Motherhood: radically different, beautifully similar
Yes, motherhood for African women in Africa is radically different than motherhood for an American woman raised in America but now living in Africa. Yet there are similarities and with Jesus at the center, real relationship and reciprocal learning can take place. Thought-provoking insight from Courtney Lankford, a SSMF missionary who serves with her family in South Africa.
–Each week I sit down with a group of moms from a local township.
–Each week I prepare something to talk about, a lesson to teach, wisdom to impart, instruction to give, Jesus to share…
–Each week I feel un-qualified.
I feel un-qualified to tell these beautiful ladies how to raise their precious children in a culture and lifestyle different than mine. Where they don’t eat how I eat, don’t bathe how I bathe, don’t sleep in their own room with their kids in their separate kid rooms.
Moms who walk and don’t own cars, who have a hard time making ends meet, much less making sure they get their 5 fruits and veggies a day.
Moms whose worries consist of finding a place to stay because they must go from the place they are or moms who deal with drugs and abuse on their doorsteps.
These treasured moms deal with issues that are only on my radar because of my relationship with them.
These moms are called mom just like me, deal with many of the same issues I deal with…yet, life is different.
How can I share with them all that I know as a nurse, as a mom of 4, as a child of the King and make it understandable and relatable to them? Because much of the ball field that we are playing on isn’t even.
Yes, I can share tips and guidelines and a plethora of advice, but circumstances and life itself play a major role in the usefulness, implementation and even necessity of all this info.
These moms always share a smile with me and are open to sharing their hearts and accepting me for who I am–the white faced southern twang talkin’ American who tries to understand their culture and pour love and Jesus on them while we talk about raising our babies.
Our relationship teaches both ways…
- them opening my eyes, my worldview and increasing my faith
- and me imparting basic health and childrearing tips wrapped in Jesus and prayer
Because, folks, Motherhood is beautiful and there is so much to learn and so much to cherish.
We talk breastfeeding and crying, discipline and nutrition, keeping ourselves sane and the struggles on our doorsteps.
We talk Jesus. We pray blessings over babies in wombs and on children by our side. We are mothers, no matter the differences between us, and together we are stronger.
–Daily I ask Jesus to impart wisdom, grace, patience, love and a multitude of other gifts into my heart and life so I can spill over into my 4 little ones. And then in turn, pour out into other moms around me (both those who are quite similar to me and those whose path of life varies).
–Daily I ask Jesus for the confidence and courage to be a light reflecting Him to those before me.
–Daily I ask Jesus to forgive me because I failed at some part of being a loving and doting wife, an always prepared mother of perfect kids, a cook that can whip up a delish, restaurant-worthy meal and whatever other pressure I have put on myself.
–Daily I feel un-qualified.
But daily, God fills me up.
God qualifies the called, right?