What is motherhood?

Fifteen years ago, I read this description of motherhood and never forgot it: “Motherhood is the life-on-life transmission of a God-centered, Christ-exalting worldview.” It’s a definition worthy of further reflection.

Motherhood is “life-on-life,” which means that a mother’s character and example matter much more than what she says. Even when a mom isn’t speaking, she is still mothering.

Motherhood is “the transmission of a worldview,” meaning that it’s way more than vacuuming carpets, fixing meals, washing dishes, and doing laundry. Through their mom’s example, values, and instruction, children begin to form their ideas about who they are, what ultimate reality is, what makes a meaningful life, what is wrong with the world, and how to fix it.

Motherhood, at least in the Christian view, is ”God-centered,” indicating that biblical mothering will always be radically counter-cultural. And it is “Christ-exalting,” meaning that a mom who knows Jesus will intend for her life to be a signpost, always pointing her children to Another.

Can you find a more glorious, more impactful calling than this? Probably not, which is why it’s appropriate for us to honor all mothers this Mother’s Day.

But I want to make sure that when we talk about motherhood, we don’t narrow our scope to the biological realm. For members of God’s family, whole new vistas of motherhood are open to us. That’s because the gospel always redefines and transforms everything it touches!

In the family of God, children are born, not through physical procreation, but through regeneration and the new birth. This means motherhood is expressed, not through physical childbearing, but through speaking and living out the gospel. In this way, the gospel calls every woman—single or married, young or old—to the opportunity to deliver and nurture new life. Motherhood is, or at least can be, a reality for every woman as she passes on her faith to others and transmits to them a God-centered, Christ-exalting worldview.

So, Ladies, don’t overlook the gospel call for every one of you to take up the challenge of motherhood in the family of God. Some of you are skilled at sharing your faith, which is the first step toward the conception and gestation of a new spiritual life. Others are skilled at nurturing young lives through discipleship. Whatever the case, how about marking this Mother’s Day with praise that motherhood is, or can be, a reality for every single woman in God’s family?

And to all the moms of both kinds: “Happy Mother’s Day”!