by Candace Petty
When I stop and think about the special women who have impacted my life and shaped me into the mother I am today - the list is long! It, of course, includes my own mom, my grandmothers, the mothers of my childhood friends, and recently added to that list are the biological mothers of my three children.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve listened to sermons and teaching reminding me that children are temporarily entrusted to us by the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5), and it’s our job as parents to raise them up as arrows in our quiver, ready to release them to the plans the Lord has for their lives. I always envisioned this happening when my kids were adults. I’ll have 18 years to prepare myself for that launch, and surely, I’ll be ready by then, right? I didn’t realize that the Lord’s plan for my journey to motherhood would include loving children who don’t possess a single ounce of my DNA, and whose time in my home and my role as their mom could be labeled as very temporary.
I became a (foster) mom for the first time in 2015 to a two-year-old little boy, then a few weeks later to his one-year-old brother, as well. I loved them the instant I became their mom. Fast forward to 2017 and I was given the privilege of being forever a Mother to our boys. The journey started over again when our foster daughter was born and placed in our home a few weeks later.
Shortly after I became a mother for the first time, I was hit with an almost crippling fear, wondering if I would be ready to release my kids as arrows from our quiver long before they would be 18 years old. That is the reality of fostering. If that was going to be the Lord’s plan for their life and for my time as their mother, then I was going to have to accept that and prepare my heart for launching my arrows while they were still children, and not as adults like I had always envisioned. Someone once told me, that as believers, we are called to hold onto our children with open hands. That never really resonated with me until I became a mom to a child whose future is still to this day, hanging in the balance of foster care.
Being a mom is hard, sacrificial work. Spending day in and day out, raising our children in a way that glorifies God and shapes them into the arrows He intends for them to be can feel overwhelming. In my process of working toward this (which is far from being achieved!), I have recognized that the Lord is near to each and every one of us who are on this journey of motherhood. He is near to the mother who is forced to launch her arrow from her quiver long before she is ready. He is near to the mother who spent 18+ years molding and shaping her arrows for a timely launch and is now struggling as she watches the painful results of choices from children who have gone astray in their adult life. Last, but not least, He is near to the moms who are in the thick of this motherhood thing, falling into bed after a long, tiring day of meeting the needs of other humans who depend on them to survive, just to get up and do it all again a few hours later.
If you are a mom in one of these categories, I pray you will persevere, remembering that fine tuning those arrows is Kingdom Work!