Mother’s Day: Love It and Hate It

Mother’s Day. I kind of love it and I sort of hate it.

My kids are so sweet; they make me cards and I always enjoy at least one piece of toast in bed. And if life hasn’t been too ridiculous, my husband will have endured a trip with four kids to the dollar isle at Target for a new pizza cutter or a dish towel. I love the homemade cards that tell me that I am the “Best Mom Ever.” I proudly hang them on my fridge. I just wish they spoke the truth.

The thing I hate about Mother’s Day is that I know myself too well. I’m not the best mom ever. I know my sin. I know the way that listening to my six-year-old sound out word after agonizing word of his reading homework makes me want to rip my face off. I know the way that the sass of my eight year old makes me roll my eyes. I know the way that I have sighed every time I’ve said my ten-year-old’s name this week. I know how annoyed I get when my thirteen-year-old asks for forgiveness…again. I know my laziness and my selfishness. And, to some extent, so do my kids.

The deal is that I am not a very good faker. The honesty that comes through in my writing is the same honesty that my family sees…but within the confines of our home it is unedited, raw, and much messier. They get the first draft, the rough cut that the rest of the world will never see.

And guess what: It’s not as shameful or “ungodly” as some may think for me to share my mess with the world. Is that not what Paul encouraged when he told us to boast in our weakness? The extent of our mess only highlights the breadth of Jesus’ salvation.

There are some who think that moms shouldn’t share their mess. And if you believe the lie that everything is riding on a mother’s shoulders, that she is the backbone of her children’s happiness, spirituality, and overall success as human beings, then I can certainly understand tucking your messes into your cute little apron pocket.

But where is the freedom in that? Where is the celebration of what Christ has done on our behalf when we have to hide behind our perfectly plopped Jell-O molds?

If Mother’s Day is truly about celebrating Moms, shouldn’t we love them as they are? Shouldn’t we be encouraging them to be free? To be real? Isn’t this the message that we want our mom’s to hear: “I know you are a mess, but I still love you”?

All too often the message to mothers is that if we admit we are messy then we are presenting failure as virtue. We are told that we need to clean ourselves up and get busy trying harder to obey the law because our children are watching, our neighbors are watching, younger mothers are watching…everyone’s watching, so we’d better make it good.

Christ came for the lowest of the low. He came for the failures, he came because we have messed it all up. He came for the moms who don’t deserve those “Best Mom Ever” cards. He didn’t come to ask us to clean up and come back when we are ready to follow the rules. No, he came because we couldn’t follow the rules, couldn’t be the moms we want to be, and couldn’t get our act together no matter how hard we tried. He came and he told us that we had a choice: be perfect or admit our imperfection and come to him.

Knowing that the law was meant to bring us to our knees and make us beg for mercy, we can go to our knees willingly and admit that it’s impossible for us to be everything that our kids need, surrender that beast of burden, and receive not only mercy but also grace upon grace upon grace (Jn 1:16). The weight of the world does not rest upon a mother’s shoulders; it rests upon Christ’s work on her behalf.

Mothers, Mother’s Day can be a reminder that you are free to be a mess. You can stop pretending to have it all together. You can stop believing that this whole motherhood thing is about you and your performance. Your worth is not in what you do as a mother but in what Christ has done for you. He took your mess to the cross and calls you beloved daughter.

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