Happy Mother's Day to everyone! I'm not so far removed from this holiday to remember that it is sometimes filled with dread, sadness, and resentment. For those who are unable to have children, for those who have lost their mothers, and for those who struggle to honor the women who have fallen short, I am praying.
This year though, my Mother's Day is bittersweet as I remember my three babies in heaven, and I'm blessed by my new, beautiful baby boy here on earth.
When my mother was here visiting last week, we were preparing a meal or cleaning something together when I started rubbing my left eye.
I complained to my mom that my left eye had started this annoying habit of twitching all the time. I'd never had this happen before, so I had pretty much written it off as a symptom of my seasonal allergies.
My mom chuckled as we worked side-by-side. She told me that she suffered from that same twitch. It had nothing to do with allergies, but it had everything to do with exhaustion.
She said that she also developed the same twitch when my older brother was born. Now that I (the baby of my family) have been out of her house for almost a decade, she said that the twitch is finally starting to go away.
For thirty years, my mother has suffered from this left-eye-twitch.
Despite her lack of a medical degree, I suspect her diagnosis is right; My life currently is exhausting.
Nasko moves at 100 miles an hour. He's still mentally as impulsive as a toddler and cannot be left in a room alone (otherwise, you know, he might stick a serving spoon into the outlet where his fan was once plugged in or lick an unidentified object in our front yard - something potentially deposited by the dog.)
I'm currently trying to balance the life of a minister's wife, working woman, housekeeper, and cook, all while figuring out this new role as a mother - a new mother whose baby doesn't take a bottle, and who certainly doesn't take three naps during the day.
Being a mom is exhausting. The hours are long, the pay is non-existent, and the job is messy.
But, let's be honest, it's really not about the moms.
Let's look at Proverbs 31 in the bible. This chapter is somewhat of a guide or a checklist for godly women, noble wives, and Christian mothers:
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
I try to bring good to my husband, check! So, it's typically in the form of good eating, but it's good nonetheless!
She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant's ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day's work for her servant girls.
Number one - I missed the part where I get servant girls... Number two - getting up before dawn! Check! Nasko sees that I am a "Proverbs 31 woman" by dragging me out of bed before the sun comes up!
She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night.
I am an energetic and strong worker these days. Do you even know what type of muscles can be built by jumping on a trampoline three to four times-a-day?!
Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes.
I for sure don't fear winter. This has been the warmest spring on record...
She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. Ok, so I'm not much of a seamstress, but I will admit that Chance is well-known by others. EVERY time we go ANY where he sees someone he knows. And has to chat with. So, check mark on that one...
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.
Now, does my three-and-a-half hour nap today count as laziness?
Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: "There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!"
In fact, Chance regularly says nice things to me, but I've never once heard him say that...
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise. (Proverbs 31:10-31 NLT)
So, if you look at Proverbs 31 as a checklist, I pretty much fail. I don't own my own property. I can't sew to save my life. I do NOT stay up late at night...
But as I mentioned right before reading these verses, it's really not about the moms.
It's about our selflessness.
This ideal woman that Solomon is describing is very, very selfless. She puts the needs of others before her own.
She would wake up before dawn in order to read her bible and pray, knowing that soon her sleepy child would enter the room.
She would cook many of her family's foods from scratch because of her child's allergies and intolerances.
She would jump on the trampoline or sing the "There Were Twelve Disciples..." song 34 times before putting her child to bed.
She would diligently rub lotion on her child after every bath in order to prevent a skin infection.
She would kiss her child goodnight and forgive him for all the times he hit her, bit her, and defied her in the past hour, let alone the past day.
Because friends, it isn't all about us.
It's about selflessness.
It's about putting others before ourselves.
It's about taking a sick friend to the hospital when they have no one to give them a ride.
It's about praying with a friend who fears an overseas trip.
It's about caring for the oppressed by helping to feed them every month.
It's about giving a coworker the job with a bigger commission because their family is struggling.
It's about mowing the neighbor's yard while she's receiving treatment for cancer.
It's about encouraging a child who seemingly receives very little encouragement.
Dear friends, let us not just focus on mothers today. Let us all focus on being selfless in every role of our lives.
Let us all demonstrate noble character by thinking of others as better than ourselves.
Let us not only imitate the Proverbs 31 woman, but, more importantly, let us imitate Christ:
Philippians 2:3-5 NLT- Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.