"The best convent," I said, "for a woman is the seclusion of her own home. There she may find her vocation and fight her battles, and there she may learn the reality and the earnestness of life."
"Pshaw!" cried she. "Excuse me, however, for saying that; but some of the most brilliant girls I know have settled down into mere married women and spend their whole time nursing babies! Think how belittling!"
"Is it more so than spending it dressing, driving, dancing, and the like?"
"Of course it is. I had a friend once who shone like a star in society. She married and had four children as fast as she could. Well! What was the consequence? She lost her beauty, her spirit and animation, lost her youth, and lost her health. The only earthly things she can talk about are teething, dieting, and measles!"
I laughed at this exaggeration. . ."As you have spoken plainly to me, knowing me to be a wife and mother, you must allow me to speak plainly in return," I began. ". . .You will permit me to say that when you speak contemptuously of the vocation of maternity, you dishonor not only the mother who bore you, but the Lord Jesus Himself, who chose to be born of woman and to be ministered unto by her through a helpless infancy."
. . . I thought of my dear ones . . .and I thought of my love for them and theirs for me. And I thought of Him who alone gives reality to even such joys as these.
~~~from Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss
Don't you love the way that Katherine put it? "The vocation of maternity." And what a blessed vocation it is, even though there are times it's a painful one.
I am thinking of all the young mothers who are engaged in the years of diapering, nursing, and nurturing; I'm thinking of the ones who are going through the years of teaching their children or helping them to learn, even if it's homework; I'm thinking of those who are plowing through the preteen and teen years and guiding them in the ways of the Lord; I am thinking of the moms of young adults who are holding Christ before them as they plant their feet in manhood and womanhood; and I am thinking of those with hearts sometimes torn, as they give them or see them off in a home of their own through marriage. I'm also thinking of those who are, with delight, welcoming in the next generation after that, with all the joys that grand parenthood has to offer them.
I believe Mother's Day is a fine holiday and it's a good thing that was instituted by our country some years ago; but I usually find it difficult not to think also of those who may find peculiar pain in it. There's one who is seemingly nearing the end of a long battle with breast cancer as she spends the day tomorrow with her husband and two young children; there are a few I know who are caring for very aged mothers in stressful situations; there is one who recently lost her beloved daughter who was also her best friend; there are some who will spend the day by the bedside of a very sick child who may not make it; and there are always those who want to be mothers, but God for His own reasons has withheld it from them. I'll have all these in my thoughts today and tomorrow.
So, for those engaged in this vocation, with all its blessings and challenges, I wish you a blessed Mother's Day. For all of those for whom this calling is yet a dream and hope, I wish you the same, because you have it in your heart. May the Lord Jesus use you all in the work of His kingdom.