To you moms everywhere –
I see you sweet mama with hair in a messy bun and jelly on your cheek as you stand in pajama pants clattering out bowls as cereal gets dumped to overflowing – feeling this crazy concoction of being amazingly blessed and fiercely terrified right at this moment.
You, the mother of that little one whose feet came plodding in at dawn’s early light with tears streaming down because her swimsuit was all silly and she couldn’t get it on. And, yes, you knew the high for the day was twenty degrees below zero with snow all blowing, but before you could get the frog out of your throat to discuss your plea, that two and a half foot tall girl disappeared exclaiming, “Me do it myself!” And, well, she did put boots on later.
You, the mother of a newborn who was up at all hours of the night to nurse or rock or walk circles or rip off layers of bedding in a panic searching for that babe amidst the downy covers only to find him swaddled all safe in his bassinet sleeping soundly for those fifteen minutes between feedings.
You, the mama who’s spent hours on knees over one who was sick or one who can’t seem to make friends or one sitting behind slammed doors or one who didn’t make it home in time for curfew. Again.
You, the mom wiping off crumbs and sticky hands and picking up broken-heart pieces and scrubbing smelly toilets and gunky floors and re-folding laundry that got dumped again and finding lost shoes and paying endless bills and chauffeuring to appointments and packing the lunches and pushing that gigantic mini-van of a cart at the grocery store and thanking God that miss-matched socks are now in style.
You, in whatever stage of motherhood you find yourself in – with one kid or twenty, with diapers or drivers, at home or working, next door or on the other side of the world. You, with the weight of eternity on your shoulders.
I want to speak to the secret places of your heart and let you to know that what you are doing has great significance.
This pouring out of self. This shaping of souls.
Giving of time and energy and smiles and tears and prayers and bravery and love – all tied together in a regular day of motherhood. Mixed with piles of dishes and counters covered in crumbs and dirty socks thrown all over and arguments needing refereeing and deadlines to meet and a husband to love and semi-nutritious meals made out of leftovers in the fridge and dirty diapers to be changed and helping with spelling and listening to dreams and giving grace in our weakness – all to begin again when the sun comes up in the morning, or at 4am when that little one comes knocking.
And maybe you won’t hear it anywhere else, but I want you to know that through the big and the oh so tiny – your thoughtful, beautifully unique, passionate love is tilting hearts toward Jesus.
And it may not look awe-inspiring. And everyone else may seem to do it better. But don’t believe the lies that the mom next door, because she’s always smiling and makes organic treats even for the mail carrier’s birthday, has it all together – because she’s probably staring out the window wondering how you do what you do when she’s not sure how to make it through till tomorrow. And I promise she’s not doing it all either.
Oh, I know you’ve messed up. I mess up every day too. Maybe you’ve spoken too harshly or given in to the whines. Maybe you’ve been too strict or too lenient or too stifling or too inattentive. Maybe you’ve had that tantrum on the floor right next to your two-year old or teenaged daughter.
Or maybe it’s been one of those days that are just plain hard, and although you wouldn’t trade anything for this life as a mom, the only thing stopping you from fleeing from the mess of it all is that your husband hid the keys in this blustery weather. (Ask my last week how I know.)
The beauty comes, dear mama, when you call to God with all your blunders and bruises and scars still tender to the touch. As you lean on Him as you get back up again and again and again, allowing God to work mightily through your weakness. And as you pour out those little acts of love that you think go unseen, but have great importance.
But maybe you can’t see it – this love all sparkling. Because in the monotony, chaos, and stunningly small, it can be easy to miss the grace flowing.
In the snarls combed out gently.
In the good morning hugs.
In the bundling everyone up to go outside for all of three minutes.
In the kissing feverish heads.
In the waiting at the bus stop.
In the making pancakes with chocolate chips because you know it’s their favorite.
In the making of those same pancakes without gluten or eggs or soy.
In the cleaning up of juice spills.
In the help putting away toys.
In the band aids put on invisible owies and ice upon little heads.
In the stools pushed up against counters to help.
In the books countless times read.
In the getting up in the middle of the night because the baby will not sleep.
In the staying up past midnight to soothe a heart break.
In the pillows thrown in piles to make a fort on the floor.
In the believing in your child when all else have given up.
In the praying that reaches over phone lines and across continents.
In the working for hours far away or right there in your home.
In the waiting ten minutes to sweep or return that call, just so you can listen.
In the taking their hand and guiding them in how to write their name.
In the showing them and tenderly training them in how to behave.
In the tears shared and smiles given.
In the pictures hanging on the fridge.
In the Bible stories and the tucking into bed.
In the love notes squeezed under pillows and into hearts forever.
Maybe it’s in the whispered words, “I’m sorry.”
The way you humbly show you need Jesus too.
And maybe it’s the words that say, “I love you, and I’m blessed to be your mama, and though it is hard and messy, I wouldn’t have it any other way!”
You, mama on the other side of the screen,
Right where you are at,
Going through blessings or heartaches or just plain monotonous days of happy, sad, whining, giggling, demands, and struggles –
As you delight in your children; tenderly, affectionately, passionately loving,
You are a valued tool in the hands of God
Tilting whole worlds to the good news of Jesus.
And you can see them, this glistening of love spinning –
Across the street and far away across the ocean.