A Mom Trusting God in The Unknown

A Mom Trusting God in The Unknown

Raising children is not an easy task! There are many articles, friends, mom tips, and overwhelming support from mom groups that make our jobs a lot easier. From the first day I found out I was going to be a mom back in 2010, I knew that I had support. Whatever question or concern I had, all I had to do was ask my mom or google and there it was: an instant answer! But in early 2020 this reality changed for me and many parents across the world. A devastating pandemic reared its ugly head and completely shut the world down without warning.

In March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, my husband and I received news that we would be expecting our third child. I remember the excitement we felt at first!  We would have the opportunity to love, mold, and nurture another gift from God. Shortly thereafter, an overwhelming sense of panic and worry crept over me. I was frightened. I had no idea what to do. I do not believe anyone knew what to do as they faced the reality of a pandemic. I could not turn to my mother, articles, or blogs for advice on how to proceed or respond and receive the same knowledge or wisdom as I had before. 

At the same time my children as well as many others across the world were being sent home from school and away from their friends and community. They were told to socially distance when we had no clue how to define what that meant. During this abrupt transition parents were being held to an even higher level of expectation. We had to continue on with our lives and keep it together as if the world was not in turmoil right before our eyes. I often asked myself how could I protect my children from something I knew nothing about? How could I protect them when thousands of people were losing their lives on a daily basis? Reports were circulating about pregnant women who were infected with a mysterious virus who were being denied their birthing rights. Some even had to experience giving birth alone. Reality hit home for us when I was instructed to attend my first prenatal exam alone and was told that would be the norm for the remainder of my pregnancy. 

Like many others I could have given up, but I knew the first step in figuring out how to proceed within the unknown was to pray and be encouraged by the Word of God. My husband and I had to learn to lean on the Lord in a different way to lead and guide us in raising our family as well as being aware of our own emotional, physical, and spiritual needs throughout the pandemic. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 to tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

This scripture took on a new meaning for my family. As a wife and mother, I had to be intentional with every decision I made moving forward even when the circumstances presented to me did not make sense. I learned to trust that God has our steps ordered and regardless of what was happening in the natural, God has and will always provide all of our needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus. I had to learn to ask for wisdom in a different way every morning before I started my day. I learned how to increase my ability to listen to my children and be ok with not having all the answers.  I learned more than ever to just be present with them. 

There are many accounts in the Bible of those who were faced with numerous challenges and the unknown. What kept many of the people in scripture anchored was God’s faithfulness and their ability to trust Him even in the unknown. Many mothers like Sarah, Rachel, Mary and Elizabeth did as they were instructed, although they had no idea what lay ahead on the journey before them. They did not have books, articles, or even written history to reflect back on to determine what they could and could not do. All they had was God’s faithfulness and promises that He had given to them. They all had the choice to accept or reject the promises the Lord had for them, but they did not. They could not foresee what the future held for them and their families, but they trusted that the Lord’s will would be done through their obedience. These examples from scripture encouraged me in to trust God throughout this pandemic. Because of God’s faithfulness, I have truly seen the Lord’s hand on my family members’ lives. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl, our two older children are thriving in school, I am able to be present and responsive for my husband, and our home has been filled with the pure joy only the Lord could give. 

To all the mothers, I want to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day!  You are strong, resilient, appreciated and loved. I want to encourage you all to not lose hope. Keep praying, seeking, and trusting God even in the unknown. He has proven himself faithful and will continue to be faithful for generations to come!

God’s Gift of Being Your Mother

God’s Gift of Being Your Mother


Video Courtesy of Anointed Praise Dance Ministry


When I was a child growing up and playing house with my dolls, I always dreamed of the day when I would one day be a mother.  I had it all planned out.  I would get married­­­­­­, and have two children; a boy would be the oldest and the girl would be the youngest.  I would live happily ever after.  As fate would have it, that day never came.  Well, not in the way I had expected it to happen.  I am not a biological mother, but I have mothered so many children throughout my life. My life has not played out the way I planned it, but it has worked out exactly as God has planned it.

I am happy that God has placed some awesome women in my life who exemplify a true gift from God.  Some have played major roles in my life throughout my upbringing and adulthood and others are great friends who I have had the pleasure of witnessing in their motherhood role.  I wanted to be a mother like my mother was to me.  My mother was a gift from God – and so are many mothers.

Think about it.  Mothers carried you for nine long months, lost their figure, and some were sick during their entire pregnancy.  Not to mention, with children come sleepless nights, temper tantrums, potty training, teething, measles, mumps, chicken pox and everything else.  Mothers mostly were the taxi cab drivers to school, numerous athletic practices, and games.  They are our biggest cheerleaders with and experts in home economics, counseling, doctoring, teaching, and whatever else is needed. Your mother made sure you were college prepared and, if college wasn’t your thing, then she supported you as you followed your dreams. Mothers are small business owners and can fix most things.  Mothers are intelligent, loving, compassionate, patient, and supportive.  Mothers have so much wisdom.

