I wrote these words some years ago, but have updated them to reflect a growing family and my own advancing years.
The older I get the less Mother’s Day is about being honored and celebrated and the more it becomes a day of gratitude. I am so very grateful for the privilege of being a mother. Let me say at the beginning, I recognize that Mother’s Day is a difficult holiday for many. Perhaps you have lost your mother; maybe this will be your first Mother’s day without her. Perhaps the two of you have a difficult relationship. I get it. I remember many years standing in the Hallmark store with tears in my eyes thinking, “There is not one Mother’s Day card for my mother.” It also may be difficult because you desperately want to be a mother and for whatever reason this has not happened. Maybe you have lost an unborn child or children and this day is a painful reminder. And tragically, you may have given birth to a child who later died. My heart breaks for you.
I am richly blessed with three wonderful daughters. As my wise sister has often reminded me, most of us get two shots at the parent child relationship. The first opportunity is with our parents, and then later with our own children. Even if you don’t have the relationship you would like with your parents, you can still resolve to have a good relationship with your own children. Sometimes our best parenting lessons come by learning what not to do.
The greatest Mother’s Day gift I have ever received is the gift of being a mother. I can still vividly remember the overwhelming love I felt for my firstborn daughter as she was placed in my arms. And the surprising relief that I could feel the same amount of love for a second and a third daughter. And don’t even get me started about my grandchildren! A mother’s love is never divided: it is multiplied.
I am blessed that my grown children live nearby and I get to see them often and watch the cousins grow up together. I really like the women my girls have become, and I enjoy spending time with them, even if it is just a quick pop-in visit. And I am, so proud of them as mothers. They have blessed me with nine beautiful grandchildren, three greats, and another on the way. Our family just keeps growing. It is more than I ever could have wished for!
There are many gifts in motherhood, but I think the greatest is that it truly teaches us about the heart of our Father. I can remember the frustrations I felt as a young, overwhelmed mother. There was nothing I could take to God that he had not already experienced. “Oh Lord, they are always wanting something!” (Yes, I understand. My children only come to me when they need something.”) “They don’t appreciate how much I do for them!” (Really? How often do you thank me for all I do for you?”) As they got older I complained that they were too busy for me. I certainly didn’t surprise God with that one! (“Hmmm. My children are too busy for me too!”) Of course, I always realized that God was referring to me. As a parent, God has been so patient and loving with me.
There are sacred responsibilities and privileges that come with being a mother. Nurturing them to know and obey the Lord is the most important. Thankfully I know my children will spend eternity in heaven. At this time in my life, I think prayer is my most important assignment. When my children were younger, I had the illusion that I was in control. As they got older, I began to see how little control I actually had. I had to begin what would become a continual process of letting them go and surrendering them to the Lord. Now, I must do the same with my grands. They have wings, although there is a part of me that would like to keep them under my wings. That is where prayer comes in. I remind them frequently that I am praying for them and that there is nothing the devil hates worse than a praying grandmother. One day, when they have grandchildren of their own, I hope they will remember me that way…as a praying grandmother.
When my babies were little, my precious grandmother would tell me, “These are the best days of your life. One day you will want them back.” She was so right. The days are long, but the years are short. Oh, I don’t want to go completely back to the child-rearing years. But I would just like to have one day, one hour with them as children. One more handmade Mother’s Day gift. I would love to have them snuggle up next to me and just be with me. Maybe that is what my Father wants: a day to just be with me. A day when I don’t come to Him with my want list. A day when I just enjoy His presence.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3 (ESV).