I know a lot of different kind of mothers. Some are sweet, cookie-baking, school fund-raising, parent of the year volunteer types. Some are working more than one job, playing two parent role types. Some are stay-at-home moms who work a million jobs in a day and never earn a dime, and rarely recognition. Some are moms to children they didn’t physically give birth to, but you’d never know they weren’t their own. Some moms that I know don’t believe in spanking their kids, and other moms I know make their kids toe the line with a single look, because their disciplary measures are swift and effective. I know homeschooling moms, teacher moms, banker moms, nurse moms, secretary moms, and doctor moms. I know first-time moms and moms of multiples.

But as different or similar as we may be, the thread that connects us is a simple, yet miraculous gift.

I know women who don’t have any children of their own, but they are still mothers. Because someone or something, somewhere, has experienced a maternal-like love from them in some way.

That is the gift I’m talking about. Women in general have God-given maternal instincts whether they realize it or not. It is the capacity to love greater than ourselves. To give more than we receive. To pour our souls into other human beings. I think it’s a quality that’s very unique to our gender.

My priest talked about that kind of love today in her sermon and how, whether people want to admit it or realize it or not, this gift, this instinct, is exactly how God wants us to love not only our children, but all of humanity. This nurturing spirit is considered culturally “feminine”, but it comes from God –  a Being that we often only associate in our limited understanding with masculine qualities. I don’t discount a Father’s love. My dad is a loving and nurturing man, but the type of love I write about here – this gift of selfless, unconditional love – it’s something that I see almost exclusively in women.

In thinking of what it takes to bring a child into this world, the dependency that child has on its mother for life: this is a sacrificial love like no other….except the kind of love God has poured out through His sacrifice of Christ. It is this tie to our Creator and each other that binds us together in this crazy and beautiful mystery called “motherhood”. So to all my beautiful mom friends, know that I love you, I know you’re giving it all you have to those little souls in your care and keeping, and I am thankful to have you by my side on this journey.