It was a relatively easy morning. For a Tuesday, that speaks volumes. It’s the one day both kids are in school. Baby Girl is at my side nearly 24 hours a day, except Tuesdays for six. And though I desperately need the time away, I miss her and all her eight year old self full of sass, charm, and giggles. As we walk in to her school building, which is really a church, the parking lot is a sea of mamas and their broods washing up to the door like a tide.
One mama in particular catches my eye. Her kindergartner follows behind her and she has a babe in a carrier and a wheelie cart stacked high of boxes and bins and who knows what. I ask if she needs help and she thanks me for my thoughtfulness but she’s got it. Of course she does. She’s a mama. We don’t need help carrying babes and boxes, we need help carrying our burdens. But we’re no sooner going to ask for that kind of help than we will ask for help with a load suitable for a pack mule. Bearing each other's burderns is instinctual, not invitational.
As I walk back to my car, I think of all these mamas with their babes. The ones they’ve left at this school and the little ones they take home. I even think of all the ones we can’t see. The ones lost too soon. The ones their hearts ache for everyday in silence. And I start to wonder… do we ever stop aching for a babe in our arms? Isn’t that how God designed us? Oh, sure. We’re fine to wave goodbye to sleepless nights and potty training and being puked on and spit up on and peed on. But our arms were made to hold the hungry, embrace the wounded, rock the weary and nurture the deprived. And I wonder, is that longing really a God-given ache to hold the needy?
I think God made us this way for a reason. When He asked us to take care of the orphaned, was He not somehow speaking directly to the heart of mothers, of women? What mama heart can stand to see a child without… without love, without security, without food, without hope? And really the mama heart is just every woman’s heart. Whether we have babes of our own or not, there is something in us that rises up in compassion at the first sight of desperate need. The cry of the broken might as well be like the cry of the infant and our first instinct is to open arms and cradle those who need comfort.
So, whether you have an abundant quiver or a barren womb, this day is really for all women. The way your tender heart bleeds compassion and how you rush to the needy across the world or across the hallway, the way you love those around you, the way you stop and bend and listen to the needs, the way you open your lives and your arms, the way you serve and give of yourself so generously without any expectation, the way you sacrifice day in and day out – these are the things we celebrate today. This day is about celebrating the very heart of a woman and the way God made us, as His image-bearers, to love the least of these.