Celebrating mothers in different spaces –Marian Fitz-Gibbon

Imagine with me life as a Ukrainian mother, or any other global wartime mother, or a little closer to home, hear the heart-rending words of a woman affected by the floods in KwaZulu-Natal:

“It was absolutely traumatic, some mornings I woke up 3am and I’m in tears thinking of the ‘what if’ because there was so much devastation but I thank God that we came out of this intact because a building can be replaced but you can’t replace a life.

KZN flood damage (PHOTO: Xolile Bhengu/Eyewitness News)

“The only thing I could think about was to get my child out of the house. The mud just kept coming and coming and before we knew it the entire house was completely covered in mud. At that moment we could only think of, is to survive.” (Eyewitness News)

Our country has not only been ravaged by floods, but by looting, crime, corruption, and loss of lives. This has left our leaders, prophets, and prophetic people with a need to dig even deeper with the Lord than ever before. Where is the hand of God in all of this? Could anyone believe God could show himself in this disaster? It’s the Gift of The Givers, the Domino Foundation, and hundreds more that rise to the occasion as NGOs always do in such circumstances. Faith arises in just one day but many days, as we are called throughout the nation to not only honour the lost lives in prayer but to seek for restoration and human dignity to be restored.

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In the interim you and I go through survival camp with our torches and halogen lamps racing through schedules to get through washing, ironing, cooking, homework, computer work, showering, moving the cars and anything that requires an energy supply. Nothing said about having a great Godly attitude and yes, it’s the perfect time to train our children to work under pressure, learn obedience, tidy as you go and read by torch light. Going full circle, one must ask the question where and how we can let the light shine in the dark places and who is in the light and who is the dark? After all, if we don’t know where we’re going, we’ll easily get lost in the dark.

Mothering through it all

If mothering were classified an extreme sport, it would probably be listed as the most adventurous, courageous, most strategic, and highly skilful sport in the world.

For most mothers the day of “guess the gender party” until baby’s birth is a journey filled with “other people’s stories of how little Sue or George made it into the world”, and all you long for is the certainty that your story will have the finger of God written all over it. For the realisation that the Scripture:
He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young will be yours as a mother.

Motherly love in war-torn Ukraine (PHOTO: kva.com)

Wartime mothers
We simply cannot ignore the wartime mothers. The mothers who are crouched in the basement of cement buildings or crammed in busses to unknown destinations, holding their little ones close to their breasts lest they are hit by missile shrapnel.

In stark contrast, I sit in my safe study reading the news reports of Ukraine, my thoughts racing from site to site. A part of me wants to understand the historical and geopolitical forces that led up to this moment. I’m conflicted because we’ve met and ministered to and amongs some of the finest people in Russia. Then I remember the tensions of the nuclear threats during the Cold War era and the building of the Berlin wall. The them and us terrors, the fight to end apartheid.

I remember the prayers the mothers of this nation prayed; how I as a young mother prayed so fervently, not really understanding the full implications of the political and historical impact those prayers would have.

The South African part of me ponders what my country’s leadership should, can and will do under these wartime circumstances regarding the massive change in families in the Ukrainian and Russian war context, not excluding the global economic ramifications.

It’s going to be OK
The mother in me — the raw, human heart of me — goes straight to the mothers and the children in war-torn countries. Children look to us for safety, security, and reassurance, so I try to imagine what wartime mums must be telling their young children as they hear air raid sirens, explosions, gunfire from above.

“You’re OK. We’re safe here,” you tell them, not knowing if it’s true. “It’s going to be OK.” You lie to your children because you don’t know what else to do. You’re scared, but you don’t want them to see it. If you can’t protect them from the violence on their doorstep, you will shield them as much as you can from fear and despair. You—your body, your presence—are their primary shelter and safe place, so you wrap your arms around your babies and children, knowing full well that your flesh is powerless against weapons of war. You know you would die for them. You worry that won’t be enough.

I recently heard a mother who was facing extreme emotional warfare in her marriage say: “I will give my life for my children, I will stand and shield them from fear and despair with my body, with everything I have to protect them.” She was in a war that traumatised her mind and soul and that of her children.

One must ask, are abusive words not the same as nuclear missiles? Leaving devastation and ruin in their trail. This woman knew that she was powerless against the warfare, and it would take more than her physical body to protect her children, no matter how much she loved them. She needed others to come alongside her and close the gap spiritually and pray for an encounter of the love of God invade her and the lives of those in her household. She needed to know that We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.– – 2 Corinthians 10.4

The African continent
As a mothers here on the African continent we don’t hear bomb sirens, but we know how to love our children in the face of adversity. We are certain that God has given us our children and they have been called to respond to Him here, and to the nations of this world. We are confident that our children are loved and will share His love completely wherever they are.

Mothers, celebrate the beauty of motherhood, no matter what your magnificent story is or will be. It’s not meant to be a fairy tale, its one of love and tenderness, with your hands in His, wrapped around your children, night, and day.

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