The Heart of the Matter

In honor of Mother’s Day, I am linking up with Lisa-Jo, a.k.a. the Gypsy Mama, to explore why moms matter. If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to visit her website.  Not only is Lisa-Jo an incredible writer, but she has wonderful insight into pursuing a relationship with God.  You will be blessed by your encounter!

I know full and well the importance of Mom.  When I taught high school, I watched teenaged girls crumble under the weight of their grief after the loss of their mothers, unable to focus on schoolwork, maybe just not caring.  After all, how did Language Arts even compare to a day without their mothers?  I remember a friend from college who went to the doctor every time he had the slightest cold; his mother had died from cancer when he was 13.  And even after 16 years without my Nana, I see the longing in my own mom’s eyes when she talks of her mother.

Some friends share delightful stories of their mothers, while others are consumed with bitterness for the wounds their mothers created.  No matter the story, all have a place in their hearts that wants to hold fond memories and affection for the women who bore them.

My youngest just turned one.  Lately, I have spent a lot of time looking back over the past year, and I find many moments of ambivalence. In one moment I love deeply as my baby lay her head on my chest, the next I struggle to suppress the desire to yell at my children in frustration.  In one moment, I thank God for the gift of my new daughter, the next I question why we ever thought having three kids in three years was a good idea.  I look at my writings from the past year, many used as a method to unburden my soul and work through my own guilty feelings, equally as many filled with smiles as I laughed at the follies of myself and my children.

When I think about this past year, there is so much I want to do over. I don’t want my children to remember me losing control, not showing them tenderness and patience. I want the day I die to be filled with tears over losing the mother who created the delightful stories, not the mother who created the wounds that never healed.  Yet every time I find myself dwelling too long in guilt and despair, the kindness of God softly nudges me like a cool breeze, prompting me to move away from that place that He did not create for me.

This week, I searched my mind for why moms matter, and writing from the perspective of a daughter, I could fill pages and pages of why my mom matters to me. However, I had a much harder time writing from the perspective of the one who matters.  Why do I matter?  And because I couldn’t answer without falling into that place of guilt, God spent time with me so that I could answer this question.

When God chose to save humanity, He did so through His Son, Jesus.  Most of what we know about Jesus is from the start of His ministry when He was around the age of 30.  God’s plan could have started with this God-Man sent from heaven at age 30, dropped in the middle of the desert, suddenly appearing before John the Baptist to get baptized. Yet we know Mary carried Jesus in her womb, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, fulfilling numerous prophesies about the Messiah.

I don’t pretend to know the mind of God,why He chose to send Jesus as a baby, but this week I couldn’t stop thinking about Mary.  Whenever I think about Mary, I think about this woman God chose to carry His Son, calm and mild, the perfect mother.  But she wasn’t perfect; she was just chosen.

I wondered if she ever cried herself to sleep at night, overwhelmed by the task put before her.  Did she ever cry simply because she had a bad day with her children? Did she ever wish she spent a little more time hugging and kissing and less time allowing frustration to consume her?

I picture Mary going about her daily tasks while a young Jesus looked on. He saw a hard-working mother, a mother who loved her children and wanted to please God.  He was a recipient of her affection.

And as all children do, Jesus carried a special place in His heart for His mother, so much so that some of His last words on the cross were for Mary, ensuring she was cared for after His death and Resurrection: “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home'” (John 19: 26-27).

I have found comfort in the fact that Jesus belonged to a family.  As God, He already knows everything, yet by coming to Earth and, in the great mystery of our faith, clothing Himself in humanity while not losing His divinity, He experienced the mother-son relationship. He witnessed and received the blessings of a good mother, all the while being the source from whom we receive blessings.

When I find myself discouraged and disheartened, I remember that He knows. I receive strength and comfort knowing that my Lord took on the role of a human, felt the emotions I feel, saw the struggle that mothers have, and tasted the joy–the joy that a mother brings to the heart of her child. That joy is where He wants me to focus.

I may not be perfect, but I, too, have been chosen.  God chose me to be the mother of Caleb, Hannah Grace, and Chloe, a calling I do not take lightly.  It is a calling I am worthy to take because I matter–I matter to God, and I matter to my children.  And when it comes down to it, nothing else really matters.

Happy Mother’s Day.  May God give you the strength to fulfill your calling with peace, joy, and laughter.

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