Ah, Mother’s Day, oddly enough, not my favorite holiday. Perhaps it is the superficial sentimentality. Perhaps it is the struggles I’ve had in trying to love and forgive my own Mother. When you’re tied to a narcissist, when you are their narcissistic supply, every day becomes mother’s day. There has been great healing there, forgiveness and acceptance, but these things linger, especially the damage that comes from always having to be the grown up. I have been my mother’s caretaker since I was born, something that continues to this day. I must say however, God has been good, there has been tremendous healing there, so I have gone from caretaker to caregiver, and there is peace in my soul, there is deliberate choosing, rather than being trapped in a compulsive dance of co-dependancy.
I sometimes quip that God gave me my parents just to see what I was made of. No one has been more surprised than I am to discover that what I am made of is pretty remarkable. What I can survive emotionally and spiritually is astounding. God has done that for me, God has made that possible, but God has taken it one step farther, God has made it fun, this rich treasure trove of wisdom and delight hidden around every corner. He promised too, long ago, surrender all and trust me and I will hand you beauty for ashes. He wasn’t kidding, He is faithful and true.
I’m a mom too, four times over and we are often filled with sentimentality on Mother’s Day, not a bad thing at all, but somewhere amid the flowers and cards I am reminded that motherhood is actually a Herculian task, that it is about love and love can be very painful, it can rip your heart out, leave you broken and shattered. We often fall in love with our children the moment they are born, love at first sight, but they can be like wearing your heart on the outside of your body. Your whole being, your treasure in this tiny, vulnerable package that immediately wants to go its own way. And your job from day one is to help them leave you. That’s what we all want as moms, to eventually work ourselves out of a job, to set a piece of our heart free in the world.
To set a piece of our heart free in a fallen, broken world that is sure to deliver grief, suffering, and hardship, all things we cannot protect our own children from, some who will be hit harder than others, some who will face challenges that will leave us powerless, unable to do anything but bear witness to their suffering. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart.
No one understands that kind of grief better than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the price to be paid for love. On the cross, even in the midst of His own suffering, He called out, Woman, behold thy son!
“When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” John 19:26-27
I never cease to be amazed by the fact that Mary is given Joseph to look after her, and eventually the disciples too. One thing that makes motherhood doable, survivable, bearable, is Fathers, earthly ones and our heavenly one, too.