Mother’s Day Painting – Mother Hen
This painting is a very meaningful one for me. I was inspired to paint it while I was listening to a talk on motherhood.
“… Christ chose the common chicken for his metaphor because of the hen’s selfless devotion to its chicks. Allis-Pike explained that a chicken is almost defenseless, yet it will never abandon its offspring when danger arises. It also is an active mother and will gather its offspring together to protect them. If necessary it will shield its little chicks with its own body — offering itself to preserve their lives.
To the hen, its chicks are valued greatly. It actively will call to them. “Perhaps the most important point about the chicks in this metaphor is what is assumed. These chickens obey instinct. They come to their mother … this means that when the hen calls they come without hesitation, without delay and without question run to the safety that is only found underneath their mother’s wings,”..”Christ has specific qualities normally existing only in the purview of women and mothers,” she said.
A mother hen calls her chicks to protect them from predators. Satan is the predator, according to Allis-Pike. “Just as the mother hen literally uses her body to protect her chick’s life, Christ literally uses his body to protect his children from spiritual destruction,”…
“The beauty of the hen metaphor is that it goes beyond language, allowing the readers to simply feel Christ’s love for us,”
For me, being a mother means many things. It means taking those who are in need ‘under your wing’ for protection; protection physically and emotionally. For some it is their own children and other children in need. For others it is taking in their nieces and nephews, friends, children in the community who need help, your parents, etc… This Mother’s Day I am celebrating the mothers in my life, and other mothers like myself…
The #1 Lady in my life is my mother. She is so very special and dear to my heart. I love our daily talks. Many days we just keep each other in our ear while we do daily chores. What’s fun is we often go several minutes without saying anything, we just love having that closeness to one another every day. I miss her all the time, but I’m so grateful we can keep close in that way. On my bad days she knows just how to make me laugh. I don’t know what I’ll do when that day comes where the phone stays silent and her special ringtone I have for her doesn’t play anymore. No one lifts my spirits quite like she can. For now, every day that I still have her here I will cherish our talks, and all the visits in person we get to have. I’ll listen and record the sound of her voice in my mind to carry with me forever. I’ll pay special attention to the way she tells stories, the way her hand feels in my hand and the tight hugs she gives like she too never wants to be without them.
I am so grateful for all the many lessons she has taught me on how to love others, how to be a mother and tend to others needs. She’s taught me invaluable lessons, such as the importance of embracing and celebrating others differences, the importance of being quick to forgive; it’s far more important to love others than it is to hold grudges. I’ve loved her example of being a friend to everyone. I love her gift in meeting strangers and immediately taking them ‘under her wing’ to be a friend and help them to know they are loved. Countless lessons she has taught me and I am grateful to her for them. I know that when the time comes that I have to say good-bye, I will always have a part of her in me when I catch those moments of seeing her in myself as I make friends with strangers, celebrate differences in us all, and whenever I comfort others who have a broken heart. I love her so much, she really is my best friend.
The next mother I celebrate is the woman who gave birth and raised my other best-friend (my husband). She is amazing in so many ways. She is a wonderful example of having strength in what you believe in. She loves the gospel of Jesus Christ with all of her heart and it is so clear to see her passion in her daily life. She lives it every day in her service to her family. I love the quote I first heard from Oprah, “When you know better, you do better” and I see in her that everything she learns she immediately takes action in applying it to her life and shares the lessons she has learned with all who she loves and cares about. I love to hear her tell stories about those she has helped and the experiences of growth she’s had. I love her so much for her support in my passions in life. She is quick to come to aid of those who are experiencing challenges and does all she can to help them. She works so hard when helping others, to the point that she requires some self-care. But as soon as she feels rested – she gets right back to work in thinking of others and giving service. She truly lives a Christ-centered live in following His footsteps. I am so impressed by her and she’s been a great example to me.
Next, I celebrate the sisters in my life. Wow, where do I begin because there are so many! I don’t know how they all do it, but I see so much love and dedication to their children. I see all of them giving selfless service. They desire so much – to the point of exhaustion- to help their children’s dreams come true. I see many go above and beyond to celebrate all the many accomplishments, birthdays, holidays to make memories to last a lifetime for them. I know many of them struggle with sleepless nights when their child is struggling. I see the pain they go through because they so badly want to fix it and make their child’s pain go away. It breaks my heart. I see them overjoyed when their child is happy and is succeeding. It’s like they feel their same happiness through them. Like the story behind this painting, mothers truly mirror a Christ-like love. Christ feels our pain and is sad when we’re sad, and He is happy when we are happy. I see my sister’s show that same sadness and joy as they raise their children. I am so impressed and so proud to see them all being the best mothers they know how to be. I see them grow and learn from mistakes, and learning along with their children’s experiences and trials in life, and that is probably one of the most impressive things that I have observed; their humility, their dependence on God’s help, and their unyielding dedication to their children who are clearly their entire life and their whole world.
Finally, I celebrate mothers like me. Those who have that place in their heart that will, or may, ache their entire mortal life and have to wait until the next life to have children of their own. Like this quote by John A. Widtsoe:
“Women who through no fault of their own cannot exercise the gift of motherhood directly, may do so vicariously.
For reasons known to the Lord, some women are required to wait to have children. This delay is not easy for any righteous woman. But the Lord’s timetable for each of us does not negate our nature. Some of us, then, must simply find other ways to mother. And all around us are those who need to be loved and led.”
I know there are many women out there who have to find ways to fill and comfort that constant ache, by loving their nieces and nephews, having a pet they call their ‘furbaby’, helping their parents in their older age, helping friends… finding every possible way to satisfy that maternal instinct to care and ‘mother’ someone who depends on us for that nurturing love. There are many ways to satisfy that need, but it’s never a complete satisfaction.
There are many moments that you can’t help but cry, especially after waking up from a dream where you were nursing your own baby, having fun and teaching them valuable life lessons. I often have dreams where I see a little boy that looks like Clark who loves to pal around with him learning about cameras and business – watching all those marketing videos and has an equal passion for learning… a ‘momma’s boy’ who promises to always take care of me like his dad…and a little girl with blonde curly hair who is as wild and crazy as me – a free spirited artist who I teach how to paint and garden. A girl who loves me as much as I love my mom.
It’s so difficult to be asked when we’re going to have children, or “do you have any children” and I have to answer “no”. It’s even difficult sometimes to be told “there are many ways to be a mother, or there’s always adoption”, because while it is comforting to know that –it doesn’t heal my heart. There’s nothing quite like having a child of your own, and the inability to create one is heartbreaking every time it comes to mind and that’s why it’s hard to be asked.
Those women who are in my same/similar position, I know you feel the same way. I know that your reasons are many and some are that you physically are unable to have children, or you are not yet married, or women like myself who are strongly advised for medical reasons to not have children because it would be too high a risk physically and mentally.
So, to you women, I celebrate your courage and strength to press forward in life and never give up. I know how difficult it is to find ways to fulfill that maternal need and endure this life without experiencing [traditional] motherhood. I applaud your strength to enjoy those satisfying moments where you feel as close of a feeling to motherhood you can achieve, allowing yourself to cry when those moments end and embrace your feelings and choose to use them to your advantage in giving acts of service with an immense amount of love. We can celebrate Mother’s Day — it doesn’t have to be a sad time of the year. It can be a holiday that reminds us of our strength and ability to celebrate mothers in our life and celebrate each other’s ability to find ways nurture others who need our love too.