Monday, May 14, 2012

Thoughts on Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day.

An odd day.  Some people love it.  For others, it's full of painful reminders.

Reminders of a mom who is no longer on this earth.

Reminders of a mom who could never quite be "mom" but who is still here.

Reminders of children never born to those who are moms in their heart and soul, but not in daily life.

Even for those who are moms and love all the maddening challenges of each day, it can be painful.

Moms are not perfect.

Moms do not fit cultural images and idols.

Moms are never able to do it on their own.
 

My dad (the itty bitty guy) and part of his family.  My grandparents are standing next to each other on the back row.

We need help.

We need our sisters.

We need our friends.

Moms who need help the most usually have it the least.

Single moms working minimum wage can't afford good health care or child care.

Moms struggling through depression or mental illness often isolate themselves when they need people the most.

Moms who do everything they can yet still fall short show up at church to hear a sermon meant to be encouraging but that is often another version of, "You're wonderful!  Keep up the good work!  You amaze us all!  We dads don't know how you do it!  We couldn't do anything without you!!" when what they want to hear is . . .

It's hard, isn't it?

Can I do your laundry for you?

I yelled at my children this morning too. 

or

It'll be OK if you don't do it all.   

My mom and her mom on Mama and Daddy's wedding day.  June 19, 1962.

I learned about being a mom from lots of people. 

My mom and grandmother.

My dad.

Other adults in my life, both male and female.  Dortha Shirley.  Craig and Jan Jones.  Mona Lee Garner.  Rene' Tucker.  Dr. William Sears. 

Friends.

My own children.

Mostly God. 

As a woman, it's often hard to identify with the male images of God.  I treasure these verses, which are often overlooked but are much more like the God I know:

Hosea 11:3-4 
 “Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I who took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.” 

Isaiah 66:13 
“As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” 

Isaiah 49:15 
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” 

Isaiah 42:14 
 “For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept myself still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant.” 

A God who creates and sustains.  A God who comforts.  A God who listens and shows compassion.  A God who rises to the occasion and does whatever is necessary for her children.  A God who gets down on the child's level.

That's the God I want to serve and the mom I want to be.  

This has been a hard year to be a mom.  I had to pull from reserves that I didn't know that I had.  I could not have survived without my family, my friends, and acquaintances who stepped into the gap and quickly became friends.  

This has been a hard year to be a daughter too.  My mom has not been well and hard decisions had to be made and hard conversations had to be had.  She is better now, and I thank God for that.

Yesterday, I sat in church between my mom and my daughter.  As difficult as this has been for me, I was an observer.  A companion. I was not them and did not experience what they did.  Down the row, my other children. Even some who would rather not have been there, but who came out of respect.  That was a gift that no money could buy.

I was filled with tears for the women on either side of me.  For my grandmother who I will not see again in this lifetime.  For those whose hearts ache for children who were not born.  For single dads.  For single moms.  For spiritually single moms.


Truth be told, if I seem like a good mom, it's because I have terrific kids.  I fall short on this mom thing every single day, but each day I will get up and do what I can.

I can listen.

I can encourage.  

And I can do whatever I can to keep them connected to the Creator and Life Source they came from to begin with, because as much as I'd love to take credit for how amazing they are, I can't.  They belong to someone -- something -- much bigger and better than I will ever be.

2 comments:

Kim Ross Pruitt said...

You come from that same glorious Life Source as did your children. And I believe you are wonderful; and that it's always okay to let the day's tasks wash over you without attention while you focus on your heart's tuggings for that time. I love you, Lisa. :)

haileymarie said...

Thank you so much for the "mom" you have been in my life. And thank you for remembering those of us who fall into the category of "those who are moms in their heart and soul, but not in daily life." You are such an incredible encouragement to so many. Happy Mother's Day!