Mothering Instincts

May 6, 2011

Judson, Parenting, Sorrow

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At dusk today I went for a stroll around our nearby lake, then found a solitary area along the water to reflect and soak in the beauty of the sunset.  Moments after perching on a rock, I was pleasantly surprised to discover four goslings enthusiastically waddling toward me.  I watched with awe and wonder as their fluffy little bodies headed my direction.  But mama goose suddenly sounded a startling warning honk and her babies immediately returned to her side.

After putting about 10 feet between us, the mama goose seemed more comfortable with my presence and we all went about our business.  She and her little ones were pecking at the grass as I listened to the wind rustling in the trees, watched the lights dance across the water, observed the ducks skimming and gliding along the surface of the lake, and breathed deeply of the impending night air.

I sat for awhile, thoughts bouncing around my mind, while periodically glancing over at the geese family (dad was there too).

With darkness settling in, the mama goose proceeded to find a resting spot.  She got comfortable as her babies inched toward her.  Then in an amazing, natural moment of mothering, she stretched out her right wing and gently tucked her goslings underneath, closely beside her—safe, covered, and secure.  Meanwhile, dad kept guard nearby.

I suddenly wept.

The beauty.  The tenderness.  The vulnerability.  The instinct.  The care.

I wept some more.

The security.  The sacrifice.  The devotion.  The protection.

And then I bawled.

I bawled over my loss as a mother.  I bawled over my inability to shield my son from the harshness of this world.  I bawled over my innate longings to tuck him under my wing, safe from harm…and yet harm befell him.  And now I look under my wing and see only one little gosling, and I know I cannot fully safeguard her either.  It tears at my intrinsic responsibilities as a mother not to be able to wholly protect my children.

Even still, though I no longer have the gift of being able to tuck my boy under my wing, I am fully aware that he is, at this very moment, truly safe, covered, and secure.

And I am reminded that it is only under Jesus’ wing that any of us are ever truly safe, covered, and secure.

Tuck me in, Jesus.  Tuck me in.

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Photo by Anonymous

Categories: parenting, grief
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9 Comments on “Mothering Instincts”

  1. Freya Says:

    Hi Christina,

    You\’re right- it\’s impossible for us to protect our children from the \”harsh realities\” of this fallen world. It\’s so hard to experience that, and you\’ve had to survive through a really painful dose of it. I\’m so sorry…

    I loved your reflection, and mostly just wanted to say Happy Mother\’s Day to you.

    Freya

  2. Deb Mceachern Says:

    Happy Mother\’s Day Christina, I know it is bitter sweet, but I just wanted to encourage you to keep blogging. Your posts always hit me hard, and this one (of course) I can relate to also. I feel exactly like you do when I see the forest animals with their babies. I feel like a failure as a mother. Somebody gave me some words of encouragement when they told me I was special and hand picked by God to be Benji\’s mom and to take care of him and love him in life and to grieve him in death. He knew we could handle this task and you are handling it very well. You are lifting up the Savior and encouraging other grieving moms. I need to know that you are still crying, because I am too. I need to know that is normal. Thank you for letting God use you. I seriously couldn\’t walk this path without you helping me. Deb 🙂

  3. Michal Ann Says:

    This story arrived in today\’s email.

    God\’s Wings

    After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park , forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno\’s damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother\’s wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. Then the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast…because she had been willing to die, so those under the cover of her wings would live.

    \”He will cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you will find refuge.\”

    Psalm 91:4

  4. Tamie Says:

    Amen Christina. Amen.

  5. Beatrice C. Parker Says:

    Hi Christina,

    What a nice coincidence that you saw such beauty and insigt in watching God\’s creatures. Crying is always okay. I think it helps to relieve those tensions that build with time. Happy Mother\’s Day.

  6. Michal Ann Says:

    \”He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge.\” Psalm 91:4

  7. Darlene Says:

    I wish I could protect all the children in the world from harms way,even tho I don\’t have any of my own, I love them all just the same. Happy Mothers Day,Christine. Beautiful pictures and many hugs.

  8. Teri Gundlach Says:

    Dear Christina, what a beautiful and heart wrenching message. I was just talking with Cindy Christeson and talking about how hard Mother\’s Day is. I feel so deeply for you both. I loved the picture of the mother and babies and they reminded me of one of my favorite verses in Psalm 91:4 \”He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.\” It is so hard not to have your children here, but there is comfort in knowing they are under God\’s wings in a much more physical sense than we experience. Praying for your day tomorrow.
    Love Teri

  9. Angie Green Says:

    Precious Christina – \”beauty from ashes\” are your writings – out of your heartache comes such beauty in words and deeds. I\’m going to share this blog with Mothers Like Me and I\’m hoping and praying that you will feel Jesus and Jud\’s arms of love wrapped around you today. Love, Angie

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