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Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Mother's Day Post

As I sit here early in the morning while the house is still quiet, it is easy for me to dream and think about the mother I want to be to my children.  This morning - Mother's Day - I read a devotion that described the mother of Jesus.  It went on to link to scriptures about mothers and that led to reading a bit about how the Bible describes a mother's love.

As I read, I wonder - Do I measure up to this description of a mother?

I certainly want to be a good mother and a godly mother.  But am I?  When I hear my children argue over who gets which color of straw or who sits in which seat or even be so bold as to angrily tell me that I am unfair in how I handle situations between them to suggest I might even love one child more than another, I question - How do I measure up as a mother?

Am I doing the kind of job God requires of me?

Am I meeting my own standards of what a mom should be?

I know I fall short on many occasions, but it's not from lack of desire or love or even effort.  When I fall short it is because I am human and cannot be at three places at once or inside three little hearts at the same time.  It is because I am tired from being up with a sleepless child or stressed from the pressure of debt or a work-at-home workload knowing there is still need to go over fractions and spelling or don't have the time to stop as we are rushing out the door trying to find our shoes.

Parenting and mothering is far more than carrying a baby full term.  It is truly not very difficult to enjoy the company of a happy healthy baby giggling in your arms.  Being a mother, a godly mother, involves so much more.

When I first looked into the eyes of my newborn son, I was surprised.  He was not like the other babies I had previously known from babysitting or the academy of children where I worked.  This child, this newborn, looked back at me.  In his eyes he looked into my soul as if to question:

"Can I trust you?  Will you take care of me?"

Being a mother involves more than the smell of a newborn nuzzled up to our noses.  It involves more than baby giggles and happy times.  It's natural and easy to stay awake and watch a newborn breathe.  But, being a mother means looking into the soul of that child on days when they are looking into your eyes and telling you they are angry...at you!  It involves loving them patiently when everything in you wants to respond in defense or hurt.

One of my college degrees was in psychology, the college called it Human Services.  In my studies, I learned a great deal of what makes children tick.  None of this fully prepared me for parenthood.  It is truly different to look into the eyes and soul of a child you know will not be picked up at 6 p.m. to go home with his parent.  You are that parent.  You may have help and an amazing support group of friends and family, but ultimately, that child is yours to raise and love and nurture.

Most of us do not have that amazing support team.  Sometimes we encounter far less than support, even criticism for our choices.  From the raised eyebrow of the assistant at the doctor's office when you mention you homeschool to the out and out refusal to help from the unexpected friend or family member you thought was behind you all the way or even a spouse who simply cannot be there due to work demands or even lack of care, ultimately our children are our responsibility.

As I sit here and type in the quietness of our early morning house, my thoughts are always hopeful and fresh.  I am free to dream and pray.  And, my prayer this Mother's Day morning is this (and I wonder if my children will someday respond to this verse):

"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her..."  (Proverbs 31:28)

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