In her book, Stick a Geranium in your hat and be happy, Barbara Johnson, uses the line: "If it was going to be easy to raise kids, it never would have started with something called labor." She agrees that motherhood is a labor of love.
Then she reminisces about a story she came across.
"It seems an angel slipped out of heaven and spent the day roaming around the earth.
"As the sun was setting, he decided to take along some mementos of his visit.
"He noticed some lovely roses in a flower garden, plucked the rarest and most beautiful, and made a bouquet to take back to heaven.
"Looking on a bit farther, he saw a beautiful little baby smiling into its mother's face. The baby's smile was even prettier than the bouquet of roses, so he took that, too.
"He was about to leave when he saw the mother's love pouring out like a gushing river toward the little baby in the cradle, and he said to himself, 'Oh, that mother's love is the prettiest thing I have seen on earth; I will carry that, too.'
"He winged his way back to heaven, but just outside the pearly gates he decided to examine his mementos to see how well they had made the trip.
"The flowers had withered, the baby's smile had faded, but the mother's love was still there in all its warmth and beauty.
"He discarded the withered flowers and the faded smile, gathered all the hosts of heaven around him, and said, 'Here;s the only thing I found on earth that would keep its beauty all the way to heaven - it is a mother's love.'"
Which caused me to see a mother as, God's love with skin on.
In Psalm 131, verse 2, the psalmist speaks , of his trust in the LORD. The best example David could find, to demonstrate what he felt when he trusted in God, was the idea of a weaned child at its mother's breast.
Anyone who has been around a small child that has not been weaned and is being nursed, knows that when you hold a baby with its head near your chest, the baby will push against you, and may get agitated if it isn't able to receive nourishment.
A weaned child, on the other hand, can rest in its mother's arms, with its head on her chest, and not have to search for nourishment. Nothing is as peaceful as being held by a mother.
Psychology tells us that a person who is deeply disturbed, or troubled, may rock back and forth, to overcome the distress. This is attributed to an innate memory of a mother rocking a small child, especially in times of trouble.
In Deuteronomy chapter 33, verse 26, Moses tells the Israelites: "the Eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms."
What better place could there be to live, than in a pair of arms?
Isn't it exciting that God put our arms in such a place that whenever we hold something precious, it is held close to our heart? Moses has given us a perfect impression of the love of God, "the everlasting arms." What child is not at peace when mom is holding it?
In verse 28, Moses goes on to say: "So Israel dwells in security." Do you remember how secure you felt during a storm, or when something was going on that you did not understand, to crawl into bed beside mom and have her wrap her arms around you?
In the First Book of the Kings, chapter 3, verses 16 through 26, we are treated to a picture of the heart of God that is implanted in mothers.
Two mothers are fighting over a child, and each claims the child is hers. Of course, without a birth certificate, it would have been pretty difficult to identify who the child really belonged to.
The writer of this story, is quick to tell us that both women were prostitutes, which tells us that neither woman had a living relationship with God.
We are led to believe, today, that prostitutes do not want to have any children. Back in those days, prostitutes were outcasts from society, and had no chance of ever having a solid family life, or anything they could call their own. A son would at least give them something to put their hope in.
King Solomon's way of uncovering the mystery of who the child really belonged to, was to offer to divide the child in half, then each woman would have half of a dead child. Neither one would have a child to hang any hopes on.
The real mother refused to allow the child to be cut in half. In spite of her sinful life, the real mother refused to allow the child to be killed. How like God, who does not want anyone to be taken from Him, or killed to satisfy some right.
The gospel of John chapter 3, verse 16 informs us: "God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."
It is God's love for us, that caused Him to do something to save our lives: our spiritual lives.
The writers of the gospels of Matthew and Luke both quote Jesus as having said: "How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings."
When children have a bad day, when their world seems to be coming down around their heads, mom's sheltering arms, are the sure fix, for whatever is wrong.
Whenever a child gets hurt, the greatest medicine they can receive is mom, holding them, and speaking softly to them; maybe even kissing the booboo.
So often, mom is our first line of defense. When someone is after us, it is always great to have mom on our side.
Dad generally, has the responsibility of making sure that the family has food; but it is mom who insures that everyone is fed, and fed properly.
One last illustration should help to see mother as God's love with skin on.
Scripture tells us that Jesus has sat down at the right hand of God. And that He ever lives to make intercession for us.
It has been a topic of conversation for may years, especially among people who have been spiritual giants, that their mother had prayed fervently for them.
Many have said: "had it not been for a godly mother faithfully praying for me, I would have been lost for eternity."
Finally, an article dated 1946, may be helpful.
"MY last night at home was a sad one. Mother wetted my face with her tears all night, with the one message, 'Our last night, you are going to a land called the grave of the white man. This is your funeral.'
"She went down into the valley that night, came up with the vision, bade farewell with a glorified face, the only person that did not weep.
"Her only girl had been held loosely until the test came. Mother won out.
"Three years later I was on my deathbed. That terrible water fever was claiming me. Only a few hours to live was the announcement.
"Fever over 105. Won't go down. Hemorraghes of the kidneys persistent. Vitality gone. Had one occupation, praying for mother.
"Suddenly fell asleep, glad to go to be with Jesus. But woke up, free from the awful pain and burning fever, normal.
"Nurse flew into a panic. Drop to normal too sudden. Coma! Soon lapsed into sleep again, supposed to be the last one. But woke up normal and stayed normal, and was up at my work again within a two week period. Clearly a miracle!
"Two months later a letter came from home, but this was not from my mother. they had carried her out. She died in an agony of prayer for her only girl the same hour in Chicago, in which the girl, 10,000 miles away, had come back to life again.
"Letters took two months from Chicago to our station. There was no means of cabling in that day. But the heavenly wireless was even then in fullest operation.
"The burden fell upon her. She fought the fight for my life, not knowing why. She had reckoned with the eternal and so I live today. -- Alma E. Doering."
On the last page of Barbara Johnson's book is a poem.
"Don't despair so of your children,
God will bring them to the fold -
Because He died to save them,
They're special to the Lord.
He knows how much you love them,
He loves them even more.
As long as you hold on in prayer,
He'll not close the door.
Even now He sees your tears,
And He whispers tenderly,
Of love that conquered all -
That all men might be free.
So lay them at His altar,
Let go and lever them there -
God will be faithful to your trust,
He won't withhold His care.
His hand will ever nurture,
No matter where they roam -
And He won't be satisfied
'Til He sees them safely home!"
You see, mother, is God's love with skin on, because mother lives close to God, depends totally on God, and is obedient to God, and God's Word.
And mother will not be satisfied until all her children are safely home!