Every mom can close her eyes and visualize the ideal Mother’s Day.
Older moms envision their kids all together in one place, laughing and enjoying each other in sanctified bliss. Young moms dream of sweet notes from their kids and a few hours of gorgeous solitude with iced coffee in hand.
Sometimes those dreams come true, and sometimes–Poof!–they disappear in a cloud of pointless arguments or diaper blowouts.
As moms, it’s best to hold our expectations loosely, embracing good gifts when they come as well as the coarser realities of our calling. We learn quickly that we can’t control our circumstances, but we can, with the help of God’s Spirit, press on in the privileged role called Mother. After all, we don’t live this life for the momentary rest sanctioned by one Hallmark holiday in May, but for the glory of the God who promises unparalleled rest to the faithful.
Whether we receive our happy family photos and iced coffees–or not–let’s be moms who stand firm in the faith: praying for, pursuing, and persevering with our children all 365 days of the year.
Prayer, our mightiest parental tool, can feel counterintuitive because we’re so used to solving problems. Our son skins his knee so we clean and bandage it; our daughter struggles with algebra so we labor over it with her each evening. We’re used to being needed and, for the most part, dealing with the dilemmas we encounter. Tada! Mom to the rescue.
The truth is we can’t bandage hearts and quiz our children into maturity; we need God to move in their lives. Philippians 4:6 instructs us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Basically, God tells us to stop worrying and trying to do everything ourselves and instead to bring our burdens to him in prayer. This is something all moms can do in all circumstances.
One of the holiest duties of parenthood is to image the love of God for our kids. Our Lord patiently pursued us in our rebellion and immaturity, and we get to do the same for them, whether they’re 3 or 33. God can use our imperfect but steadfast love for our children to draw them to himself. What a sobering and meaningful opportunity. Yes, we’d love if the pursuit was always mutual, but that shouldn’t stop us from doing what God has called us to do.
How can you pursue your son or daughter with steadfast love? Can you show interest in their music? Get into a sport with them? Maybe even play a mindless video game and laugh at the results? Pursuing the hearts of younger children should include loving, faithful discipline but also lying on the basement floor designing Lego fortresses. Parents of older children might extend the love of Christ through encouraging texts or gifts sent through the mail. Options are infinite, but the goal is singular: to reflect the loving pursuit of a God who “came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
Last spring I watched a mother bird feed her four squawking babies who lived in a tiny birdhouse by our deck. She worked tirelessly, bringing worms she had fought hard for, only to be met by the chaos of screeching, grabbing beaks. No display of gratitude was to be found for the endless toil of this mother, who was back to work quickly with a flap of her wings.
We wouldn’t trade it for the world, but motherhood can be tiring, both physically and emotionally. Our Lord knows. That’s why he gives us this reminder in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
That mama bird would not have seen her children fly from her nest, strong and healthy, if she had quit her worm hunt in a flutter of exasperation. Her endurance paid off. The seasons of persevering faith are much longer for us, and we may not see the harvest until eternity. But our parental privilege of prayer, pursuit, and perseverance is a duty of delight when we work in the strength of God, who himself prays, pursues, and perseveres with us.