“We have found a way to be OK,” she told me.  Being mom to more than the average two children per family is challenging enough. But when doctors diagnosed one of hers with a lifestyle-disrupting, chronic illness, the urgency of the moment was overwhelming. I was interviewing a mom who is learning to trust God with her children. It’s a daily renewal in faith that God’s purposes will prevail, regardless of the circumstances.

The expectations mothers face are daunting. She’s supposed to secure the best care and future success for her child. She must make the “right” decision about employment. Should she align her mothering with that of her peers, her own mother’s generation, or neither? She is expected to balance the needs of the individual child, her whole family, her workplace, and herself. No wonder mothers are tempted to feel overwhelmed to the point of failure.

It was infertility that screamed “failure!” to another young woman. Hannah’s husband was loving and sympathetic. Their only option was to pray and trust God. They finally did conceive, and she bore a son named Samuel. While he was still a toddler, to fulfill a vow she took him to begin his education under Eli the priest. Thenceforth, she only saw the lad on occasion. She trusted in the providence of God saying, “The Lord is a God of knowledge. The pillars of the earth are the Lord’s and He set the world on them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth” (1 Sam. 2). What became of her son was in God’s hands.

That may be the most difficult task of a mother – letting go. The mother I interviewed had thought about that. With her children still at home, she realizes the time is coming when they will leave to find their own way. They will choose educational and/or career paths and make relationship choices. “I need God to give me the courage and confidence,” she admitted, “to trust Him with my kids’ futures.” Like Hannah, she knows what becomes of her children is in God’s hands. But she might need a supportive reminder at the right moment.

Turning the conversation toward others, she voiced her desire for young mothers to know they are not alone. “There’s always someone to talk to, to share burdens, to pray for you – someone who’s been there.” There is that maternal instinct again, offering to come along beside someone who may be isolated and lonely.

That maternal instinct is a reflection of God’s nature. A mother is at her best when she is most like God: loving, sacrificial, and trustworthy. To thank a mother for being like that hardly seems enough, but it doesn’t hurt to say it again. We see you, mother, and we thank you!