It is so easy to forget WHO you are!
Thirteen years ago on Mother’s Day, I was a first-time auntie, and quite inexplicably, had my feelings hurt because my brother – a twenty-something, bachelor cop, did not acknowledge his son’s aunt on Mother’s Day. Why in the world I expected that of him is now beyond me.
Today, I am the proud, proud aunt of two nephews and a niece who will be visiting me (along with their parents!) in one month. And may I just say…my brother has had a role in making very pretty children.
Ten years ago I was a newly married stepmom of two, pretty sheepish about my role, and my heart aching more than ever for a baby of my own.
Today, having ‘successfully navigated’ the ‘raising’ of two stepchildren, I am looking crazy-forward to a weekend with all my ‘kids,’ including my future-daughter-in-law. Iron Man 3, Mexican food, and the beach will be involved. I love our not-normal family.
Eight years ago – was it that long? Wow! – I was an infertile mom on Mother’s Day. The pain of that diagnosis and the emptiness of my womb felt overwhelming at times. Daily, it felt like my identity. How can you not have something (children) and still be something (mama)? My soul felt motherly. My arms ached. I stared at other women and children as though they had found the Holy Grail, one I had no hope of finding.
Seven years ago, I was newly pregnant.
Six years ago, I was carrying around a six-month old who was my Holy Grail.
Five years ago, I was sitting on a tour bus, cuddling a toddler and a newborn, utterly bewildered by the whirlwind blessings, and utterly exhausted, too.
I had a conversation with some pastors yesterday. (Insert my line about loving the fact that my co-workers are pastors, and friends, and brothers). We were talking about grace, and the job of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. We so often say it is the Holy Spirit’s role to convict us of our sin, but Pastor Tom proposed that in the life of a believer, who is already forgiven of sin, the Holy Spirit’s role is to convict us of our righteousness.
Righteousness? you say, that sounds so churchy and holier-than-thou. But there is no man righteous, no not one. (Romans 3:10). Though “righteous “is one of those Christany-terms that scare people, PT was not saying it “that way…”
So I put my Kelly Standard Version spin on things, proposing that the Holy Spirit is like Mufasa in the sky, reminding Simba to: Remember who you are.
How easy is it to forget who we are… as Christians? As humans? As mothers? I mean, if someone asks me about motherhood these days, I usually laugh it off with an anecdote about my “precocious” youngest child, or about the fact that as a stepmom to older children, I will likely be a gramma in my 30s. But this week, oh this week…
It is always a time to be reminded about the sanctity of motherhood, not because of who it makes us, but because of who and what it entrusts to us. Becoming a mother, having the chance to love my children with all my heart, to be loved by them, frustrated by them, proud of them, is the singular greatest joy in my life. While that might be easy to forget when they are spilling Fruity Pebbles all over the floor when we are already late for church, or having a silent, scowl-at-all-the-other-parents hissy fit at the bus stop, or beating the tarnation out of each other over which episode of Jessie they are going to watch, it is, nevertheless, always true. Always.
To top that off, just this week, I have been touched by the depth of emotions that comes with motherhood, as I have encountered in My Real Life ~
- a mom who placed her third-born into the arms of an infertile mom, thus becoming a ‘birth mom,’ a subculture that I will forever be more deeply in awe of from this moment. THANK YOU for choosing life, for your beyond-generous heart, for your strength, for your trust in God, for changing the life of this woman whose arms are no longer empty.
- a mom whose only child, thus far, was lost through miscarriage. The fact that her arms have yet to hold a baby of her own does not take from her heart’s status of “Mom.” May God bless and keep every mama who has lost in this way.
- the prospective adoptive mom. I. Cannot. Wait…to share the joy of your babies coming home to you.
- the single mom. I know more of them now than I used to, and my admiration only grows. Know, single moms, that you are superheroes to me…for all the nights I don’t get enough sleep, all the days I don’t give enough time/patience/homemade dinners, all the wee hours spent folding laundry and wishing there was more money/help/company/time/energy: I hope you get double what I wish for.
- the mom of the special needs child. This one? Too precious for words. You are loved. You are prayed for. You are SEEN.
- the mom in emotional crisis….she is overworked, she is heartbroken, she is grieving, she is straying, she is searching, she is ill, she is abandoned, she is lonely…and whatever the case, she is trying to deal with this and shelter her children from it, and that is so difficult, if not impossible. Lord, have mercy on this mom. Give her a day free of fear, guilt, shame, sadness, and anxiety. Give her more of YOU.
My prayer for all moms is that we remember who we are, what we were made into the moment that role of “Mama” was bestowed upon, gifted to us. When in the trenches (or the park, the grocery store, the kitchen, the car) surrounded by chaos… when in the bathroom, surrounded by little fists knocking and big voices calling… when looking in the mirror, envisioning everything we are not… when in the rare moment of silence, wondering what and how we can do it better… may we remember that regardless of our circumstances, we are not alone. May we remember that the one thing our children need most from us is our love. May we remember that every moment with them is a treasure.