Sitting next to your daughter’s hospital bed will give you some time to think. My daughter is fifteen, but she still wants her mom with her. So I spend as much time as my job, and my needs to be with my son, allow. And while I’m sitting next to her, holding her hand, encouraging her through the pain of physical therapy, comforting her, letting her beat me at mancala, I’m struck by how much she just needs me to be mom.

Much of my time is consumed by being the provider for my kids, putting a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, and food on the table. I spend hours each day making sure everything at work is functioning properly so books and Bibles get published on time. Much of what I have wanted to accomplish with my life and my time has had to be set aside for the time being. And I was reminded of the importance of this when I ran across this quote by GK Chesterton. Just ignore the references to British government.

To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, cakes, and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.
(What’s Wrong with the World, quoted in Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge, Nelson Books)

The last two lines are my favorite because, especially when my children were small, I was everything to them. I am still their world, and the import of that can be staggering. I am continually grateful that I was able to stay at home with them when they were small. And now that they are older, they still need me greatly. Though instead of wiping noses and tying shoes, I’m helping with homework and making sure chores are done. And sitting by my daughter’s hospital bed while she learns to walk again.

I have many titles: wage earner, managing editor, small group member, friend. But the one that means the most is simply mom.

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