catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 8, Num 21 :: 2009.10.30 — 2009.11.12


A mother’s manifesto?

Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.
Isaiah 8:18

I am glad that God wrote a book and not a manifesto. The second letter to the Corinthians says, “You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (3:2-3).  God manifests himself in the community by writing on us.  Some days I can read what He says and enjoy it, while other days, I’m still baffled.

I have often contemplated Isaiah’s confession of faith in chapter 8 as a manifesto of motherhood. Most of the time my thoughts are querying God: “What have you begotten here?”

Isaiah’s kids had goofy names.  The first is introduced to us in Isaiah 7:3: “Then God told Isaiah, ‘Go and meet Ahaz. Take your son Shear-jashub (A-Remnant-Will-Return) with you.’” The second one got a four-part name before he was even conceived: "Then God told me, "Get a big sheet of paper and write in indelible ink, ‘This belongs to Maher-shalal-hash-baz (Spoil-Speeds-Plunder-Hurries).’ I got two honest men, Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah, to witness the document. Then I went home to my wife, the prophetess. She conceived and gave birth to a son. God told me, “Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz” (Isaiah 8:1-3, The Message).  The commentaries say that these boys represent both hope and warning.

My kids were the ones of clean, but stain-embedded shirts and mis-matched socks.  If Isaiah’s brood were symbols from the Lord Almighty, mine were symbols of partially redeemed ragamuffins.

In his song “Home,” Michael Card speaks of what I’m trying to manifest in my place in God’s kingdom as a mother, imperfect as my efforts may be: “In the parable of our lives nothing speaks more clearly of the reality of heaven than home.  When we first open our eyes to that bright place our first thought will no doubt be, ‘This is like home!’”

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