For thousands of years, civilizations have raised children.  Local communities shared the burden of birthing, nurturing, disciplining, and preparing their offspring for adulthood.  Generations learned from one another, wept, and rejoiced together.  It was unthinkable to tackle such a daunting endeavor alone.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Although we may live hundreds of miles from our relatives, and our packed schedules curtail relationship with those in our neighborhood, we still need each other.  Wisdom, experience, perspective, and encouragement from others serve as critically-needed oxygen to feed the heart of parenting.

This Mother’s Day week, I have the great honor of introducing some of my friends to you.  Each woman’s perspective, voice, and family, is distinctively different from the others.  Yet each individual story has been spun from the heart of the same Great Storyteller. My hope is that you will be encouraged.  That the burden of birthing, nurturing, disciplining, and preparing children for adulthood will be lightened.  Even if only through affirmation that no, you are not alone.

Mothers have the great privilege of ushering life into this world, and of sustaining and nurturing it.  Many of you have never given birth to children.  Yet you bring life and enrichment to your friends, neighbors, extended family members, and those in your community.  The truths these friends will be sharing are equally applicable to you.

Men, I’d encourage you to take the time and read the posts as well.  Each offers a glimpse of the Father.  Of his love and provision.  Of the gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) ways in which he breathes life into his children, and prepares them for their great inheritance.  As you read, if a particular piece brings someone to mind, please share generously.  The words penned are the currency of the Kingdom, and when shared, will suffice as a meaningful gift to the receiver.

Each day this week, I’ll be sharing a new post from a different writer.  Take time to explore their sites.  If you’re touched, let them know.  Your words will be an encouragement to them.

To my friends, thank you for inspiring me (and others) as we navigate the journey before us.  We need each other.

It takes a village.

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