Proverbs 31:28-31 (NLT)
Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the hardworking, mamas out there celebrating this day. I love being a mom. It is not high paying position. It requires long hours without proper compensation for the time except in the procurement of children that survive our mistakes, stumbles, flops and failures still thinking that we are as close to a superhero as they will ever know. Sacrificing self to graciously care for children who do not know the value of such love yet but will one day – moms give what they have and all they know for the wellbeing of their child. Even those kids that challenge the boundaries of patience and stomp on every nerve are protected by fierce women who will destroy anyone who threatens their precious one. I know that from the moment my first child was born I wanted to be a better person for him. I no longer needed or wanted things that did not benefit him. I wanted to make better choices. I realized early on that this is my purpose to love these people, raise them, teach them, love them no matter what and staunchly defend and protect them into adulthood. More recently, I have learned the heartache of the day that we must let them go to fulfill their purpose in life whatever that may be either loading a bus heading to the Middle East to defend their country, spending endless hours in an infusion room fighting cancer, or getting married and following God’s Call across the country. I am experiencing a bit of empty nest syndrome as I see the future and realize that while my purpose in life is to be a mother that God has other things in mind too.
Motherhood is a selfless act for most who dare to bare a human being. I have two mothers. The one who gave birth to me died last November. We had not seen each other in a number of years only occasionally speaking on the phone or cards/letters here and there. Addiction separated us but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she loved me the best she could every single day of her life. Even in her loss, I could feel the love that was now gone and sad that we could not have been closer. I have another mother who chose to step into that role and be the mom that I never had. She loves me even though she did not give birth to me and has assumed all those qualities and then so. God knew what I needed and provided her to me. Today as a mother thinking about all the other mothers – those we might think are good or even those that did not do such a good job – it is important to see them as people who God loves. Motherhood is not to exchange our identity for another. It is part of our fulfillment process.
“Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her. There are many capable and virtuous women in the world but you surpass them all!” Reading Proverbs 31, I see all the things that I want to be to my family. When I married my husband, this lady became my role model. (I set the bar pretty high.) Truthfully, this is most every mother’s aspiration even if she hasn’t read a word of it. But here is something maybe we have not thought about when getting the cute handprints, hand-drawn artwork and tiny flowerpots our children bestow on us. Did you forget about you? The “you” that existed before the Lord blessed you with children. The one who was not covered in spit-up, snot, and other bodily fluids. The one who used to sleep through the night. The one who has not become an accomplished science fair participant. The one who drives mom’s taxi. You know the lady who used to do stuff for “you”, too. We become lost in this whole wife and mother gig sometimes because it is definitely the most rewarding though we seldom see the return until it is too late to truly enjoy it along the way. After sending three from the nest, I understand how much this moment matters to them and now to me. I have to prepare a place for me outside of this role that I am absorbed in. Sorry guys – it appears that the Lord is speaking to the ladies today but maybe just maybe this will help you guide your mother, wife, sister or even daughter to find a place for herself in the world she is creating as the Proverbs 31 mom.
Psalm 139:13-17 (NLT)
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!
Hey mom, that’s you! Right there! In the middle of Psalm 139, that incredible workmanship by God that is marvelous. He formed you with great precision. He created a handwritten and purposeful plan for your life and added motherhood to the mix. Every day of your life was prerecorded. It is a good plan with a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) His Thoughts concerning you are just as precious as those you have for your child – no matter what they have done or will do – He loves you. He wants His Very Best… for you… AND your family! The only requirement is that you seek Him wholeheartedly. (Deep breath cause here comes the kicker.) Mothers have a tendency to put their husband and children before the Lord sometimes. Hang on before you get all religious and mad…I do it, too! To lose yourself in God’s Purpose but forget about yourself is also a problem. God created you to be a masterpiece. There is great complexity to your existence that began before you had children and extends after they are grown and gone. He doesn’t want you to forget that because it is His Best for you! You did though in the cooking, cleaning, driving and providing. Many moms forget who they are and who they were created to be because motherhood (even when taken for granted) offers its own fulfillment. God is reminding you that He loves you today. There is more to life than being a mother. Some ladies give up that dream if being a mom did not turn out the way that they expected. Single moms or those who become single in broken marriages think its over because they somehow failed. Mothers who are overwhelmed by parenting will often forget to take care of themselves. Motherhood is selfless giving for most. God wants to fulfill us and be the source of all we need as we give to our families, but we must depend on Him. We must allow the Lord to love on us as we love others.
