It’s Mother’s Day, and I can’t help but think about the women out there who are struggling to conceive. I am heart broken over the miscarriages and still births so many have had to suffer through. My thoughts are on all the women who have hit menopause and watched their dreams of having children disappear. I am reminded of my single girlfriends, who are in their mid-40s and are starting to wonder if they will ever be a mom.

In thinking about all of these situations, God prompted me to ponder on what it means to be a mom. God said in Genesis 9:7 ESV “And you, be fruitful and multiply, teem on the earth and multiply in it.” So being a mom means being fertile. But I am going to put it out there that maybe God wanted to us be women who nurture and mother many. So being “fertile” might not have to merely be about giving birth. I’d like to suggest that God made women to be mothers to all God’s children.

In Genesis 9:1 God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” God said this to men… not to a woman. Noah and his family cared for and nurtured every living creature during the great flood,  making sure the population on earth would not cease. So fast forward this to today and think about how this could apply to a woman who finds herself in a “waiting season” or to the woman who has past her child bearing years.

As I’ve thought about this all weekend, I’ve come to believe all of us are moms. Here are some examples of women in my life that I would qualify as a mom:

• I have a good friend who never had a child, but she deeply cares for and spends countless hours fostering and volunteering in dog rescue groups. She is an amazing mother to many animals who have been abused, abandoned and left for dead. She has saved the life of numerous animals. To me, she is mother!

• I know of a wonderful woman in my church is in her mid-40s and has never been blessed with a child. She is still standing in prayer for the desire of her heart to be fulfilled. But she is a mentor. She opens her heart giving her days to training up the next generation and helping women develop a solid relationship with God. She is a kind, patient, praying woman, and to me, she is a mother!

•  I know of amazing journalism professor who never married. She had spent her life investing in the lives of all her students. She has taught them about the real world. She prepared them for a successful future, and she nurtured the dreams of countless students who wanted to be writers and journalists. She set the bar high and instilled in her class a desire to seek excellence and always celebrated our victories with us. To me, she is a mother! defines a mother used as a noun as one’s female parent.  But as an adjective, mother is defined as being a mother; of, pertaining to, or characteristics of a mother: motherly love; bearing a relation like that of a mother, as in being the origin, source, or protector.

Proverbs 22:6 says to train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. But to me the one thing that is clear is that God never specifically said “your child”.

So if the dictionary acknowledges that someone who has never given birth can be a mom, and even more important, the Bible says to “train up a child,” but never specifically says your own biological child, it stands to reason that a women who cares for animals, children, friends, loved ones or neightbors, could indeed be deemed a mother!

So today, on this Mother’s Day, 2013, I’d like to suggest that we make this holiday about more than a woman’s fertility and celebrate all the mother’s out there that are leaving a legacy by raising up future generations. Happy Mother’s Day.