“Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away. So, he said to his mother, “I am running away.”
“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.”

These are the first lines of the children’s nursery book, Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown. I love this book, and I have read it many times to every one of our grandchildren! A little bunny tells his mother all of the different ways he would try to run away from her. He creates several different scenarios, like how he would become a fish and swim away:

“If you run after me,” said the little bunny, “I will become a fish in a trout stream and I will swim away from you.”

The mama bunny responds to this bold proclamation by saying,“If you become a fish in a trout stream,
I will become a fisherman and I will fish for you.”

The little bunny goes on saying he will become a bird and fly away, or a little sailboat and sail away—and if those don’t work, well he’s just going to run away and join the circus! Surely that will silence his mama, the little bunny thought to himself.

How do you think his mother responded? Time after time, she shares the same relentless promise to pursue and find him. Why? Because that’s what mamas do! That’s what love does.

“If you become a rock on the mountain high above me,” said his mother, “I will become a mountain climber, and I will climb to where you are.”

Over and over the story repeats,“If you do this, I will…” “If you go there, I will…”

Did Margaret Wise Brown capture the love of a mama, or what? This kind of love is necessary and relentless!

Some of us may find ourselves as empty nesters today, but just because our children are grown, doesn’t mean our days of running after children or guiding young ones toward maturity should ever be over.

I want to write to cheer on the mothers who are willing to run!

Here’s to all the women who desire to be godly mothers.
  • To girls who daydream of having a child one day.
  • To the wives who haven’t been able to conceive.
  • To ones who gave a child up for adoption, or lost a baby in miscarriage.
  • To the mothers who have loved a child and had to grieve the loss of a child.
  • To the mothers of prodigals, whose hearts are broken over their children.
  • To the mamas who love their kids: little ones and older ones, toddlers and teenagers.
  • To the mothers and grandmothers who have and will faithfully continue to nurture and teach the word of God by their words and works.

Let’s not lose sight of this: all girls can mature to become godly “spiritual” mothers to someone who needs a mother. And unlike biological motherhood, spiritual motherhood isn’t ever limited by age, the size of your bank account, or the number of bedrooms in your house. It holds the potential for hundreds, even thousands, of descendants! How amazing is that?

Every one of us who are mature in the faith, regardless of our marital status or whether we ever bear children physically, can and should rise up as mothers in the church. A motherless home is not the only tragedy—a motherless church can be as well!

Why not lend a hand in the youth ministry alongside the pastors, to help disciple young women? Could you volunteer to hold other women’s babies in the nursery or children’s ministry, so moms can enjoy a worship service? Maybe you would be willing to take a foster child into your home. Have you experienced comfort after a great loss—could you hold the hand of another grieving mother? Are you willing to lend a hand to a weary young mom and watch her children for the afternoon so she can have a break? Would you be willing to serve in the follow-up ministry and pray for other women’s prodigals who have come home?

It is so easy for us to underestimate the need in the church for mothers that we may look right past the ones who need nurture and guidance and help the most. Hello, conviction!

Who might be sitting in the seat right next to you—that needs the hard-earned wisdom you have gained? More times than not, people are longing to be poured into—to hear someone say, “Yep, been there…done that!”

Never underestimate the power of your life lessons; they may be the very thing God will use to help someone else!

Here is an amazing statement by our Lord: “Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50). Wow, did you hear that? There can be no barrenness in the life of a believing woman. By God’s grace, we all can “bear fruit and multiply” and fill the earth.

One day, when the Lord was passing by and the crowds were following Him, a woman cried out, “Blessed is the womb that bore you!” But the Lord did not want the people to seek happiness in a purely physical relationship; He replied, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Luke 11:27–28).

The greatness of Mary’s life wasn’t just that she carried the Son of God, although we all know what an unbelievable honor that was. It was the fact that she was an obedient disciple. Her words as a young teenager, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord,” were words that expressed her willingness to step into the greatest privilege a woman ever had. She was willing to follow God however He saw fit.

May this be said of us all! Let’s strive wholeheartedly to follow Mary’s example of obedience, and take hold of our opportunities to be mothers in our homes and in the church.

Every woman can fulfill that most basic calling of motherhood: to nurture the helpless and weak to maturity and strength. Like the mother of a newborn baby, are you willing to allow your schedule and personal needs to be inconvenienced for the sake of caring for the spiritually young and vulnerable? We all make time for what matters most to us in life. Obedience is a choice; it’s a daily decision to die to self and live for Christ.

Don’t underestimate the need out there for mothers in the church—or question your ability to meet it. You can chase after those “runaway bunnies,” eagerly searching for whom the Lord would have you to nurture. Love doesn’t have to be complicated; it just has to be intentional. Make a phone call. Pick up a cup of coffee for that new mama. Sit down with the teenager in the youth group who seems to be searching and “misunderstood.” Small acts of obedience can and will lead to big, powerful impact!

Being a mother isn’t easy. (Can I get an amen?) But oh, how we know it is so worth it. Don’t ever question your usefulness and value to the household of God. If you are intentional about serving others, there will never be a time in your life when you will be an empty-nester.

Blessed are you who do the will of the Father in Heaven—you are mothers who run!