It is right to honor Moms today. To thank them for giving life and selfless service. To extol their virtues of patience and compassion. To celebrate their hearts and lives and legacies.
And I do. I am eternally grateful that God gave me the greatest Mom in the world (my apologies to the rest of you, but it's true). I applaud the other Moms I know - some of the REAL heroes that exist. Single Moms, Moms of special needs kids. Moms whose greatest treasures shone on Earth for only a brief time. Moms whose hubby sacrifices personal comfort to serve our country. Moms who lay down their lives every day to love their families, bravely and cheerfully smile, withstand the onslaught of life's challenges, and then get up to do it all over again.
Yes, Happiest of Mother's Day to all the Moms I know. May God bless you and honor you and sustain you.
But that's not the subject of this post.
Instead of honoring Moms for their awesomeness, I want to challenge women - all women - to walk worthy.
Whether you are lucky enough to answer (about a thousand times a day) to the call of "Mom!" or whether you are the "go to" for the friends in your life or whether you are the spiritual caregiver for some souls ... women have the opportunity to make a profound impact. Seriously, a profound impact.
And I'd like to call us all to meet the challenge nobly.
Instead of falling prey to three pitfalls we often see:
1. The Suffering Servant - I was well into my 5th year of Motherhood before I encountered this malady. Seriously. I guess I was unusually lucky -- I never observed this in my own Mom nor any of the women I was hanging with. And I was so thankful and happy to be a Mommy and that I got to stay home with my two kids that this mindset was not on my radar. I still remember my first exposure to this toxicity - as Mother's Day approached, one of my neighbors caustically declared that on Mother's Day, all she wanted was to be left alone. She demanded that her husband answer every question, meet every request for juice, change every diaper and let her spend the entire day reading the paper. She justified herself with this demand because she "had to do this every day all day long" and she "deserved a day off".
I will never forget how I felt hearing that. My face probably registered my shock and I was at a loss for words. This was honestly a foreign concept to me. Naive, maybe, but none of the Moms in my life had ever expressed that sentiment.
Unfortunately, her viewpoint planted a seed in my heart (and, to be fair, if it hadn't been that woman, no doubt I would have encountered it somewhere! I consider myself fortunate to have avoided it as long as I did!). Similar thoughts began to creep into my head - All I do is give, give, give. I deserve to have a break. When is there gonna be time for me??
Girlfriends, if we want to impact the world - and if we want to be authentically happy - we can't see our role of service as "suffering". We cannot deceive ourselves with the thought that we deserve a break and it's up to those around us to give it to us. Instead, we must embrace the privilege of serving as Jesus did. He came to serve - not to be served. And He did so, willingly, gladly, lovingly.
2. The Martyr Mindset - we all know this one. It might sound a little different from one house to the next but it's pretty much the same tune. "This is hard. I am so tired. I have not taken a shower or eaten a decent meal in days. Nor had a decent night's sleep in months. " etc etc etc
This attitude bothers me the most - I mean, after all, aren't these YOUR kids? YOUR family? YOUR friends? Are you being held at gunpoint to live this life? Do you really "need" all the breaks you think you do???? And why do you want so many breaks from them anyway????
Get over yourself!
And get into the BLESSING and privilege of what you get to do! And get yo' self happy, sister!
This is gonna get some pushback but I am gonna say it anyway - I don't recall hearing Dads have this mindset nearly as often as Moms. But I do see them get beat over the heads to give poor Mom a break.... Just had to get that off my chest...
If we persist in acting like martyrs, the only impact we are going to have is to convince lots of yet-to-be Mommies right out of Motherhood!!!
The last pitfall I see us women prone to land in is one that no one had to introduce me to. I found it all on my own. Maybe you did, too.
3. The Comparison Complication - Whether it's noticing someone else's home or their well behaved kids, or the fact they are lucky enough to have a husband and kids (!!), it is so easy to compare our life to someone else's.
And that is where we complicate our lives! Unnecessarily!!
It's true that someone else's situation (their belongings or their people or their status) may look preferable. But there are two things to know about that - One, we don't know their whole story. What looks great and wonderful from your viewpoint, might very well have painful thorns and briars if you were to get close enough to see. And two, God is the giver of all good gifts. And if He has not seen fit to give some particular gift to you, well, read Psalm 84:11. And realize that, for those in Christ, if He hasn't given it to you, then it wouldn't be a good gift. It might look like a good gift. It might seem like a good gift. But if He has withheld it from you, it is not a good gift. Period. Trust Him.
When we compare our lives to others, things truly do get complicated. We miss out on the joy God has for us. And we place a strain on the relationship with the "compar-ee". Have you ever thought about that? Most of the time, those we find ourselves as "less than", sense it. And, boy, does it complicate things! The other person often feels it necessary to distance themselves from us because they just don't like the strain. And then we feel hurt and act accordingly. Mercy! The complication continues!
Learn to be content. Instead of allowing yourself to compare. Not only will your relationships improve, but you'll have LOTS more fun!
So, girlfriends, I do wish us all Happy Mother's Day.
But instead of a day filled us self-serving gestures, I challenge us to walk worthy of our calling. The greatest and highest calling in the world.
Wouldn't that make our Mamas proud????
Bless you all.