Though I believe a mother and father should have an equal part in raising children, since this is a Mother’s Day post, I thought I’d share about motherhood.
5 years old:
Mom, please can you read me a Bible story and snuggle with me.
10 years old:
Mom, you are so mean! You make me do chores and discipline me! It’s not cool to hug and kiss you anymore in front of my friends.
15 years old:
What do you know mother? My friends are so important! I will just go spend time with them.
20’s and newly married:
Mom, how should I do this? This isn’t so easy after all. How did you manage to keep everything running so smoothly?
30’s with children:
Mom, you are and were extremely wise. You were not mean at all. You were just loving your kids.
40’s and life continues:
Mom, I want to be just like you. You were right all along. Not sure how I could live without your wisdom, support and advice.
Mom has gone to be with the Lord:
I lost a best friend and confidant. I wish I could hug and kiss you one more time and hold you tenderly and not let you go. I wish you would brush my hair and run your hands down my back one more time. I wish I could ask you for advice on “this and that”. I wish your prayers for me and my family still lingered. I wish “Mommy calling” would appear on my phone and hear you asking how my day was. I wish I could do things over again, Mom.
A few years ago a girlfriend and I were talking about how hard it was to be a mom and raise children. I came home with the nagging thought of how difficult it must have been for my mother and father to raise us, children. (I was raised in a family of 13, 2 of whom passed away and went to be with the Lord at a very young age.)
I think about the stories my mom shared about the difficulties of raising children in a small village in Ukraine. Where diapers didn’t exist. Where cows, pigs, and chickens needed to be fed on a daily basis. Where a huge garden needed to be kept up during the hot summers for the family to survive the cold harsh winters. How she would tell me the difficulties of her pregnancies. While sick still needing to go milk the cows and vomiting at the scent but not able to just lay in bed because the children needed milk. About how tough it was not having a refrigerator where you could just store extra food like we do today. The amount of clothing that needed to be washed by hand on a daily basis because washers and dryers did not exist (or could not be afforded). About the lack of sleep because while children were in bed she tried to clean and do the mending and sewing.
As I sit and reminisce, I absently wipe away the tears that stream down my face. Not because I am glad I don’t live there but because of the woman I call mom and all she did for her children. I shed tears for all of her hardships. For not having time for herself because so much needed to be done for us.
As I think about her, I bring myself to today and think about me. About how some days I think it is hard raising children yet I have everything I could ask for to raise them comfortably. A control panel to regulate the temperature of our home, it’s not blazing hot in the summer nor freezing cold in the winter. The washer I have to just load and press start then just transfer the clothes to the dryer. The variety of carry-out meals in our area when I didn’t get to make dinner or the kids were sick. The vehicles that take us from point A to point B.
Then mentally I take myself to the women in Africa that don’t have any of the luxuries we are so used to and take for granted. To that mom in India who doesn’t know what she will give her children for dinner. To the mom in Haiti that just took her last skirt and turned it into a dress for her daughter because she cannot afford to buy material to sew a new one.
At night before bedtime, I spend time in the Word. As I read, God opens up more about motherhood to me than He ever has. I think to myself, my mother had so many trials raising her children yet she never complained. I woke up many nights to noise and it was mom and dad on their knees praying for all of us. Saying our names individually and giving their blessing upon our lives. I remember thinking to myself at that young age; mom and dad, is this really necessary? You worked so hard today and are so exhausted just go to bed. Now I understand where all that strength came from. Now I understand why she never complained. I understand because motherhood was not something she did. Mothering was an act of God’s love through her.
I tell myself I have been a good mother and yet in my heart I know I can be a better one. I know this is a lesson that not only I can benefit from but so many other mothers. In this time and age, parenting is different than it was 20 years ago, especially for those of us that immigrated to the USA. In some ways, it’s much easier yet others much harder. There is more of a spiritual battle today than there was 20 years ago. Physically it’s simpler. We have everything we need. Mentally is where it gets harder. It is a daily battle to read the Word of God. A daily battle to find alone time for prayer. A daily battle to get up in the middle of the night and say that prayer for our children. A daily battle to manage your time wisely and not get caught up in worldly things.
Philippians 4:13 comes to mind, “I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me”. As I sit and think of this Scripture I realize that I don’t have to be a perfect mother. I cannot and will not always get things right. I mustn’t raise my kids like my friends do or someone from church. I don’t have to try and do MY best. That is not what is asked of me. I need to be the mother God created me to be. How can I do this Lord, I think to myself in the solitude of my room? In my heart, I know it as “Surrender”. Surrender “my” way of parenting. Surrender “my” strength. Surrender “my” wisdom and “surrender” Me. Once I surrender and admit that I cannot do motherhood on my own, Christ gives me His strength.
He gives me strength when I am weak. He gives me wisdom when I lack it. He empowers me to be the mom He created me to be because I am not doing it my way but through Him. He gives me the physical strength I need to wake up and get on my knees and pour out my soul at His altar and wake up the next morning revived and anew.
It was that day many moons ago that really changed the way I looked at being a mom. It was then I started to look at motherhood through Christ’s eyes. Have I had hardships? You bet I have, but I know where to gather my strength and that is a life-changer. I cannot control my children but He can guide them. I cannot always be with them and protect each one of them but I can pray His angels are always upon them. I cannot give them advice and wisdom because I lack it myself but He can speak through me. I cannot be a perfect example of Christ to my children because I am sinful but through Christ, I can strive to be the best.
I am so grateful to my mother for the Godly example she has been. I am proud to call myself her daughter. That day changed the way I felt about motherhood and changed my feelings even more towards the woman I have the privilege of calling “MOM”. She won’t always be with me and I Thank God so much that I still have the opportunity to show her how much I appreciate her. How much I appreciate her and not just on Mother’s Day but all year round with simple acts of kindness and gestures of appreciation that touch her heart more than any expensive Mother’s Day gift will.
I hope we can be the kind of Mothers we want to see our daughters grow up to be.
What important lessons has your Mother taught you? What have you learned over the years as a Mother? (I WOULD LOVE YOUR FEEDBACK IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.)
Have a Blessed 2014 Mother’s Day.