The details of my mothering vocation may seem very evident on the surface. I have two little kids and a round belly announcing another on the way. But my mothering vocation is deeper than that.
I am also called to be mom to a little soul in Heaven.
Called to mother fellow mothers in their times of need.
Called to mother my parish with my time and prayers.
Called to help create the community we all need.
You might recognize some of those later parts of my mothering call as being on the list of ways to be a spiritual mother that Caitlyn wrote about so beautifully last week. The call to be a spiritual mother did not dissipate once I become a physical mother – nor should it have. In fact I believe that it is through serving as a spiritual mother that the foundation for joyful physical motherhood is laid.
Mothering is a participation in creation. We are embracing motherhood every time we create a new friendship, change our plans to meet the needs of another, or simply sit and be present with someone in need. The skills to do these things are not ingrained in us from birth. We have all had to practice and work towards developing the strength it takes to meet the needs of another.
To mother always requires us to come out of ourselves and see another for who they truly are. To do that we are required to die a little to ourselves. Not just any parts of ourselves, but the parts that keep us chained away from others.
Motherhood, both physical and spiritual, requires that I work every day towards ridding myself of my own vices.
I could not suddenly start working on the skills of spiritual motherhood, and dealing with my own vices, the day my first child was born. The practical skills of diapering and soothing a newborn have a learning curve, oh yes, but they are temporary. The spiritual and emotional skills of discerning needs and meeting those needs are not something that can wait until those newborn days. They are skills that are needed every day for the rest of our lives, and only get better with practice.
Embracing my spiritual motherhood has enabled me to embrace my physical motherhood with peace and joy. No, every day is not easy (by any stretch of the imagination) but spiritual motherhood has helped give me perspective in my struggles of physical motherhood. It reminds me that I am not alone and I am not helpless.
In what ways are you a spiritual mother? How does your spiritual motherhood impact your physical motherhood?