“Forgive me if I have tried to add anything to the one foundation,
if I have unconsciously relied upon my knowledge, experience, deeds, and not seen them as filthy rags,
if I have attempted to complete what is perfect in Christ;
may my cry be always, Only Jesus! only Jesus!”
~The Valley of Vision
There are no humbugs living at our house. We are celebrators who have a lot to celebrate!
As a child growing up in my parents’ home, I liked Mother’s Day. It prompted me to remember all the reasons I appreciated my mom. It was fun to make her cards, and as I grew older, to think up little gifts for her to enjoy.
Mother’s Day, 1993. I was expecting our first child. My mom had cancer.
Mother’s Day, 1994. Our first child was five months old. My mom was dying of cancer.
Mother’s Day, 1995. Our first child was almost one and a half, and I was expecting our second child. My mom had gone home to be with the Lord at age fifty-three.
She was a mother of quality, a godly woman who learned to submit herself to her Heavenly Father. I received more of value from her in the twenty-two years she mothered me than many women receive from their mothers if they live to be a hundred years old. Her goal for me was that I be ready for adulthood when the time came, and she worked faithfully to that end.
All the Mother’s Days, 1996 to 2010. The longer I was a mother, the harder Mother’s Day became for me. Of course I wore a cheerful face, so as not to hurt my children! And I have always truly loved being a mother!
But Mother’s Day? I no longer had a mom to give to. It was a day that took place between my children and me now. And the honoring words and attention my family gave me became a reminder to me of how far off I still was from being the perfect mom. I wouldn’t deserve all that until I was a mother without flaw. In fact, the more children God sent us, the further my goal of perfection seemed to recede from my grasp.
Mother’s Day, 2011. For the first time since my mom’s home-going, I savored Mother’s Day. (And not just because I took a nap. He he.)
What has changed?
Oooooh, have I now reached the sinless plane?
Am I patting myself on the back this year?
Do I now deserve all the moving words my children wrote to honor me?
“…this day serves as a glad and none-too-timely reminder to remember and act upon my duty and my affection.”
“I want you to understand that what I sincerely appreciate is not what you have accomplished. I appreciate you. Yourself. As a godly mother.”
“Hip, hip hurray! Applaud! Three cheers for Mom!”
“You have sacrificially invested yourself in this family. The older I get the more I am amazed by not only what it has cost but how total, how rare, how crucially influential and how irreplaceably valuable this investment is. And it bears fruit in its season.”
“It must be very hard to train up 10 children in the way of the Lord. It takes a lot of patience, and you have that. You and Dad train us up to be good wives and husbands, fathers and mothers (I know because I will try to be with all my heart and soul and mind and strength.”
“I would not give up my childhood for another even if I could. I’m going to be praising God to the end of my life that he graced our family with such a mother!”
“May God bless you for all your hard work.”
“I can’t put into words all that should rightfully be said, and anyway I wouldn’t be able to fit them on a single sheet. Really, they are better fit into action!” (Accompanied by a check for $200, for Katerina.)
“I would like to pledge $100 to Katerina’s cause for your sake, today. That is my gift to you, and with it goes some of the love which is but a fraction of what you have shown me.”
Treasure these words I will, and all the rest that were lavished on me yesterday!
But deserve them? Is that why I enjoyed Mother’s Day 2011?
No, way! It’s not like that at all! Which mom could ever! ever! deserve words like that!?
It’s just that the grace of God looks different to me than it ever has before. Or maybe it’s that everything else looks different because I’m increasingly seeing it through the lens of God’s grace.
Of course I understood that I could not earn my salvation! But as His child, I felt I needed to continually prove to Him that I was trying hard to be as perfect as possible, in order to gain His approval.
God used this year with this child of mine with her special needs to show me what He sees when He looks at me.
He is not comparing me with His other children. He is not holding me up against the developmental charts. He is not constantly rubbing my face in how far I have to go. He is not impatient with my slow progress. He does not resent the sacrifice He made for me.
His grace has made me accepted in the Beloved.
I am accepted in the Beloved.
A friend of mine, a dear and sensitive mother to many, and one who has struggled all her life with doubt and fear, wrote these words to me several months ago–
“Just yesterday He blew me away again as I was battling anxiety at making a wrong decision and displeasing Him and causing Him to withdraw His presence from me. I had “It is Well with My Soul” playing while I did my hair. The words “my sin not in part but the whole, was nailed to the cross and I bear it no more” just cut through, and in a flash the Lord caused me to be able to see that even if I make a wrong decision there is therefore no condemnation for me because I am hidden in Him. I can be fearless and bold to step out and do what I believe to the best of my ability, looking to Him for counsel, and not be frozen by fear and anxiety.”
“…having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
What needed to be done has been done for me.
I live in a privileged place of acceptance in Him…
…and I can see it in living color, right before my eyes, every day. It is true, and I can’t miss it.
“The life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
And that is why Mother’s Day gave me joy, yesterday.