The Gift of Motherhood

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Don’t forget your free gift at the bottom of this post!

This morning, the kids asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day this year? I rattled off a few suggestions like, another perennial for my garden or maybe an attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer might be nice?

But the more I thought about  the whole gift idea, the more I realized the gift of motherhood itself is gift enough.  I know it sounds trite and cliche but it’s true.  Somehow, the honor and nobility of motherhood has gotten lost in the jungle of self-seeking prerogatives and false entitlements.

Maybe we are so used to a life of instant living where desires are satisfied in a nano second or a drive thru, or a cyber shopping cart, and just maybe that thought pattern spills into the rest of our lives and stains the expectation that the miraculous and beauty of motherhood isn’t instantaneous.  It’s really, really, hard, grace-filled, beautiful work.

My gift to you for Mother’s Day, some thoughts to ponder regarding motherhood: 

1.  The gift arrives uniquely wrapped
 Motherhood doesn’t come just one way.  Women experience this gift through adoption, foster care, biological birth, step-parenting, mentoring, and friendship.  No matter the arrival, it’s still a gift.

2.  Find the gift in the, seemingly, mundane of daily life
The story goes like this: armed with the current issue of her favorite magazine, just about to immerse herself into the relaxing, hot bath filled with Italian bath potpourri (used sparingly for anticipated times like this) a delicate tap on the door snaps her out of this, well deserved, soon to be dream state. 

Detected missing in action by her six year old, instantly this mom’s dream state is delayed as her six year old peers into the, now tepid, bath water, and inquires,

     “Mom, why do you have rotten flowers floating in your bath water?”

The  dream state moment floated away with the “rotten flowers” as the mom chuckles about her attempt at a covert bath escape; instead, she explains why moms like to bathe (or at least dream about bathing) with rotten flowers.

3.  The gift of mothering causes metamorphosis of the heart

Each spring we anticipate the return flight of the Monarch to our little Mid-Atlantic hub and its migratory lay- over on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  The ebony-orange winged wonders vacation in my patch of garden for the summer.  And its those days of Monarch watching and weed pulling that I get most of my thinking done. One of those weed pulling days as the Monarchs fluttered about, I concluded that motherhood, yes, changed my heart, but biblical motherhood caused a complete metamorphosis of my heart.  In many ways, the metamorphosis brought about more pain than my actual labor. Until then, I mothered without a map, drifting here and there into uncharted territory, clueless about the next step.  I excelled in the basic needs of feeding and nurturing, but I knew deep down that a child needed to feast on something far more than what I could supply.  That’s how the metamorphosis began: with a radical diet of the Bread of Life.  A diet full of spiritual food that leaves my children hungry for more of the Truth.  Come back for second helpings!  I figured if my kids ingested nutrients of truth they could sniff out a counterfeit in no time.

4.  The gift of mothering is sacrificial

As a mother nearly knocking on the door to fifty, I sadly see a generation of young mother’s who sacrifice little and feel entitled to much. Sacrificial mothering gives and takes where it hurts most.  For some mothers, the hurt begins with bleeding of the bank account, or the clamping off of the social scene, “me” time, or perforating the ability and means to travel to fun and exotic places (not counting the places you read about in children stories during nap time), or splicing the trips to the gym and salon (yes, your new mantra, repeat after me, “hair color in a box”).

5.  The gift of motherhood gives you guts but no glory

Motherhood requires us to articulate the difficult stuff to our teenagers in a way that doesn’t compromise standards yet considers their feelings.  Grab your General and devise a battle plan for those years to come even as you rock your little one and those years seem so far off: they aren’t.  You will become a nocturnal creature, even if it defies your nature.  The late Sono Harris offered me some of the best advice:

“Your young adult will choose the time to talk when it is least convenient, like midnight, but pull yourself up out of bed and listen with every fiber of your being.”

And it’s true.  If you listen, really listen, they will talk.  It’s Deuteronomy 6 in action at midnight.

6.  The gift of motherhood makes us go low

There are some days I feel like I have vertigo from bending at the knee to see the world from the viewpoint of my six year old then swivel around and stretch north to peer into the eyes and heart of my taller than me 17 year old, then go south just a bit to banter about girl stuff with my 13 year old, twist to the right and look parallel to catch the plans of my 19 year old as she buzzes out the door, hang tight in that position to greet my 26 year old as she stops by after work to catch up on life, whooh, just in time to lean over to grab the phone call from my 28 year old who checks in before he leaves to do his night shift.

Mothers are never too noble to go low and humbly serve, especially those under our roof.  Jesus modeled servant-hood to his band of 12, even to the one who became his enemy.   Jesus paints a clear picture as to how we daily wash the feet of our beloved band of disciples, our children, every time they enter the threshold of our home as the mud of the world tries to cling to their shoes.

7.  The gift of motherhood brings laughter

I get so entangled in the quagmire of maternal duties that I forget the fun side of this divine calling.  For example, remember kids up to a certain age, possess a raw honesty.  So if you want a true gut wrenching honest opinion on how your outfit or new hair style looks before going public just consult a six year old.  They will tell you the truth.  If you don’t have a six year old, borrow one from a friend just long enough to solicit her opinion.  Reward them with a cookie and send them on their way.  You really do want to know if that new shade of lipstick hits the hideous level or not..or if your mascara clumped and you are getting ready to face the day looking like Ursula from the Little Mermaid.  Oh, the six year old will tell you without cracking a smile but you can crack one and belt out a laugh while you’re at it.

Embrace every part of the gift of motherhood.

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