I realized that if you take a few of the "major" gifts (teaching, exhortation, hospitality) and join them with some fruits of the Spirit (love, patience, gentleness) as well as some plain old positive character traits (sense of humor, perseverence) you come up with a slam-bang character trait that, despite its super-power like abilities, seems to be disappearing from the modern world we live in.
For lack of a better word, I call this gift the Gift of Mothering. I don't know that that is the best name for it, because not all the children we are "mothering" are actually ours, but it's the best name I could come up with.
The Gift of Mothering is the the gift of being able to spend all day with 5 (or 6, or 8, or more!) kids and still have your sanity intact. It is the gift of being able to not only make it through that day, but to enjoy it. It is the gift of making cookies with the help of a dozen little hands, and not caring one bit that there's flour all over the kitchen cabinets and the floor and in your hair because you love sharing that time and experience with those kids.
The Gift of Mothering is the ability to stand back and let a child wash the dishes or fold the clothes, knowing full well that they are not doing it as well as you could but taking joy in the fact that they are learning to do something for themselves.
The Gift of Mothering is the ability to let everyone else's kids sleep at your house, play in your yard, eat your food and drink your Kool-Aid, and never begrudge one messy moment of it.
Women with the Gift of Mothering love opening their hearts and homes to their own children and to the children of friends, family, and sometimes even strangers, giving their time and energy to those children for the purpose of loving, encouraging, and teaching them.
The Gift of Mothering is often overlooked, or, worse, looked down upon in today's society. But we would all do well to remember that it is actually one of the most important and crucial gifts in the world. Without good mothers (our own or ones who take us in), just imagine what the world would be like.
If you have that gift (as I suspect most of you reading this blog do), be thankful for it. Know that through that gift you are a blessing to a huge number of people and to the world in general. If you do not have that gift, be thankful for the women you know who do.
A builder builded a temple.
He wrought it with grace and skill;
Pillars and groins and arches
All fashioned to work his will.
Men said, as they saw its beauty,
'It shall never know decay.
Great is thy skill, O Builder!
Thy fame shall endure for aye.'
A mother builded a temple
With loving and infinite care,
Planning each arch with patience,
Laying each stone with prayer.
None praised her unceasing efforts.
None knew of her wondrous plan,
For the temple the mother builded
Was unseen by the eyes of man.
Gone is the builder's temple,
Crumbled into the dust.
Low lies each stately pillar,
Food for consuming rust.
But the temple the mother builded
Will last while the ages roll,
For that beautiful unseen temple
Was a child's immortal soul.