“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion…over all the earth…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…” (Genesis 1:26-28, Holy Bible, KJV)
The evidence of God’s glory are far too numerous to count, the Earth a myriad of wonders and fascinations, each a testament to the power God’s love for His creations. To lay outside on a clear, dark night, and gaze up into the heavens and witness the brilliance of billions of shining stars casting their light upon us, with the realization that the light that at that moment shimmers in our eyes has traveled years, decades, even millennia to reach us, is to stand in awe at the majesty of God’s creations. Can one look out across the vastness of oceans, the depths of canyons, the height of mountains, and all of the splendors that cover the Earth and truly doubt that some loving, powerful being far greater than ourselves has given us a tiny glimpse of what heaven must be like?
God himself declared mankind as the greatest of all of His creations, given dominion over the earth and all creatures upon its face, for their nourishment, edification, and joy. God created the Earth, separating light from darkness, water from land, covering the Earth with flowers and trees, with beasts of the field and fowl of the air, finally placing man upon it, in the form of Adam. Yet as glorious as all these things were, God looked upon all He had wrought and saw His work was not complete. In the final, crowning achievement of His creation, a testament to His glory and the wisdom of His ways, God gave unto Adam an helpmeet, the woman Eve, for He saw that “it is not good that man should be alone.”
And how right he was! What would man be without woman? Without woman, man would be left to his own brutishness, devoid of the calming and nurturing influences which are the natural disposition and gifts of woman. Without woman, man would not exist, for it is she who nurtures mankind in her womb. It is she that succors the helpless child on her breast, giving each that nectar of life needed for survival. It is she that with love, patience, and long-suffering, is the primary provider of the training and development of her child, raising her children until they are ready to be out of their own, where they will find a mate of their own, continuing the infinite path laid by God, bringing children of their own into the world.
Our world today has in many ways distanced itself from the traditions of our parents and grandparents. The morality and institutions once universal among us have been replaced by a mélange of multiculturalism, which rejects the wisdom of our forefathers in favor of a more “enlightened” acceptance of all cultures as equal. In this new cultural reality, we are often told that women should shun, or at least delay, the role of mother in favor of making their mark in the business world, or in a variety of other endeavors. Yet while there is certainly greatness and accolades to be found in such endeavors, which are often a necessity, I wonder if we have lost sight of what is truly great and glorious on this Earth that God gave us.
I believe mothers have the most vital, yet least appreciated job in the world. Looking back upon my life, I know unequivocally that had it not been for the depth of my mother’s influence in my life, for the powerful lessons she taught me in the thirteen cancer-shortened years that I was blessed to be with her, I would be a much different man today. It was her sweet disposition in the face of terminal cancer, poverty, and a difficult marriage, that provided an example for me of grace in the face of painful trials. It was she who, despite never graduating high school, taught me a love of reading and a thirst for knowledge that has stayed with me throughout my life. It was she who taught me that a man can be without a penny to his name and still be rich, provided his name is unmarred by evidence of dishonesty or infidelity in word of deed. It was she who taught me the value of hard work, of sacrifice, of charity, obedience, and thrift. It was she who taught me the true measure of a man is not in the acquisition of material wealth, or worldly honors, but in how he treats the poor and downtrodden who can neither hurt nor help him. It was she that taught me that God allows us to suffer through trials, often deeply painful, not because He doesn’t love us, but because He knows that we only grow through the purifying flames of the refiner’s fire.
Just six years later, at the tender age of nineteen, I married my beautiful bride, Jennifer. We were barely more than children when we met at fourteen, and she a stunning beauty that she took my breath away. I literally stood there staring, mouth slightly open, making a fool of myself. This being shortly after the death of my mother, I was also a bit of an emotional wreck. Yet she saw something in me worthwhile, and my life has been richer for her willingness to take a chance on a young man of little worldly consequence, with not much to offer other than my devotion to her.
Nine months later I became a father, and my world would forever change. Due to a bit of chaos at the hospital, and with not a little fear, I delivered my son. What a precious, fragile creature he was! What an incredible specimen of quite strength was my wife. It was a truly humbling experience, but from that moment on I knew that my life would be dedicated to the happiness and protection of my wife, my firstborn son, and the three sons and four daughters that would follow.
Over the last twenty-one years, I have watched as my wife has worked endless hours, sacrificed so much of her labor, her sleep, her compassion and emotion, to taking care of her family. I remember my bride, not even twenty years old, as she bathed, fed, and nurtured my son. Eighteen years later I felt the icy knife of fear pierce my breast as I stood immobile, surrounded by doctors and nurses, some frantically trying to save my last child, Echo, who was blue and not breathing, even as others tended to my wife, who was struggling after a traumatic delivery. In that moment of indecision, torn between staying with my wife, or following my daughter as the doctors rushed her to the NICU while pumping oxygen into her lungs, my wife made the decision for me, screaming “Go with Echo, and don’t leave her for anything!”
God heard my frightened pleas, and both survived with no ill effects, but in that moment of uncertainty, with both lives in danger, my wife gave no thought to herself, but only to saving that precious child she’d brought into the world.
In John 15:13, our savior, Jesus Christ, declared “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Not knowing the extent of the danger to either, in that moment my wife was willing to give up her life for that of her child. That would come as no surprise to anyone who knows her, for her entire adult life has been spent in the service of her family, forming our children in her womb, providing life-sustaining nourishment, tending to their illnesses, teaching them eternal principles, educating them, and in every way tending to their needs. Though she has not been called upon to sacrifice her life for them, I have no doubt that she would. Instead, she has dedicated her life to being a wife and a mother, to raising righteous children, and to wielding her powerful influence for good on a husband who would be far less of a man without her tenderness and love.
God’s majesty is shown in all of His creations, but the crown jewel of them all is woman, whom we call wife and mother. May we take time today to show our love and appreciation for them, and thank God for such tender mercies.