I love the book, “I Wish That I Had Duck Feet (Theo LeSieg, 1965).” I loved reading it as a child, and then reading it to my children, and now to my grandchildren. The story is about a little boy who is unsatisfied with his present life. He longs to be different – better! He wishes for various animal characteristics: elephant nose, whale spout, duck feet, etc. As the story progresses, and with each enhancement he wishes for, he realizes it comes at a cost. At the end of the story he decides he doesn’t really want any of the animal characteristics. He had wanted a new elephant nose to sneeze down the town bully, which was great, but his dad made him wash the car and the windows every Saturday. The little boy concludes that his real nose is perfect for that job too! 😊 Silly book, but it has some truth buried in the entertaining story and precious pictures.
As I approach this Mother’s Day, I realize that I have spent many of my 29 Mother’s Days in the same “I Wish” mode. Just like the little guy in the story, I have wished for all sorts of silly things. Just last Mother’s Day, I wished I was a simple 4-piece puzzle … one with wooden nobs and no interconnecting parts. One with a cow piece that fits only one way into a spot for a cow, and a horse, chicken and goat that only fit only one way too! Sounds quaint, huh? Instead, I am actually a 2,000-piece puzzle with a few missing pieces; sadly, many border pieces! I may have issues with boundaries! 😊
Maybe you are wishing that you were different too. Maybe you wish this because as you approach Mother’s Day you find that you are comparing yourself to other Moms.
We women listen to the little critical voices inside our heads. We are quick to be disgusted with ourselves and “wish” that we were different. God gives Moms a keen “Spidey” sense. Mommy power is intended to nurture and keep our children safe. I am thankful for it! This power has saved the lives of my children on countless occasions. In the time I was raising my children, I would suddenly get a sharp, keen awareness that it was too quiet outside where the boys were playing. And in the nick of time, I’d walk outside and save Michael from near death because his older brother had just attached leftover fireworks to his skateboard – to give him “jet speed!” Sisters, this is the correct use of your sensitivity and hyper awareness of every detail. This sensitivity and hyper awareness is not, however, intended for comparing yourself to every other mom on your block who may do this or that with her kids. I have always said, MOTHERHOOD is synonymous with guilt and self-loathing! But this must stop! No more should we think, “I wish I baked cookies every week like Sally does,” or “I wish I was volunteering at the school every day like Jennifer does,” or I wish I could stay home with my kids like Molly does,” or “I wish I had a degree that could support the cost of daycare and make it worth my while to work outside the home so that I can have a boss that doesn’t need burping or a midnight feeding.” 😊 This must end.
Sisters, let us forgo the wishing to be someone different this Mother’s Day! Instead, I say let us choose to celebrate and rejoice together! This year, be content with who you are … missing pieces and all. Focus on the real job at hand – raising your precious children, the next generation of believers. Let us also support each other along the way on this worthy path … regardless of the different routes we take! Yes, there are many acceptable and God-fearing routes for motherhood. Do not waste one more minute arguing that your way is correct: breast over the bottle, public school over home school, spanking over time outs. This year, act like family and true Sisters in Christ, linking arms while you are busy about doing the mission of raising Godly children. Take time and rejoice over God’s faithfulness to your family. I’ll start.
First, I rejoice that my children had issues and problems, because the issues and problems gave God a platform to prove Himself faithful time and time again. I rejoice in the trials and for the hard times that have produced steadfastness (James 1:2-3). My children have seen God’s faithfulness. Jody and I have always been quick to give God credit for all answered prayers and blessings! So, do not pray for perfect lives for your littles, but rather pray for God’s faithfulness to be manifested in each child’s life in a personal and powerful way!
Second, I rejoice in Christ’s redemptive work inside each member of my family. I’m thankful that my kids saw Jody and I love Jesus. All three of my children watched us walk out our faith with the goal of trusting God more each day. Time and time again, they watched us turn over regret, uncertainty and fear to God. I have prayed with each of my children to receive Jesus, and at times, during struggles to rededicate their lives to Him! What a blessing! I am confident I will spend eternity with my children (Romans 10:9)! Pray for all the children in your family, your neighborhood and in your church. This is the evidence of true Christian motherhood. This is how we support our sisters. We support them by praying for them; not preaching at or condemning them! Remember, the calling to Motherhood is a God thing. I am not bragging on anyone but God!
Third, I rejoice that all of my children are married to Christians and are seeking God in their marriages and in their adult lives. My children have watched their father and I love each other well, not perfectly, but better with each passing day. During the teen years, I’m sure they wished that Jody and I “had gotten a room” instead of smooching in the kitchen. 😊 I have faithfully loved my husband and have attempted to be his best spiritual friend! We have given our children a spiritual role model for a Christ-centered marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33)! I pray this will be the case for your children as well. At their birth, I began praying for Christian mates for my children. And I will gladly join you in this prayer as well. Staying washed in the word of God is a definite first step. Keep it up friend!
Fourth, I rejoice that my children view the world as a mission field – their mission field. They have watched my husband and I love the world (John 13:34-35). Our children have had a front row seat for observing discipleship. They have seen the good, the bad and the very messy in relationships. Today, they are all pursuing discipleship and are compassionate citizens. I am thankful for this and pray this is true in your family too! This is better than any bouquet of flowers. What a gift to my mother’s heart!
Fifth, I rejoice that because my husband and I are human, and because we have offended each other often, our kids have seen real life examples of forgiveness and repentance (Matthew 6:15). I rejoice in the power of forgiveness! Jody and I didn’t just talk about those words, we painstakingly did them, together, and with each other, with our whole family and with our friends. Now my children are the first to repent and to seek forgiveness in the messiness of life! As they are now grown up, my children walk through grown up hurts, but with the skills Jody and I practiced with them years ago. We never get too old to be wrong or to be wronged. Thank God for each and every argument that ends in repentance and forgiveness when your kids are small! These are not parenting failures, but rather opportunities to practice the power of the Gospel and to practice one of life’s most important of skills.
Lastly, I am thankful that as a family we attended church faithfully (Psalms 122:1). We considered the church to be an extension of our family; no matter how uncomfortable and messy was doing life with other people! 😊 This habit and truth is today evident in my children’s lives. I am thankful for it! Each part of the body is important and the church can only be effective when we all assume our places, said the happy pinkie toe! 😊
I never threw my children a birthday party worthy of a PINTEREST post … I mean it … I never did. I did not make my children the best costume for Halloween. Actually, for years we wouldn’t even let them participate. Bless their little hearts, huh? I did not grow my own garden to ensure my children’s food was genetically unaltered. I never made homemade bread. For the majority of my children’s lives, I worked outside the home. So, I was not a helicopter parent. I never completed a school work assignment for my children. If they did average work, they got an average grade. My children did not wear name brand clothes or drive a car manufactured in the current decade. Yet, I am content with my job as a Mom. This Sunday I will rejoice all day in how God used me to Mother my children!
For me, there is no wishing to turn back time, or to increase my parenting skills. Instead, there is for me rejoicing in God’s faithfulness. I encourage you sisters to do the same. It is your turn! Feel free to comment. I will gladly rejoice with you, or pray that God works His plan for your children’s good.
Happy Mother’s Day, my sweet readers and friends. I rejoice with you in God’s faithfulness in your lives and families as well. I pray that your children serve God with a cheerful heart, and that your true mission of motherhood is accomplished.
Stay washed in the Word!
My son, keep your father’s command
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Bind them always on your heart;
fasten them around your neck.
When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.