Happy Mother’s Day, you guys! I hope your week has been perfect. But let’s be real. Perfection is such fake.
Motherhood isn’t a fake, though. It’s also not perfect and, quite frankly, it’s a little strange. Everyone will tell you motherhood is one of the most significant things you’ll ever do in your life, but the day-in, day-out work of mothering people feels exceedingly insignificant. Most days, motherhood feels like an eternity spent in a wilderness asking, “WHAT AM I EVEN DOING HERE?”
Because here we all are, in the middle of endless diapers and sleepless nights with babies, folding thousands of baskets of laundry, spending hours in the car driving to practices and lessons, or waiting up for teenagers to get home until we pass out on the sofa. We obviously can’t get enough because we do it all again the next day. This begs the question:
Why does a mother do the things she does?
Certainly, we don’t do all of this so that on this one Sunday in May, our families can try extra hard to show us that they appreciate us. The pay-off does not compensate nearly enough.
I mean, I love breakfast in bed and awesome presents. But I’ve always had a nagging feeling about Mother’s Day. Like it wasn’t quite enough, or like there was some important bit of information missing. This forced celebration of maternal women didn’t make sense somehow. But it seemed terribly selfish and ungrateful to say anything critical about a day that was supposed to make me feel appreciated and adored.
Then I finally figured it out. All because Select Baseball and Pink Mom Jerseys have happened to our family.
Select Baseball means my son is playing in a baseball tournament on Mother’s Day. It means we will race back and forth between the fields and our church like crazed Jesus people. We will do this because we love God and our church too much to miss gathering together, and because our son and our baseball family mean so much to all of us.
So, because baseball tournament organizers are soulless people who do not even like mothers, I will once again spend Mother’s Day at the fields. There are exactly 7 moms in the the USA who actually want to sit for six hours on another Sunday watching their sons play baseball instead of going to brunch after a spa day. Those women will have the Mother’s Day of their dreams this weekend.
I’m so happy for them. Really. Lucky ladies, all of them.
For me, it’s not my favorite.
I mean, I love to watch my kids play baseball, but it doesn’t feel particularly celebratory of motherhood, if you know what I mean.
The whole plan for Sunday is filled with “meh” for me.
However, to lighten the mood, on every Mother’s Day tournament weekend, each boy on my son’s team wears a special pink jerseys with his mom’s name on the back of his jersey. The boys love this, and call each other by their mom’s name for the whole tournament.
“Good eye, Stacey!”
“That was all you, Carrie!”
“Hey, Nancy, you better run!”
Hilarious. Teenage boys are the best thing ever.
The pink jersey is a very sweet gesture. It’s an attempt to highlight to these kids that their moms are special, and to make it up to the moms that the day that’s supposed to be all about us is actually all about our sons.
Even so, the pink jersey and my name show me there is no sacrifice any of my kids can ever do to convince me that they have one tiny iota of an idea about what it takes to be their mom. Because I don’t do all of the mom things I do so that they will wear a shirt and claim me as their mom.
I do it all because I can’t stop willing and working with everything in me to prove to each of my children that they are worthy of love; that they are valuable enough to protect; that they will never have to do anything alone; and I will always champion them and their dreams at every turn of the road.
Even if I have to spend Mother’s Day sweating in a folding chair at the baseball fields.
Which I do.
I have not lost the thread of God’s great love for me in all of this. The way I wear the name of Jesus every day as I do all sorts of things that have nothing to do with really celebrating him. I see the way the Holy Spirit cheers and advocates for me in all my dreams. I feel God’s delight in watching me step up to the plate in my life and swing for the fences. And like the boys on my son’s team, God is cheering for me by shouting his Son’s name. The miraculous way I have been clothed in the holiness of Jesus and his greatness is one of the most beautiful mysteries of life.
Motherhood has taught me this, but I could have learned this lots of different ways if I had been willing to love someone else more than myself before having children. I don’t think I ever really did, though. I was slow and stubborn in my selfishness for a long time. Thankfully, love is a patient tutor, and sacrificial love will humble you and raise you out of your insignificance if you’ll choose its path.
I hope you do. I hope that you look for ways to wear God’s name well every day, and celebrate his kindness and goodness. I hope that even when you must bend away from your own will and give up your right to get what you deserve, you bow before him instead and look to give away any power or privilege that you may have received in this life.
So if you’re up to your eyebrows in seemingly insignificant life details, look no further than Jesus for a hope that can erase the cynicism our culture offers us.
Insignificance wants us to think that our day-in, day-out lives don’t matter. The gospel means that everything good and beautiful hinges on the love and mercy God gives us and asks us to give to the world.
Love matters. Kindness matter. People matter.
I hope you have a perfect weekend. (Even if perfection is a fake.)