When my first marriage failed, my entire existence became my children. I now had to be mom and dad. I had to support them all by myself financially, emotionally and spiritually. The heavy burden fell squarely on my shoulders and “I” carried it…for a while. It was hard. Being a single mom is not for the weak at heart because it is heartbreaking and hard. I completely lost my sense of self. Every dream I thought had died in the moment of divorce that is clearly not God’s Will or Plan for us. I figured that if I raised halfway decent children that I had somehow succeeded. Though I did not go to church and clearly did not live for the Lord at the time, I prayed regularly, humbly and openly about where I was and what I wanted…for them. Everything concerning me died in that moment of failed motherhood. They would “never” know a loving home with godly parents and I ruined it for them or so I thought. But God’s Amazing Grace, Love and Mercy for me had another plan and much better option. When I met my husband, I knew he was the one. I knew it. There was no question. God fulfilled the desires of my heart concerning my children as he became the wonderful father who loved and supported them unconditionally even adding to the mix two more sweet precious people. I was satisfied. God had turned it around. Yay God! God is good! That is until the third child moved far away from home. No longer totally engrossed in managing and maintain five schedules but now down to two. With the imminent threat of cancer now fading into the past, I am left wondering what next. I am running out of kids God and feel like I am running out of purpose. This is bad since I am not even fifty yet. Now what? God reminded me this morning that He loves me too. He was not just helping me care for my husband and children but preparing me for those dreams and aspirations whispered long ago. I am humbled. I am amazed that though I accepted failure in my weaknesses of motherhood, God has been keeping the “masterpiece of me” safe all these years.
Ephesians 3:18-20 (NLT)
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
This morning will be the first Mother’s Day without all my children at home. My daughter arrives for her first visit in three days. I cannot wait. I felt a twinge this morning in my heart knowing that she and my new son-in-law will not be here today. I began praying to God that I don’t want to be sad today. I want to have peace, joy and fulfillment in this moment. My two sons and two younger daughters are with me today. My oldest son is moving to Texas in a week. My younger son who is enjoying his remission will return to his apartment close to the hospital preparing to return to school full-time this fall. The two younger ones will continue to fight amongst themselves uniting to only gripe about their chores and take the occasional selfie. It won’t be long until it is their time to graduate and pursue their purpose independently. Thank God I married my best friend! In all of my reminiscing, thinking and praying as I walked around doing all the little things a mom does, I stepped over the edge into that place. Like walking in the ocean when you suddenly step off that sandbar you didn’t know you were on and plunge into the ocean. The water is cooler and it takes away your breath. God reminded me this morning that His Love for me is greater than my love for my children. He didn’t just plan on me being a mom but is rewarding my faithfulness in this task in ways that I cannot even comprehend right now. Motherhood produces many, many fruits of His Spirit in us such as love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, kindness and most certainly self-control. It happens without our awareness but plants seeds in our life for the future. We must only trust the Lord for it and believe that He will do it. Are you lost in your position today? Have you decided that you live for your children? No you aren’t and no you don’t. Mama, mother, mom, madre or whatever your precious ones call you – God loves YOU! He prepared a plan for your life that does not bear the name(s) of your children but contains them. Remember YOU today. God does! He never forgot even when became consumed in your task. He is doing more than you could think to ask for. He has been calling those dreams you called dead back to life that’s why you have been thinking about them. Answer His Call today. Let the Lord love on you today and remind you of those things that you thought you exchanged for motherhood, they are not so dead anymore. They are alive and well in the safekeeping of your Father who loves you and made you the wonderful masterpiece you are!
Ephesians 2:9-10 (NLT)
Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.