Unfortunately, some people have not had the experience of knowing and loving the previously described mothers above.  That is so unfortunate.  I won’t bash anyone who has not had the love of a mother.  However, I pray that at some point in your life you are able to experience the love of a mother figure.  Everyone that births a child is not always the best mother figure.  But then there are those like me, who have never birthed a child but love children and love being around them.  I hope that at some point in my life, I have been able to share my love with someone who hasn’t had the best experience with a mother.

God has made us share the love of a mother with unloved children.  No child should ever feel as if they have not had the love of a mother in their life.  There are so many places that childless women can go and be a mother figure to young children.  Help them to have the kind of love that your mother gave you. We want them to know that Mothers are a gift from God, whether it is their biological mother or someone who just has a lot of love to give.  “A child doesn’t have to be biologically yours for you to love them like your own.”

Always know, God can and will be your mother.  He has been for me since my mother passed.  He comforts me.  He is patient with me.  He is all knowing.  He is compassionate.  God is love.

My mother has been gone for 19 years, and I still grieve her especially during the holidays.  But God has been with me through it all.  Throughout scripture, you can see where God can and is seen as a mother figure. 

Deuteronomy 32:10 (NIV) “In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye.”

Hosea 11:3-4 (NIV) “It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. 4I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them, I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.”

Luke 13:34 (NIV) “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”

Psalm 91:4 (NIV) “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

Isaiah 42:14 (NIV) “For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant.”

Isaiah 49:15 (NIV) “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”

Let God comfort you and protect you.  He will be the mother you never had or the mother that is no longer with you.  God can be whatever you need God to be.

Pray About It: God, you are so awesome in all that you do.  Thank you for the wonderful gift of mothers.  We are grateful for your love, comfort, and protection for the motherless.  God, you are a gift that fulfills needs for the motherless.  Thank you for nurturing us and holding us close through all circumstances.  Thank you, God.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 4:9-10 (NIV)

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”


About the Author

TONIA WILLIAMS: Tonia lives in North Augusta, SC where she grew up.  She received her BA degree in Journalism from the University of South Carolina (USC), Columbia, SC and her MBA degree from Brenau College in Gainesville, GA.  She is actively involved with her church, Old Macedonia Baptist Church, where she sings on the choir, is Director of Vacation Bible School, and teaches the Women’s Sunday School class

Uncompromising: An Interview with Steve White

Uncompromising: An Interview with Steve White

Steve White is a man with an inspiring life and an incredible legacy. He began his journey as the child of a single mother from the housing projects with obstacles set in the way of his success. And yet as a man of faith who embraced his “why,” he overcame the difficulties and is now one of the most successful Black leaders in the nation as the President of Comcast.

As we look towards Mother’s Day, he uplifts the impact of his mother on his story. UrbanFaith sat down with Steve to discuss his book Uncompromising: How an unwavering commitment to your why leads to an impactful life and a lasting legacy. The full interview is above, more about the book is below.

 

When you adhere to Steve’s seven pathways discussed in the book, you are standing by your why with an uncompromising mindset. And you are doing it with a winning and impactful approach that can help you lead a more fulfilling and purposeful life, while helping you guide others and leave a lasting legacy.

Motherhood, Untimely Born

Motherhood, Untimely Born

A curious command and promise opens Isaiah 54:1-3. While Isaiah is speaking directly of the little post-exilic community in Judea, he is also speaking more broadly of the future glory of True Israel.  We just saw the anguished victory of the Suffering Servant in the passage before; now the Servant’s task is seen as fulfilled, and the prophet breaks into a hymn and shouts of praise from the “barren, childless woman,” welcoming the dawn of the New Age.

Hold up… did we read that right?  What reason could a childless woman possibly have to rejoice? It’s ironic that Isaiah uses a childless woman to illustrate Christ’s eternal covenant of peace for his Bride. In Old Testament culture, being childless was a shameful state, yet this was the culture into which Christ would come.  When God spoke through the prophet of a “redeemed barrenness”, he spoke directly against Israelite culture. It’s one thing to glorify motherhood, yet another entirely to idolize it.

Some of the greatest recorded blessings of God came through barren women; women who were tormented and marginalized by their own culture – even by those in their own households.  We need look no further than Elizabeth, Sarah, and Hannah; motherhood in each of their cases was a supernatural act of God, for God’s purposes alone.  Even barren places birthed great fulfillment – after all, can anything good come from Nazareth?  Yes, and amen! Christ himself didn’t come into Israel at a time of the great kings, or after a great victory in battle; he was born into Israel when there was no fruit on the fig tree; true to the words of Isaiah, he came to Israel after a lengthy silence from God, “like a root out of dry ground.”

In God’s economy, the barren woman so often receives a double portion; temporal blessing, as well as eternal. Sarah became the mother of nations, Hannah nursed the prophet who would anoint a king after God’s own heart, and Elizabeth reared the herald of the coming Christ.  All provided symbols of supernatural Kingdom fruitfulness and expectant hope beyond the temporal into the eternal.

Yet the fruit-bearing in view in Isaiah 54 shows an even greater miracle – fruitfulness in glory is promised from no birth process whatsoever, either natural or supernatural. This is truly worth noting then, as God specializes in creating ex nihilo – in bringing something from absolutely nothing.

