A phase of motherhood I was never prepared to experience is how quickly I would become sort of a spectator –or that I would become a spectator at all. I just guess I thought I’d always be the mother. The mother-mother. I didn’t even see the spectator-mother signs coming. When the oldest of the two trainer children began to court his wife, I think I was still so wrapped up in the childbearing phase of motherhood that I didn’t even see it coming. I didn’t see the “game over” light flashing in front of me. I just thought of it as another phase of motherhood—and it was, but the way I saw it was that I’d still have some integral part or something. I guess I sort of missed that flashing light and now, years later, am really seeing how over it is when it’s over.
There are no second chances in motherhood. O, we may feel as though we have more chances because we have another child or ten, but with each one there is only one go-around and then the ride stops and you get off and they keep going. You just spent your ticket with that one. The ride’s over. O, sure, there’s another ride that you can get a ticket for ― that ride’s for the spectator-mothers.
Just like you can’t really know how the way is going to go in the early phase of motherhood, you can’t really know how the spectator phase goes until you get onboard and take the ride. There’s no guarantee that you’ll enjoy the ride or that you’ll find fulfillment or satisfaction or even that you’ll have a long ride. But, in reality, you do have a choice how you’ll react to or experience the ride. Just like in the earlier phase of motherhood… that earlier childbearing phase, you didn’t have an exact plan or program for how it would go. You did and do have the Word of God, so you, in a sense, had a “rule-book” or a “guide book” but as far as a specific description of how your days would go, you didn’t know. You won’t know as a spectator, either. Difference is, that when you were “the mother,” you had a whole lot more control and it was largely up to you to order the days. Now, as a spectator, there’s very little of that –if any at all.
As a spectator mother, there’s a lot of waiting… waiting for “children” to return home, waiting for children to get back test results, job offers, marriage proposals, acceptance… schools, jobs, houses, ministry positions… And there’s the waiting for what the LORD’s going to do in and through them —how He’ll use them for His glory. Sometimes we get the opportunity to see that while we’re still in the active mothering phase — but most likely not. Most likely all those things will happen in the spectator phase. That’s where we see faith. The surest revelation of faith is when the rubber meets the road.