Mother’s Day can be hard. It can be hard for so many women and men for so many reasons. I think of dear friends whose mothers have passed away – whether their loss was this year or many years ago, this day is hard.
I think of close friends whose wives and sister in laws, the mother of their children or mother of their nieces and nephews have passed away. Again, whether their loss was this year or many years ago, this day is hard.
I think of beautiful friends who have such immense desire to be mothers but whose circumstance does not find them in the place where that is a possibility. Whether this is a recent discovery or something that’s been on their hearts for many many years, this day is hard.
I think of women (myself, my mother and mother in law included) who have had to say goodbye to children, who have had to grieve the loss of one who was a part of them. Whether this was 5 years ago or a decade ago, this day is hard.
I think of amazing women whose mothers have had to say goodbye to their spouses. Women who have to watch their moms go on without their soulmate, their other half. Whether their loss is recent or many years ago, this day is hard.
And I think of our departure – in 10 short weeks we will be on a plane to Australia, en route to Papua New Guinea – and I will have left my mother, my grandmother and my mother in law behind. I will have left the incredible safety of our multi-generational living and our close knit family and I will be venturing out to see how I ‘mother’ without them there for constant back up.
I’m terrified. If you’re anything like me, on any given day, I have a distinct lingering feeling in the back of my mind that I’m messing something up in the mothering department. I have quirks, I have crazies, I have moments of insanity where I can hear myself talking to my kids and I don’t like what I hear but I struggle to change it. I have moments of victory contrasted with moments of defeat and I am constantly wondering if my children will turn out ok.
I turn to those around me for support. To other women who are on the same path and who share, with total honesty, their great and not-so-great mothering moments, to great friends who may not be mothers but who are an excellent source of wisdom & encouragement while also offering to love on my kids when my own tank is empty and to my mom. I turn to her the most. I turn to my mother – even if not always for advice, but often for a nod of approval, for a reminder that I’m doing ok – for just the slightest hint that she had days like these and yet we turned out ok.
I turn to my mom because I respect the hard work she and my dad did in parenting us. I respect the heart that she put into raising us to love Jesus. I respect the time and effort she put into teaching us to value faith, people and scholastic endeavours – in that order. I respect her ability to go on after the loss of one of her own children. I respect that she never let go of her love for Jesus, her love for people or her ability to achieve and use her gifts for God’s glory, even on days when I am certain she must have wanted to give up.
I respect her because I’m living a small portion of the struggles she has already walked through and I’m achieving a staggeringly low success rate on some days. I respect her because she’s mine and I would be lost without her.
We don’t always see eye to eye, I can’t honestly tell you that I ask her for advice or listen to her advice without getting defensive a good portion of the time. We are different and we are similar but we are each others and we are blessed to be walking this road together.
I am thankful, beyond words, that the women in my life, have demonstrated, lived and breathed that truth and that God has given me these women with whom I can walk through life – whether that means walking upstairs, across town, down the street, or calling on Skype in 10 short weeks.
So, to all of the women in my life and whatever you are walking through right now or whatever you have walked through, I pray that you would know that you are unique. I pray that you would know that you are loved. I pray that you would know that you are appreciated and I pray that someone would tell you that today, mother or not.
And whatever your expectations today, whatever your emotions, I pray for peace and I pray for joy.
And if, at any point, you feel weak from unmet expectations, I pray that you would know that weakness is to be celebrated and that weakness just makes room for God’s strength to carry you through something you were never meant to do alone and as he carries you, I pray that you would find joy. For ‘Joy is not dependent on the sumptuousness of our circumstances but the richness of Christ, who orders all our lives.” Calvin Miller.
May my expectations today (and every day) be of Christ and Christ alone. The One who will help me to be the mother my kids need and the One who will show me grace along the way.