This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. To be perfectly honest, it started exactly the same as any other Sunday. I got up with my three kids around 6:30 and made them breakfast. As precious and dear as my children are, there was a significant amount of whining that morning over what was being served for breakfast and what color bowl it was being served in. Who knew kids cared so much about the color of their cereal bowls?
My husband, Will, woke up when the noise level began to escalate. He separated the older two into their rooms to cool off. From the back of the house I could hear him say, “Today is Mother’s Day. That means no crying allowed, got it? Now go out there and wish Mommy a Happy Mother’s Day and tell her that you love her.”
The day started to look up from there. They both came out of their rooms with happy, smiling faces and immediately got out crayons and paper to make me a card. Whether this act of kindness was their idea or a product of the guilt trip their father just gave them will never be known. All I know is that I got some pretty adorable, homemade Mother’s Day cards out of the deal.
We spent the next hour darting around the house getting ready to leave for church. I often find myself chuckling over the irony of getting my family ready to walk out the door for worship on a Sunday morning. With three young children ages 4 and under it can be rather hectic, to say the least. I can’t help but notice that those spiritual “fruits” of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are often running low among the craziness of a rushed, Sunday morning.
Once we arrived at church we dropped the kids off in their preschool class. Will and I used to volunteer in the preschool ministry. We entered into early retirement, however, when it dawned on us that our home, in essence, is a preschool ministry. Now we work with the middle school kids which, some might argue, are way more challenging than three-year-olds.
We headed over to the middle school worship service after that. We walked into a room of loud, wild teens playing a special Mother’s Day themed game that was perfect for the brains of 6th, 7th and 8th graders. On one side of the room there were two, three-person teams operating giant sling shots, like the kind you see in a massive water balloon fight. Only they weren’t launching water balloons; they were launching baby dolls through the air to a teammate on the other side of the room. If that person caught a baby doll, they had to run it back to a table where another teammate was waiting with cups and a gallon of milk. For every baby doll brought to the table, they had to chug a cup full of milk. Needless to say, it was hilarious and ridiculous. Nothing says “Happy Mother’s Day” like a fleet of baby dolls being violently catapulted through the air.
Afterwards, Will and I made our way over to the “grownup” service. As we were leaving the middle school wing, we ran into a number of the families who had just finished with the Baby Dedication that had taken place in the main worship center. Having just paraded their little ones across the stage in front of a whole congregation, the families were all looking rather adorable in their coordinating outfits and Sunday best.
I couldn’t help but take note in the stark contrast between the way middle schoolers celebrate Mother’s Day and the way actual mothers celebrate Mother’s Day. Imagine the shock if the two were accidentally switched and the lead Pastor was sling-shotting real infants up into the balcony for Baby Dedication Sunday. It certainly makes for a good mental picture, doesn’t it?
Once we finally made our way to the sanctuary, I was excited to hear the song “In Christ Alone” being belted out by the praise team and congregation. Hands down, this is my favorite worship song.
In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my All in All,
Hear in the love of Christ I stand!
The sermon that followed was wonderful and very appropriate for Mother’s Day. The pastor used the parable of the persistent widow found in Luke, chapter 18, verses 1-8 to illustrate Godly characteristics of a faithful, modern-day mom; a mom who trusts in the Lord, is persistent in prayer, has a walk of faith, lives with integrity, provides security, makes provision, practices a life of worship and who shows love to her children through encouraging words, as well as through discipline. My favorite line from the lesson that day was, “Sometimes a parent has to do the hard thing so their kids will do the right thing.” How very true.
I left the worship center that day feeling proud of my “Mom” status and inspired to live out my role as a mother the way God would want me to. For the remainder of the day, I also had the words of “In Christ Alone” echoing through my head. After all, it is In Christ Alone that I am a mom. He created me, pursued me and turned my world upside-down. He provided a husband for me and gave us three adorable yet rather rambunctious kiddos.
It is In Christ Alone that I have the energy and strength to wake up each and every day and take care of my family.
It is In Christ Alone that I live a life of thanksgiving and joy, even when my circumstances say otherwise.
I place my identity and self-worth In Christ Alone. Not in my material possessions, career, education, physical appearance, health or social media standing. Not in my role as a daughter, friend, wife or mother. Although my spouse and my children show their love for me on a daily basis, I feel most cherished and most worthy and most loved In Christ Alone; in what he did for me on that cross. Before you go thinking I have it all together, please know that thoughts trying to tell me otherwise creep into my mind every second of every day. Were it not for the Holy Spirit constantly and gently reminding me of this truth I would be a puddle of tears and anxiety on the floor. Seriously. Also, exercise. Exercise combined with Jesus helps to keep me from reaching puddle status.
It is In Christ Alone that God can look upon me and see a holy, righteous and blameless person despite all of my shortcomings and mess-ups as a Mom… a wife… a human being.
Lastly, it is In Christ Alone that I have confident hope in knowing that, even when this life on earth ends for both me and my family, it will really only just be getting started. Whew! Thank God for that! What a total bummer it would be if we died and were just… dead.
Even if your Mother’s Day, like mine, wasn’t overly glamorous or exciting according to the standards of our culture, I hope and pray you were able to rest as a Mom in the love, the hope, the peace and the joy that comes from Christ alone.