” Can a woman forget her nursing child,
and not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget
Isa 49:15-16 

Sometimes the marvel of motherhood goes awry. As with this little one.



Yet marvel it is, the mom phenomenon!

I think how we gaped awe-struck at goats birthing kids, then nudging their shaky-legged wobbling toward nourishment, as they cleaned up their helpless offspring.

I think how my own breath caught at even grandmother instinct, suddenly summoned by one sonogram of little girl kicking, kicking already, within warm womb. It startled me, that reflex, I’d known so little how it could surge, till it locked my heart to her for life! And oh, the first time I held her baby warmth close and soothed with swaying and back-massaging, and ceased the crying with calm… Melted together, we seemed.

But that so-real built-in mechanism, Creator-made, came clear more quickly for me in grandmother mode than mom-hood. Things—disturbing, distracting, destructive things—can get themselves in the way.

Like with the wee wooly.




The shepherd tried to point her from searching the pasture in all wrong directions, back toward her calling mother, mother stretching out her head searching, even as she birthed and nurtured her second-born.

But such slight human scent, where hand had touched a small wooly shoulder, plunged Mama Ewe into reject mode. Sniffing at her babe finally toddling near, she sent it reeling with sudden head-butt, flipping it away, away. “You’re not mine!” the gesture shouted.

She repeated it a moment later—leaving right there, in her presence, her lost and lonely little lamb, even amid the unfilled longing in her own sheep heart.


It happens to people moms, too, sometimes, that foreign scent—of fear or illness, depression or guilt. Or disorienting stupor—from some addiction or captivating sin or the world’s deceptions, so dearly bought.

For me what nearly ruined motherhood (though—thank God—never sent me into reject mode) was overwhelming angst, and deep depression birthed from that.

After the long prayed-for wonder of that boy-child in my arms,  my world crashed down and all around. The shock of debt I hadn’t known about. The alcohol trap that had fed it. The fear of future. They plunged me into a pit from which woe-weighted limbs cannot make an easy climb. Though it was the child that kept the mother living, the mom phenomenon still working in the numbness, she was barely doing, and for a while not much mom at all…

For some it’s for more than just a while. This world’s ills and deceptions can inject such toxins into the mother mind, they make a non-mother out of a mom. 

Maybe you or someone you know has, or had, such a crippled mom. Maybe you’ve been one. Maybe Mother’s Day is a great bleeding hurt, year after year. Maybe you feel like the rejected lamb.

“But…” says the rest of the Isaiah statement, from God Himself…

I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.”

So the psalmist sang:

“When my father and my mother forsake me,
then the LORD will take me up” 
Psalm 27:10

IMG_7711_3IMG_7689_2 IMG_7701




The shepherd took up the little lamb. And fed it, and covered its shaking with care and a coat. And when it came in, all of one day old, to pay our hand-spinning guild a visit, and made a puddle on her brand new floor, she only wiped up the mess, rejoicing at this sign of healthy digestion, sign that the lamb would survive, could thrive.

Picture of our Shepherd, greatest Shepherd of Love. Love even stronger than any mother’s. Love even stronger than death.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
and not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget.
Yet I will not forget you.
Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.”
Isaiah 45:15-16.
“When my father and my mother forsake me,
then the LORD will take me up.”
Psalm 27:10
“He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arms,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.”
Isaiah 40:11 



Just had to add in this photo, found on son’s Twitter. Evidence of the Great Shepherd’s gracious deliverance. No taint of angst here, is there? (Just a firm grip on the young one to prevent his escaping into the animal pens!)

Picture 1

God is so good.


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13 thoughts on “When Motherhood Goes Awry

  1. Awesome post and picture. It is the strength of God in us that loves and doesn’t reject… even in a fallen world. Good job, mom… and happy late Mother’s Day!

  2. I’ve always loved lambs and, of course, the imagery that Christ used to describe His followers too. So I love the pictures and the story you weave here with insights that encourage and remind us of the great Shepherd who is always there for us, even when our mothers or anyone for that matter rejects us. Just beautiful, Sylvia! Thanks!

  3. <3 wonderful way to pull experiences past and present together to share the love of our Shepherd…love the picture of you and David at the end–beautiful!

  4. Thanks, Floyd, and yes, that’s it–His strength, His grace. And so the mom knows Who should get the credit.

  5. Hi Beth. Glad this blessed you. (What a sweetie that lamb is! I got to hold her, while she dozed right off to sleep in my arms. Wonderful!) This was yet another life parable, like many God’s been giving me lately, reminding me how rejection (from anyone) is so often easier to handle if we can see the cause at the root of it deep in the rejecter.

  6. Thanks, Laurie. It was so good to see you there, with your own little grand-lamb, snug on your lap!

  7. “Maybe Mother’s Day is a great bleeding hurt, year after year. Maybe you feel like the rejected lamb.”

    Tis me, Sylvia. Thanks for the Scriptures that reminded me I have been adopted into the Family of God.

  8. I love that photo, Sylvia! what a gorgeous lady you are. And your little lamb is a doll. Yes, Mother’s Day can be hard for many of us. I’m still figuring out all that angst too. But I’m so grateful I have a Parent who is faithful and true and who forgives me when I am less than the perfect mother. Happy belated mom’s day to you, friend.

  9. (Gulp!) Dawn, I get it.
    I would never have known. But then we don’t know, do we? Don’t know all the aches in the hidden hearts in those pews on those difficult Mother’s Day mornings? I know women who made it a practice to skip church that day. I’ve been one of them myself. Oh, how good to know the love of the Father—and the Son. And maybe the hurts and disappointments of this life just make our awareness of His deep, constant love that much stronger. Blessings to you, dear sister.

  10. Yes, Laura, it always comes down to that, doesn’t it? How often I’ve leaned hard on that constant! How often I prayed, “Lord, please make them grow up right despite me!” His grace has overruled so many (countless!) times. Happy belated Mom’s Day back!
    (PS As for the picture, that was then. Things do change. 😉 Glad God doesn’t!)

  11. And thanks to you, Nancy, for visiting and commenting. Good to “see” you again!

  12. So sweet and puzzled how a mama could reject such a tiny lamb – – but we see it every day. There are times when our loved ones cause us pain, and although we do not reject them, we do not always approve of their behavior – – just thinking that our God loves us, and he may not approve of us at times.
    Yet he is willing to pick us up in His loving arms and cuddle us when we are sad. Thank you for sharing this lovely post at “Tell Me a Story.”

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