my flesh for the purpose of bringing them into being, and I contemplate what precious gifts they are. My physical frame reminds me of them every time I stand unclothed—there are the scars. They are ever before me, in my very bones.

I see them far more clearly than they see me.

Though they look at themselves from eyes shaped like mine or with a tilt of the head or expression handed down, they gaze in the mirror and see only themselves.

That is as it should be. I birthed them to be.

Sentimental, I hold onto the mementos of them. These I cherish. Each reminds me of them, of the uniqueness of each personality, each beautiful soul, of the loving investment of time and years. It was so worth it! Yet, my human love is small.

Motherhood gives me a momentary glimpse of the passion of God—his planning of each one of us before the foundation of the world, his creating of us in the womb, his choosing of gender and features and gifts, his plans for our future, his designing of each—a poet crafting his best-wrought poem.

They are his, not mine. They always have been.

Yet this keening affection I feel for them in their absence is but an infinitesimal flavor of the yearning God has for the presence of each of his own children. A doting Father, he longs for us to run into his arms, to dwell with him in his courts, to bowl him over with our returned affection. My mother-love is but a whiff of a scent, a mere shadow, a fleeting hint of this love that sheds blood for eternal souls, that engraves his beloved on the palms of his hands. Love also marked his body as he offered his own living sacrifice, acceptable to God, the giving of his perfect life to rebirth many.

My love is flawed and weak, often frustrated, sometimes angry, instructing brokenly, reacting tired and worn; whereas, his love nurtures perfectly—sacrificial, unconditional, always-and-ever flawless.

Yet, no matter how defective my weak human passion, I will treasure my children in my heart for all eternity. They are the best gifts God has ever given me for comprehending the vastness of his perfect love, for grasping how he could lay his life down for those he loves.

Such is love.

 

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