Christ, the Greater Legacy

According to the 2010 US Census, the number of single fathers in 2010 was 1.8 million, compared to 600,000 in 1982.  About 46% were divorced, 30% were never married, 19% were separated, and 6% were widowed.  This means at the very least that 1.8 million children are growing up perhaps never having known “mother” in a functional sense.  Add this to the number of young men and women who have never rightly known “father”, and the social and spiritual opportunity grows in proportion to the crisis.

My husband raised two young children to adulthood as a single father.  Today, they are beautiful and Godly people, making their own way yet still in need of occasional ‘parenting’, guidance and mentorship.  I often wish that I had known them as little people, privy first-hand to the stories that now live fondly as exaggerated legends around our kitchen table!  The addition of our daughter-in-law has brought our number of children to three, increasing our joy exponentially. There’s a depth to their acceptance, love, respect, and care for me that I deeply appreciate, in part because I do not know what it is to have children of my own.  It is beyond precious, indeed.

“Reaching”, Ruth Naomi Floyd Images © 2013.

I feel a similar depth of love to the numerous and diverse young people who stream through our home on a regular basis.  They don’t look like me, and do not carry my name. I am learning their histories rather than having experienced them.  Yet when we who have known no children open our hearts to those who are seeking ‘mother’ or ‘father’, absence meets absence, longing meets longing, and love is born … ex nihilo.

Many of us will come to fulfillment in motherhood somewhat akin to the way that Christ met Paul, as to one “untimely born.”  Paul didn’t meet Christ in the natural manner of the apostles, walking alongside him on the crowded roads during his earthly ministry; yet his comparatively unconventional encounter with the glorified Christ on the dusty road to Damascus held no less value, meaning, or impact than that of the other apostles.  Such is it with spiritual motherhood, “untimely born.”

Spiritual motherhood offers an opportunity to become a wise and compassionate influence to our current “social orphans,” adults who have been left with a parental void of wise counsel, compassion, and/or love. When the Church steps in to address their spiritual and life issues, she speaks against a long line of opportunists offering an endless supply of false identities to while away their hours, days and years.

As spiritual parents, we anticipate Christ in glory as he gathers in the nations under his Name alone, the only Name by which we are eternally known.  We are able to enlarge God’s tent and ours far beyond parameters restricted by our own name or blood.  By intimately ushering the motherless through the practical and spiritual aspects of life, the “never-married” and the childless all participate in the redemptive Kingdom building process, and foretaste this joy that Isaiah has in view.

Children are a memorial, biologically and spiritually.  Naturally, my husband and I want see the name of Ellis continue after we are gone, but our desire is far greater to see the name of Christ magnified through subsequent generations.  The question then is, whose name will our children memorialize?  Our personal one which is temporal and will one day pass away, or the Name that is eternal and above all?

The Cause for Praise

Once one has borne children, one can’t know what it is like not to have borne them; bearing children and not bearing children are two different existential frames of reference.  Of course, the woman who has borne children can know what it is to mother one not of her own blood, if not through adoption then certainly through mentorship.  Conversely, the barren woman may never know the joy of bearing children, yet the joy in view in Isaiah 54 is apparently one that can only be known in the absence of natural child-bearing.  Through spiritual motherhood, the barren woman experiences a cause for praise that the natural mother will never know, receiving blessing in the temporal and storing up treasure in the eternal.

As I reconcile my own infertility and search for meaning and purpose within it, I begin to recognize the great Kingdom potential that lies within me.  Spiritually speaking, we are all barren apart from the regenerative power of Christ to draw us to Himself and make us new.  Motherhood – indeed parenthood in any form – should be life-changing for all involved as we  share joys and sorrows, disappointments and victories, and find meaning in them from God’s perspective.

Through the influence of older and wiser spiritual mothers in my life, my question has changed from “How does God fit into my infertility,” to “How does my infertility fit in with God?  Isaiah 54 takes me beyond wanting comfort for “what has not been”, and helps me resist those who treat my “untimely motherhood” as a mere consolation prize.  When I see the nations stream through my front door hungry for “mother” and Godly counsel, I realize that even my infertility may have a great and exalted impact on the Kingdom.

Truly, to be regarded as “mother” when one technically and biologically is not so is a simultaneously exquisite and humbling experience – in fact, it brings a surprising and unspeakable joy. Quite frankly, it makes me want to shout…

Happy Mother’s Day! Enjoy 10 Podcast Shorts on Mothers and Motherhood

Happy Mother’s Day! Enjoy 10 Podcast Shorts on Mothers and Motherhood

Every mom’s journey to and through motherhood is a little different. That’s the beautiful thing about motherhood — there’s no perfect way to do it, yet most moms find their way to doing the best that they can with God’s help. So, today we’re celebrating each unique motherly experience with a compilation of 10 two-minute podcast shorts by Dr. Melvin E. Banks, founder of UMI. We’ve pulled them from Dr. Banks’ daily radio program called Daily Direction, which covers a variety of issues and topics.  Listen in and remember all of what you love (or loved) about your mom.


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