“Offer it up” was a phrase I heard quite often growing up, mostly from my mom who learned it from her mom. It’s a common phrase used by moms, and not just because it’s a good way to quiet a whiny child. Mothers certainly know what it means to “offer it up”. They offer up their bodies as vessels to bring new life into the world, and then they continue to offer up sacrifices big and small day in and day out for the rest of their children’s lives.

I think of my own mom and all she did to bring all eight of us into the world. It required sacrifice from the very beginning when she was sick for months on end and rather than wallow in the misery of morning sickness, chose to offer it back to God as a gift and means of sanctification so that she could get on with taking care of the rest of us. Then I think of all the meals she made, the driving to and fro, the keeping everyone clean and fed and organized and happy. Even now when all her children are adults, many with children of their own, she remains the heart of the family, bearing everyone’s burdens and continuing to offer up sacrifices to ensure her children’s happiness and most importantly, their holiness. I think of my grandmother, as well, and how even in her old age, her primary concern has been to ensure her fifteen children and now hundreds of grandchildren and great grandchildren make it to heaven.

As soon as you become a mother, from the very first moment, you have no choice but to “offer it up” as you offer your body and physical comfort so that your baby can grow. Of course great sacrifice is required of both mothers and fathers, but for mothers, that sacrifice begins the moment that little soul comes into existence at conception. This is an incredible privilege as well as a sacrifice, as God chooses to use mothers most especially as co-creators of new life.

I have only been a mom myself for a short time, to two little souls in heaven who I’ve yet to meet and to one that has been entrusted to me to raise on earth. I only had a few short weeks with my first two babies, and even in that time I was given the opportunity to offer up my sorrows and sufferings for them as a way to love them despite never seeing their faces or holding them in my arms. Then with my daughter, I was given nine long months to offer up physical comfort as I suffered through morning sickness, grateful that my sickness was a sign she was growing and healthy. I have already had countless opportunities to “offer it up” as a mother, both for my own sanctification and that of my children. It’s a tremendous gift to have these opportunities and I know there will be countless more. “Offer it up” is truly the mantra of motherhood, and what a joy that offering up is.