by Karen Winkelman

I  come from a long line of mothers.  In fact, there are mothers on both sides of my family tree going all the way back to…well, Eve.

Six of these women I have known personally:  Eva, Elva, Bernadine, Bertha, Bertha and Hedwig.  This last one was really a stepmother.  Clara, my grandfather’s mother, died when he was born.  These generations of women from different eras all had one thing in common:  they gave life.  Clara may not have lived to do much more for her son, but because she fulfilled this purpose, I am here.

“Eve” means life-giver and defines the core function of mothers.  Giving physical life is, of course, just the beginning of the life-giving we do.  Most mothers provide the basic food, clothing and shelter for their little ones.  Beyond that Scripture gives me glimpses of other things I am to be purposeful about:

Easier said than done, right?  Three teenagers and a college student make my little branch on the tree pretty crazy these days.  People tell me I have “sweet” girls; this may be true but when more than one are in the van with their hormones and whatever happened at school that day, I can tell you the air is not all that sweet.  Bickering, “attitude”, you name it.  I have caught myself thinking, “Someone should do something about this!  Where is their mother?”

It’s pretty sobering to stop and realize that THAT mother is me!  And what am I going to do about it?  I don’t often know but as a Christ follower, I have no trouble in those moments obeying the command, “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thess. 5:17)

What a relief for me as a mom to have the Helper, the Holy Spirit, guiding me.  I am not simply a branch in a family tree; I am connected to The Vine. (John 15)  And as one of His branches, I have an even greater life-giving purpose: to introduce my children to “the way, the truth and THE life.” (John 14:6)  Jesus tells us in the rest of this verse, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

I can only “do” so much for my children and their momentary lack of sweetness.  What Jesus told Nicodemus is true for me and for them:  “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3-5)  They need to be connected to the Vine, too, and then the Helper can guide us all as sisters in Christ.

My daughters may not continue the line of mothers in our family tree–that still remains to be seen.  Closer to my heart is a most fervent prayer for them to truly follow Christ and be next in a long line of sisters branching out to the future for His Kingdom and glory.


Taking it One-to-One:

  • Do I relish my role as a life-giver?  How can I encourage other mothers to rejoice in this important nurturing function?
  • Do I see myself as God’s ambassador, working to build strong character in the lives of my children?
  • How can I encourage a childless woman to pass on her legacy either through adoption or involvement in children’s ministry?