Saturday, May 8, 2010
My Least Favorite: Mother's Day, An Epiphany
Mother's Day is often a day of bitterness for me. This last week leading up to Mother's Day has been rough, and I've been so emotionally drained that I haven't wanted to sleep or carry on with my daily duties. Of course, this week I had more on my plate than usual, since that is how life works. I barely made it. If it weren't for the great attitudes of the kids, and their optimism with life in general, I would have spent all day online while they ran wild and starving.
In meditating upon my life, I am wondering why Mother's Day is so depressing for me. It's not like the day is horrible or anything. I am thinking that it has something to do with a selfish desire to be appreciated and honored for the role I play as mother. What's wrong with that, you ask? Well, sometimes in my heart I do this job because I want to glorify myself. Secretly I want fame, fortune, to feel "successful" and have my worth come from the commendations of those I serve. Having said that, I am now thinking I'm in the wrong line of work.
Day to day, I fight the uphill battle of housework. The mounds of laundry are endless, the crumbs on the floor relentless, the dishes and sticky counters invasive. Then there is the daily training of the children where persistence, patience and perseverance are musts on a minute by minute basis. On top of that, the maintenance of marriage requires more patience, constant forgiveness, diligent discernment, open and kind communication, respectful and loving behavior and humble submission. There is not a moment to relax and breath. Every moment, every thought must be dedicated to others.
But on Mother's Day, I want the day to be about me. What would I like for breakfast? What would I like to do after church? What would I like for a gift, and what should the children make for me? I want everyone to show their appreciation for me by joyfully and willingly and lovingly doing my job for a day. The house stays clean, the children are off playing nicely and the husband is doting on me and hanging out chit-chatting. It would be all about me. Me, me, me, me, me.
My expectations of having a perfect day dedicated to honoring me are way too high. The whole problem is my favorite word, "me". Simply put, it is not about me at all. Life and the universe do not orbit around me. I am not in this profession for glory or fame. In fact, the above description of my job goes to show me that I fall short of being the perfect housewife and mother. I do my best, but I wish my best was better.
Mother's Day is depressing for me because I want to feel special. I want to be treated special so I can feel worthwhile. You might not see the fault in that. You might even say that I should deserve to be especially treated. But every Mother's Day, I am not treated any differently than if it was a normal day off. And I want to be Queen of the Day. I practically want my husband and children serving at my beck and call, and know that I deserve it. Therein lies the problem. I am relying upon people to fill in my bucket of self-worth. And sadly, that bucket is always left nearly empty.
I must refocus my lens and stick to the Truth. My job has been assigned by the Big Boss. He has given me one of the most honorable jobs that a woman could be entrusted with. He understands how hard the job is. In the Bible, it says in Isaiah 40:11--
Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes. (www.biblegateway.com)
Mothers are near and dear to His Heart. And there I should be placing my worth. To Him, I am worth sacrificing and dying for. To Him, I am worthy enough to be blessed with husband and children. My worth comes from humbling myself, releasing my desire to conform to the world and seek man's approval. Instead, I realize my fallibility, my sinfulness, my imperfections, my daily struggles and I give them up to Him. I focus in on His Blessings, His Trustworthiness, His Strength, His Power, His Sovereignty, His Faith, His Undying Love, His Personal Investment into my life through Jesus. There is none like Him, certainly nothing created.
Here and now, I let go of all those selfish desires to be acknowledged as that perfect mother who knows all and does all. I release the desire to be worshiped, and turn my own worship to God above. I know how He feels about me, and He is Perfect. He is Not Wrong, and by bowing at His Feet and obeying Him and serving Him by fulfilling even the most mundane of duties, He fills my worth bucket until it is overflowing. Through Solomon, God says in Proverbs 31:30--
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Suddenly, Mother's Day doesn't seem so bad. I give honor and praise, not to myself, but to the God who created me to be specifically a wife and mother. Drawing upon the Holy Spirit for comfort and peace, the burden of selfishness has been lifted. To be God's good and faithful servant is all I need.
So I may not be Queen of the Day, but by acknowledging His Love and Plan for my life, I become God's Princess. Nothing could be better than that.