Stretch Marks of a Mother’s Love – Greg Albrecht
The stages of motherhood, as seen from the eyes of her child:
Age 4: My mommy can do anything.
Age 8: My mommy knows a lot.
Age 14: My mom doesn’t know as much as she thinks she does.
Age 18: My mother is hopelessly old fashioned—she’s way out-of date.
Age 30: Before I make a big decision, I’m going to call my mom.
Age 55: She’s gone now. I wonder what my mother would have done when she had this decision to make.
Age 70: She’s been gone for a long time now. How I wish I could talk with my mom again and tell her how much I loved and appreciated her.
Englishman John Wesley, one of the great patriarchs of the Protestant branch of Christianity, whose contributions and faith gave rise to what is known as Methodism today said this about his own mother: “I learned more about what Christianity is all about from my mother than all the theologians in England.”
Mothers carry stretch marks, which, for the rest of their lives, are etched on their bodies as a memory of their stretching to accommodate and welcome a new life into the world!
How much do we owe our mothers? How much are the stretch marks of a mother’s love worth? We can never repay our mothers, can we?
And that’s truly a Christ-centered insight into the love of a mother— it’s a love that is given without consideration of repayment— it’s a grace that outdoes itself, day after day and week after week and year after year.
Another way of appreciating and more fully comprehending a mother’s love is to think of it from the flip side—what we can learn from children as they are loved by their mothers.
Here’s a passage from a book titled The Course of Love, by Alain de Botton: Children teach us that love is, in its purest form, a kind of service. The word has grown freighted with negative connotations. An individualistic, self-gratifying culture cannot easily equate contentment with being at someone’s call.
We are used to loving others in return for what they can do for us… Yet babies can do precisely nothing. There is, as slightly older children sometimes conclude… no “point” to them. That is their point.
They teach us to give without expecting anything in return, simply because they need help badly—for we are in a position to provide it. We are inducted into a love based not on an admiration for strength but on a compassion for weakness, a vulnerability common to every member of the species and one which has been and will eventually again be our own… these helpless creatures are here to remind us that no one is, in the end, “self-made”: we are all heavily in someone’s debt.
And finally, the author concludes about the kind of love given so lavishly by mothers to their children and what it teaches:
We learn the relief and privilege of being granted something more important to live for than ourselves.
From a mother’s perspective, the decision to have a child is, as someone once said, like deciding forever to have your heart go walking around, exposed to the world, outside your body.
And of course, those visible stretch marks are the scars of sacrifice and the labor—the ordeal a mother’s body endured as it made room not just for one life, but one more—and prepared that new body for a life of its own.
“This Too Shall Pass Away”
“This too shall pass away” was one of the sayings my mother loved. For my mother, when times were tough, and we had many of them, “this too shall pass away” was a reminder that no matter how hard and difficult and seemingly endless a particular task or project might be, one day it will be over and done with. And then in hindsight there will be relief, appreciation, and joy over a life well lived.