a mother’s love

“When she couldn’t hide him any longer she got a little basket…waterproofed it…and placed the child in it. Then she set it afloat in the reeds at the edge of the Nile.” Exodus 2

I feel like I’ve been relocated to the land of babies as of late. Both of my sister-in-laws delivered baby boys and my best friend gave birth to a little girl within the past four months. With absolutely no previous knowledge, I have suddenly become an expert on changing diapers, making bottles, cleaning off spit-up and (gasp) being peed on! I just can’t believe how much work it is – taking care of a baby. (Can I say that?)

However, there are those rare moments – when the lights are turned down low and the sounds of rockers and rattles have silenced. It’s when the baby has enveloped my arms and his continual snores make his chest rise and fall that I notice those details that can only be described as angelic.  His almost iridescent eyelashes. His miniature finger nails. His heart-shaped birthmark. His heartbeat. And in that moment I realize that I love this baby . I would do anything for him- and he’s not even mine! If this is what my love feels like as an aunt, what must a mother’s love feel like? Is it a love in which no sacrifice would be too great to make?

In a different age, Pharaoh had sentenced all baby boys to death upon birth. But, one mother chose to save her baby. For three months she hid him and tried to stifle his cries until it became impossible. So, she decided to do something…well, something crazy. She placed her precious baby boy in a basket and floated him down the Nile river.

The baby was discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter! And yet, after gazing upon his flawless skin and hearing his coos for the very first time, she was resolute – she had to have him. Pharaoh’s daughter gave the baby to a nearby slave girl with instructions to nurse him until he was grown. So the slave girl, who happened to be the baby’s sister, brought him back to his mother to nurse.

As I read this story in my bible the other morning, I had to pause in shock. What would that be like? Nursing your baby daily, while time is ticking away, knowing you must give him up to another woman. What would it be like to know your son would forget about you; maybe never even know who you are? How could you let another woman name him? Sing to him? Comfort him? How could you ever mend your broken heart? What kind of mom could go through with this?

A mom who believed in God’s plan.

A mom who loved her baby enough to sacrifice him.

A mom who gave him up to give him life. 

What a hero this mother was! She appears for only a few moments in the Word – barely long enough to notice – and yet her love affected generations to come!  What a story. What a love. 

I have a mother like this. A mother whose love knows no boundaries. A mother who has put her family before herself time and time again. A mother who would give me up if it meant giving me life.

When I went through my divorce nearly two years ago, she was there. She shut down her world for me. I wasn’t too old at 25 to lay in her arms and weep.

I moved back in with my parents and she told me, “If you can’t sleep in the middle of the night, you know you can come and wake me up, ok?” The truth is there were so many nights, laying in the room underneath hers when I was depressed, continual tears streaming, believing the earth had stopped turning, and I couldn’t sleep. But, I was too proud to go upstairs and wake her. I was TWENTY FIVE YEARS OLD. I couldn’t wake her up and tell her I was so depressed I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t tell her I was scared of my blank future. But, as my pride kept me in place, I drew comfort in the fact that she was right upstairs. She would be there… if when I needed her.

Happy Mother’s day Mom! I’m so proud of you today as you graduate Acadia with a doctorate. What a woman you are!

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