A Mother’s Day Reflection

Yesterday was my tenth Mother’s Day as a mom, if you count the one when my first child was still in my womb. And I do. This year, the day started off with my kids waking me up with giggles and hugs and begging me to open the cards and pictures they had made the night before. Each envelope had one of my favorite chocolates hastily taped to the outside. I had coffee in hand and breakfast on the nightstand before I had barely opened my eyes.

Husband for the win.

We all snuggled in the bed way too long and then had to rush around a bit to make it out the door on time. Since Mother’s Day always falls on a Sunday, we typically spend that morning at church. This year was no different. Once we had arrived and I had exchanged smiles, hugs, and Happy Mother’s Day! wishes with several women, we headed into the service. After singing only one song, our pastor asked us all to be seated. It was at that time that I saw the handful of gift bags near the front and remembered that child dedications were going to take place. I briefly recalled with fondness the dedications of my own children years before and smiled.

In our church, and in the churches we have attended over the years, dedicating a child has nothing to do with securing the salvation of the child or ensuring a life of full-time ministry. It is merely a way for parents to publicly commit to raise their child in a home where the God of the Bible is worshiped and where the Gospel is made known. It is such a joy to watch as parents acknowledge that their little girl or boy is a gift entrusted to them by our Creator God. It is so special to witness extended family surrounding those parents and their child, committing to pray for and love them in their parenting journey. I get teary-eyed every time. There is also a call to the church body to pray for and encourage the families and to continually point them to Jesus. We have a chance to witness and participate in this moment that declares the immense responsibility of raising a child but recognizes that the strength to do it well can never come from us. It is only by the grace of God poured out in our hearts and homes that we can be good parents. And it is only by His grace poured out in the hearts of our children that they will ever come to a saving faith in Jesus. That is what I pray for. That is what I earnestly desire.  And when we dedicated our own children to the Lord, we were saying to Him, “We know they are Yours. We know You love them more than we do.  Please use our lives to point them to You. We beg you to capture their hearts.” Child dedication is a precious picture of surrender that brings glory to God and joy to His people. I love being a part of it!

Most of the rest of the holiday was spent with family celebrating my mom and mother-in-law. Throughout the day, as I watched my children be silly and loud, and sometimes frustrating and irritating, I reflected on how truly grateful I am to be their mom. God has used them over and over to show me the ugliness of my heart and my desperate need for Him. Sometimes I call them my little sanctifiers because I was never more aware of my selfishness and bent toward anger and impatience than when I had children. He also uses them to teach me more about His love for me and His heart toward me in my brokenness. I can never imagine not loving my kids or wanting the best for them! Even when they drive me crazy and fight with each other about absurdly trivial things, I love them.  Even when they chew with their mouths open or chomp their cereal like rabid jackals, I adore them. They often make me laugh so hard I cry. They melt my heart with sweet notes and drawings and comments. They kiss and hug me and constantly tell me how much they love me. They want to be close to me. Sometimes every second. In all this, my flawed mama-heart gives me a tiny glimpse into the heart of my Father who loves me perfectly. That compels me to worship the God who loves me a million times more than I could ever love my kids. So much so that He gave His only Son to make a way for the world to come back to Him.

On this day-after-Mother’s Day, I am so thankful for my children, but I am more thankful for the Giver of all good things. Without Him, I would be lost in my sin and completely making a mess of this parenting gig. With Him, I am empowered to be His grace-covered child momming my way through this life in freedom and joy.

 

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