Happy Mother’s Day… For most of us, those words feel so good to say to our moms or to other women whom we respect and admire. But why, for so many of us, do those words conjure up feelings of guilt or inadequacy? We look at our children and view them as beautiful gifts. They may be annoying and selfish little beasts at times, but we can easily block out the irritations and frustrations and see them as cherubs dropped directly from the hand of God. We see past their whines and flaws, affording them abounding grace, intent on remembering their smiles, giggles, and successes. So, why don’t we grant ourselves a sliver of that same charity and allow our hearts to completely relish the joy of being loved and appreciated, even for just one day a year? Why do we look at our children and often feel sorry that they must endure us and our mistakes?
The reasons for feelings of inadequacy are endless, with as many varying and unique rationales as there are mothers. Yet they all point back to one thing, as specific, longstanding, and maternal as Eve herself ~ expectations that are outside of God’s directions, followed by our futile attempts to meet those expectations in our own strength. You know it’s true! Think about it. Did God give you a command to do the things that you think ought to be done? Or, have you created for yourself a vision of an ideal, perfect mom that you strive to become? Honestly, Mama, that ideal is really just an idol ~ a figment of your imagination, whose picture hangs on the wall of your heart and blocks the beautiful masterpiece that God has in mind. Your personal “Super Mom” definition is nothing more than a leech and a joy sucker.
Is that what God intended for you? Certainly not! Your Father in heaven looks upon you with love, deep affection, and abundant grace. He hand-selected a child, or children, that He wants you to love, nurture and return to Him with open hands. He didn’t just think your children would be a blessing to you, dear Sister. No, He also knows you to be a blessing to these little “chitlins” He chose to put in your care. He created and fully knows the mother’s heart that you carry within. He gave you specific gifts and talents that would compliment the personalities of your kids. I know that doesn’t always seem true, especially in the moments of tantrums, teenage years, or prodigal tragedies, but His plan is perfect. He sees the story from beginning to end. He knows what He is doing, Mama.
Give yourself a Mother’s Day gift this year and cut yourself some slack. Let your Father reveal His plan for your life and your mothering, and let yourself enjoy the ride. Following Christ and allowing God to direct your day is freedom beyond compare. Yes, this will likely mean less doing and more resting in Him and in the moment. Yet this is where the memories are made, Mama, where you will gain access to your child’s heart. You will hear the details of dreams and hopes, fears and tears. These are the gifts of your motherhood AND his/her childhood. These are the times when you will touch your dear one deeply, the way you had hoped to, the first time you saw that sweet face. Will you be remembered for baking five dozen cupcakes for the bake sale? Maybe. But you will definitely be remembered for the day you let her paint your toenails, or the walk when he told you about his first crush.
Children are resilient and full of grace. As long as our mistakes are followed with love and the opportunity for forgiveness, their wide and deep hearts can manage our shortcomings. Don’t read in here that I am suggesting to excuse or wash over abuses; I am talking about the good-willed mom who wants to love well. We all make mistakes and we will all have regrets. Just don’t stay there in the wallow, Sister. Don’t try to salvage your imperfection by trying to attain the impossible. Throw yourself upon the great mercies of the Father, and ask Him to again direct your path. He longs to show you that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He will use you to raise up His children, and through you He will impact them for eternity! Sounds like a huge and impossible responsibility, and it would be on our own. All we are called to do is focus the eyes of our heart on Him and trust Him to do the rest. He is able!
2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (NIV)