By Danetta Kellar
According to the dictionary, a pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred place. Whether you are a mother who only held your child briefly in your womb, a mother who has outlived her children, a mother who is striving alone to raise children in a frightening world, this journey is sacred, holy.
We find in Psalm 84 a map for the pilgrimage of motherhood. Upon close examination, we discover that it makes a large circle. Its beginning and end are the same, and one finds herself embarking on this journey from the same place to which she hopes to return at the journey’s end.
The pilgrimage of motherhood is all about Trust. Trusting the Lord, dwelling with Him. He is the beginning and end of our sojourn.
A Nest Near Your Altar
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God. (v. 3)
The sparrows know a secret. As mothers we must nest closely to the Father’s side. In the shadow of His altar, we are ever-dependent on Him for daily wisdom and guidance as we nurture our children.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. (v. 4)
As mothers, we have a unique vantage point. We are privy to the daily victories in the lives of our children. We see the challenges that lay them low, and we hold them up as they work to overcome. We rejoice in triumphs unseen by others. We celebrate the small miracles of baby toes and the way a teenager grows more confident the first day he drives a car. We bask in the sweet prayers of a little girl asking for her sunflowers to grow. Surely the heart of a mother has reason above all others to be ever praising God for His marvelous works in the lives of children.
Hearts Set on Pilgrimage
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. (v. 5)
As mothers we daily remember the destination, the goal. We are the GPS of the home, referring to the map, reminding everyone where we are headed. We are leading our children to God, to the dwelling place for their souls. We call them ever higher and together we make the climb upward and onward.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca (Weeping), they make it a place of springs…” (v. 6)
We weep, oh how we weep! We weep tears of joy and sorrow, fear and hope. The love we have been given for these dear ones is so poignant we would die for them. We stand in the gap between our children and the enemy of their souls, interceding for their very lives and futures. The Lord, our dwelling place, makes those tears into places of springs, places of blessing to nourish others who come behind us. He never wastes the outpouring of our mother hearts.
Strength to Strength
They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. (v. 7)
The strength of a mother is an extraordinary mystery. She has been given a special ability to rise again, and again, going from strength to strength through the journey of mothering. Through sorrow, challenge, and the dark nights of the unknown, she strengthens herself once again in her God.
Blessed is the One who Trusts in You
O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you. (v. 12)
And here we find our final destination, the place from which motherhood begins, the place where it finds its destination. There is no other place to dwell, really. O Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.
The pilgrimage of motherhood is a journey of trust. We climb higher into the arms of God, carrying our children, entrusting them to Him again, and again. From strength to strength we press forward, keeping the goal in mind. The goal is Himself, the Lord Almighty, the only dwelling place for our souls and the souls of our children.
Where do you find yourself on this journey today?