“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “Plans to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
With Mother’s Day approaching I found myself reminiscing all last week. I recalled my anticipation of becoming a mother. I had no idea of the pressures and the stress which would accompany motherhood!
Men may ask “What stress can a stay-at-home mom possibly have?” Well, it varies from mom to mom. But in general, we all worry about our kids: are they eating right?, are they learning right?, did I seize all those teachable moments today? (of course not!), are they learning to share?, are they learning respect?, do we talk about God enough?, when will my child make his faith his, and not just based on mine?
We also worry about our spouses: how can I better support my husband in his work? How can I better manage the household so he is not stressed by home duties? Is he still attracted to me after x number of children and y years of marriage?
We also worry about other things, but you get the point. If you are like me, you want everything to be perfect (is that not part of having two x chromosomes?) Yet we are human, perfection is not in our genes!
Sometimes, in striving for that perfection, we unintentionally erect barriers between ourselves and others. Maybe others do see that facade we portray, and accept it as face value, assuming that facade is who we really are: not as a human being with tender hearts and confused minds, at times; just like everyone else.
I had the privilege of attending a Ladies’ Retreat last weekend, with a church I used to attend. (We had relocated a few hours away, moving our home church in the process).
I witnessed something amazing! This church had undergone many changes in recent years, and had many new attendees. There were over seventy women on this retreat, many who did not really know each other well. They came from all walks of life, were varied ages, varied professions. But there was a common denominator: faith in Christ.
A dear friend of mine was running the sessions on Saturday. When I first learned what she planned to do, I was astonished. In keeping with the theme of the weekend, she was going to read a list of trials many had gone through in this life. If any of us had experienced these, we were to stand for the first trial we experienced, touch the shoulder of someone standing near us for the second, and move to the front of the room for the third.
These were women who many did not know each other well. The list contained painful experiences. I wondered how many would truly participate in this experience. Yet, God was at work. By the end of the list, barely no one was seated, about three-quarters of the ladies were at the front of the room, and the barriers were torn down.
These women and myself realized anew, just because you see someone in the pew every week, does not mean you really know who they are. Just because they dress well does not mean they are not clothed in humility. Just because someone lacks many financial resources does not mean she is quite rich in spirit. Just because someone smiles often does not mean she does not truly know deep pain, physical, emotional or spiritual.
Sometimes, we ladies assume everyone else but ourselves has it together. We could not be more wrong. Each of us can claim we are a new creation in Christ, but without Him we are nothing.
This Mother’s Day, I would encourage all moms to learn to let go! Let God show you His ‘to-do’ list each day. The house does not need to be perfect. (Mine never is anyway!) Your kids do not need to be perfect, having the perfect childhood. (I am convinced God gives us children to give us the gift of humility!) You do not have to be model perfect to be attractive to your spouse. You do not need to perfectly emulate Proverbs 31, just try to live a few verses each day!
God created us to live for Him, and to love Him, and each other. Do not think that since you are a Christian you need to emulate Christ perfectly, and that when you make a mistake, you have completely failed. Do not let the stresses of motherhood keep you away from loving as God intended. Allow the barriers we ourselves have erected to come crumbling down. We are all in this together, and need each other! God has given us many gifts of encouragement: His Word, the Holy Spirit, and other ladies who share pieces of our lives. Accept all His gifts with a grateful heart!
Happy Mother’s Day!
1) How do I see myself?
2) How does I wish others to see me? Note the difference between the two.
3) Thank God for creating you. Thank Him for your gifts and talents, and for bringing through painful experiences. You are unique, and He has very special plans for you! (Jeremiah 29:11)
4) How can I realign first, my thinking, second, my actions and words, to break the barriers I have erected?
5) (Here’s the hard part!) Put those actions and words into actions and words. Let yourself be known, truly known, who you are.
God knowns everything about you, even the things you hide from others, you can not hide from Him. And, He loves you anyway! Allow that love to wash over you and for the realization that the only affirmation you need you already have: the love of God himself.
Thank you for reading! Please return next Monday, May 20 for the next post!