A Mother's Journey
Today we celebrate Mother's Day. The day greeting card manufacturers and local florists make out like bandits. It's also a day when eager young offspring present their moms with crudely-made cards and tissue paper crafts. To be honest, part of me has truly dreaded what the kids' Sunday school teachers are going to come up with for crafts today. "Great... here's something that I really can't use but I can't throw it away and it's too bulky to put in the scrap book. I'm thrilled. Thanks." Yeah, it happens every year.
This is my sixth Mother's Day. The first few were exciting. I was a new Mom with a sweet little pink bundle of joy to show off at church. Soon that little pink bundle started toddling along next to me and "helping" me with the new little blue bundle that found its way to my arms. Then, without warning, those little bundles didn't seem so joyful anymore. In fact, they began looking more like everpresent puddles of trouble. What had happened?
I can't say what, exactly, made me change. There was no event that stole my joy. No life-altering accident. No loss. No person to blame. No thing at all. But SOMETHING had changed. I no longer saw my place in the family as the honor that it is to be a parent... I saw myself trapped... like a prisoner in a cage. And the only way out was to do the 18 years of hard time. Pretty hopeless.
But then God spoke to me. Well, He didn't use His own voice; He borrowed one. It was then that I realized what had been stealing my joy... Me! See, I had these dreams and ambitions that were suddenly shoved to the back burner as soon as I had two new priorities nipping at my heels. For a little while these new "things" were fulfilling and fun. But then I started to notice that all of my own plans and ideas were put on hold. It seemed that I just couldn't do anything in between the nap schedules and dirty laundry and unceasing needs that these miniature people presented.
And that was when I let bitterness take root in my life. "I could do that important thing if only I didn't have to get home for naps!" "I could go there if only I didn't have to figure out childcare." "I could really BE something if only I didn't have THEM!!!" Those unfulfilled dreams were so big to me, I couldn't see anything else. And since I couldn't reach them, I felt like a failure.
So God had to get my attention. One particularly troubling evening after the nightly bedtime preschool power struggle, I found myself escaping for some fresh air and, on the way out, unwittingly grabbing a CD that had been loaned to me by a friend. "You'll really like this," she claimed. So I sat in my minivan nursing some comfort food and listening as the speaker told a familiar story. Then he said something that would rock my little self-centered world forever. "Why does God want us to let go of our dreams? Because anything you are unwilling to let go of is an idol and you are in sin."
He went on, "The most important thing is not the work I can do for God. The most important thing is to make God the most important thing."
The tears poured as God revealed His truth to me. My ambitions were the idols that were interrupting my relationship with family and, more importantly, my relationship with God. No one had done anything to me... it was all my doing. That hurt. It really hurt. Like when Mom had to clean out a dirty, crusty skinned knee to get all the little pieces of asphalt out and spray the Bactine in there... it's painful, but necessary.
So, I've been identifying and confessing all of those things that had become idols. I've been starting each day in His Word and in prayer just waiting on Him. I've been throwing out MY plans and focusing on His plans for me. And you know what? Bein' a mom isn't so bad! As a matter of fact, I'm doin' just what He wants me to do... and that is so rewarding!
Today when my kids bring me the cards they've "written" and the crafts they've made, you know, I don't think I'll be able to see the drippy glue and marker-stained hands through my tears. I am so grateful that God has helped me to see where I need to be... right here. I'm a mom. And I'm glad to be "Mommy".