I LOVE being a mom. From as far back as I can remember it was a dream of mine. To hold a little one in my arms, calm their fears and tears, watch them grow, the hugs, the kisses…all of it. I couldn’t wait. As I got older, I discovered just how serious a job parenting was and realized the goal was to raise healthy, wise and fruitful adults – and that seemed terrifying.
I am thankful that there is a God of grace that oversees my parenting. What I cannot do in my flesh, he does by the Spirit that lives inside me. I am so far from being the perfect parent, but that makes my son a better person. My imperfection allows God to work inside him and helps to create the man that he’s purposed to be.
To all you moms out there just trying to get through today: Pause, grab a coffee and read through this message from our sister Ann Voskamp.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms. And all the sisters, aunts, and friends that love like them.
Yeah — if you’re being gut honest here — you don’t really want the cards or the flowers.
Or what gets wrapped up in shiny paper, or stuffed in a bag with wrinkled tissue paper, or anything that gets tied up and presented with these dangling tendrils of curling ribbon.
What you really wanted is to be extraordinarily, obviously, good at this. At this mothering thing.
You wanted to be the best at this.
You wanted to take the podium and gold medal in mothering — not take a million timeouts behind some locked bathroom door, turn on the water so no one hears you sobbing at what a mess this whole shebang is, and how you’d like to run away. Ask me how I know?
Honest? You wanted to be more.
You wanted to be more patient — you wanted to never lose it, to always have it together, to keep calm and that is all, always, — and yeah, take their tantrums with a grain of salt instead of throwing one of yours that turned out to be a first class tsunami and a tad bit more dramatic than theirs.
You wanted more flashes of wisdom in the heat of the moment when you had no bloody idea what was the best thing to do, when you flung up an S.O.S. prayer, made The Call on the deal that was facing the kid and you —- and the kid hated you for it and you crawled into bed feeling like a heel who always gets it wrong when everyone else gets it right.
You’d about give your eye teeth and your left arm for more time. More time to get it more right and less wrong.
More time so that you could that leave that one more thing that ended up not mattering a hill of beans in the long run, so you could take the time to lay there in the dark with them after prayers and talk about the deep things that only come in the exhale of last light out, and rub their back till they fall asleep.
You want a do-over.
You wanted to be better.
Never once did you ask to come stumbling into this with all this baggage — all this mess that your parents sent you packing with, all these unhealthy-coping mechanisms, all these triggers, all this unspoken broken.
What you really want, desperately, wildly, in spite of everything — is for them to remember the good…. to remember enough of the times you whispered, “I Love You” … to know how many times you broke your heart and how how hard you really tried.
All you want? Is for them to feel a deep sense of safety, that they are safe to trust people, safe to dream large, safe to believe, safe to try, safe to love large and go fly — and you need to know that you haven’t wrecked that. That they feel the certain, tender embrace of your love —- in spite of all the storming times you acted unlovely.
Could someone just wrap up … a bit of Grace?
What every mother wants, her most unspoken need — is a truckload of Grace.
Grace that buries her fears that her faith wasn’t enough, and that her faults were too many.
Grace that washes her dirty wounds and wounds the devil’s lies.
Grace that says she doesn’t have to try to measure up to anyone else because Jesus came down — and He measures her as good enough, as worthy enough, as loved more than enough.
“Grace holds you when everything else falls apart — and whispers that everything is really falling together.”
What happened in the past can’t change it, and nothing in the future can intimidate the reality of it — and it’s what your soul aches for the most —- and it’s the realest true:
You don’t have to be afraid —
because you have a Father.
You don’t have to know how to do it all.
You just have to choose to be all here, right where you are.
His grace meets you in the moment — and you will miss it if you are worrying about future moments.
Lock your thoughts in this moment — and you get to live the freest of all.
When you focus on living only in the grace of this moment — is exactly when you get the grace of a momentous life. Live in the moment — and you get a momentous life.
That is all …
“You don’t have to be awesome and do everything. You simply have to believe that the One who is Awesome loves you through everything.” ~The Broken Way
And when the mothers sat with that….
When the mothers sat with that,
when they gave themselves that, when they opened up and unfolded all this Grace…
when they were given it …
and when they let it completely enfold them —
all these wounds healed in a thousand unspoken broken places.
Ann Voskamp is the author of four New York Times Bestsellers, including The Broken Way, The Greatest Gift, Unwrapping The Greatest Gift, and One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. To learn more about Ann’s ministry and to read her original post, click here.