Analogies are pictures to help you understand a deeper concept. Motherhood is a profound change of life, goals, and character! These changes begin with pregnancy, increase during labor and delivery, and are most especially prominent in the early postpartum period! The delivery is the birth of the baby, but it is in the ensuing early weeks postpartum that is the birth of the mother! Read these various analogies for motherhood. May they give you a glimpse of the life to come, and also give you some understanding of the changes to come!
Matt 26:6-13 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
The alabaster jar was very expensive, very valuable. What is the most valuable thing to us? I don’t mean cars or houses. What is the most valuable thing we have? Our life! What is our alabaster jar of perfume? Our lives. Our selves. Apparently the alabaster jar of perfume in the gospel account was very valuable – worth so much that it ticked the disciples off that it was “wasted.” Was it wasted? It found its highest purpose – broken open for Jesus. What would it have gained saving itself, remaining intact?
Who would have benefited from its intense fragrance? Itself? Can a jar smell itself? Will you be broken open? Poured out, given up? Our fragrance is to be poured out especially in our homes. What’s coming out of us at home? Are we a beautiful fragrance? Is the family primarily benefitting from our words, our attitudes… what’s coming out of us in this arena?
Apparently the disciples considered it a waste… What did they value? Was it a waste – will you consider pouring out your life a waste – a waste of your time – a waste of your life? What given up for Christ is ever a waste? Everything is temporary… what enduring thing are you doing with time? Making a person, then raising a person…a person with an eternal soul! Is that a waste of time?
I gave up a lot to do the mothering thing. Sometimes I have wondered, what have I done with the time? Then the kids came to the Lord and now they walk with God and I have no more questions about what I did with the time. What else matters? It is all redeemed. There is much more gained than was ever lost. Something was done with time that will endure for eternity.
But do we really give anything up? The Bible speaks of this paradox: “save your life, you lose it;” (Mt 16:25) “lose your life, you find it” (Mt 10:39) … “No one who has given up father, mother, fields, … will fail to receive a hundred times as much …” (Mk 10:29-30) “It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)…cast your bread upon the waters and it will return to you (Eccl 11:1)… Give and it will be given to you…Giving is gaining (Luke 6:38)…Yield, do not retain… (John 12:24-26).
Motherhood – parenthood – is a very practical, down-to-earth working out of this principal. It may be hard to comprehend now, but you will.
Luke 22:19 “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this inremembrance of me.”
Hebrews 10:5-7 “Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God.”
6:19-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
For quite some time, our family took the front row seat at church. This afforded me many opportunities to have a perfect, unobstructed view of the communion bread as it was placed on the altar table. I watched as the loaf was being prepared for the communion celebration. I noticed how beautiful the loaf is in its untouched state.
It is perfectly round, smooth and slightly mounded on top. Then it is broken, first into a few large pieces, then broken some more and put into different plates. It is then passed around through the congregation, where it is further broken into tinier pieces. It will never be brought back together into one loaf or become itself again. In fact, it becomes no longer recognizable as a loaf. It has been broken down into very small pieces, and is then consumed. Now, it no longer exists. It has become invisible, and is now a part of each person that has consumed it.
I was tempted to be a little sad seeing the beautifully formed intact loaf broken up. It was so beautiful. But what good would it have been staying intact? What would have eventually happened with it? In time, it would just have become moldy and unfit for eating, as the manna that fell from heaven did when the Israelites didn’t obey and left it till the next day. Or it could have just dried out, becoming stale and hard. Again, useless. Intact, maybe beautiful, but useless. Its purpose was to be broken, passed out, and consumed. Rather than sad, it was fulfilling its purpose for why it was made. Instead of a single beautiful loaf, it has been broken and multiplied into many pieces. A single loaf at first, but then made available to a large number of people. We see this principle in a parable of Jesus:
John 12 :24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Instead of existing for itself, it became food for many people. It gave up its existence to be used for the even grander purpose of representing Christs’s body for the church. This, of course, was the very reason it came into existence: the baker made it for the purpose of becoming communion bread. What about us? What did you do to gain existence? Your very existence was given you by God. Are you to live for yourself, keep yourself intact and beautiful? You were made for the purpose of serving God, feeding His sheep, caring for His lambs, washing stinky feet.
John 13:13-14 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
John 21:15-16 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said,”Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
Paul said in 2 Tim 4:6 that he was “being poured out like a drink offering.” Poured OUT, not kept IN. “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.” In fact, in Acts 20:24, he declares that his life is worth nothing to him: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
Jesus could have stayed in heaven, intact. It would have done us no good. He could have refused the cross and saved His skin and would have done us no good. He could have come down from the cross as the wicked thief taunted him to do, but He didn’t. He poured Himself out to do what God’s will was for Him to do and let Himself be broken for us. He was given a body to be used of God and so are you.
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Be broken, be poured out, be consumed, to be used of God for His purposes.
John 6:51 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” Then He said to “Follow Me.”
Paul set an example for us when he stated that “I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” (Phil 3:10) Death to self. “Come after Me, take up your cross daily, and follow Me.” Meaning, die to yourself daily, this is the way of the cross, of Christ, of living out the purpose of your life! John says that unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains an intact single seed, useless, alone. Otherwise, it produces many seeds.
This is the purpose of our life, our body. Like a candle, it is to be burned and used up to give light. Becoming a mother, you know that life will never be the same. We are given up to be used. How glorious for your body to be used for the life of another! How glorious that your body is also used to feed another!
Yield yourself to God’s plan, even though it is unknown to you. Take the difficulties and challenges from His hand, and seek the grace also from Him to deal with them. You will find that grace coming to you, from beyond you, as you turn to Him. That is being a Christian parent – I am not my own, it is not my self, my time, my body or my agenda.
We grow up in a sense when we have children. Certainly this happens physically, as our breasts do not fully develop until we lactate. But also in another sense – children live for self and need to be taken care of. When we have children, we let go of self and no longer seek to be taken care of, but to care for others. We let go of the things of self and see it benefitting others.
Consider this analogy for motherhood, as you lay down your life to be sown into and feed many lives.
(c) Marie-Celine Farver RN BSN IBCLC RLC 2014