Wednesday, May 16, 2012

They mean something to me.

During the days leading up to Mother's Day, I realized just how frequently my kids affectionately show me their love and appreciation. There are little bits of paper, cards, notes, and various creations tucked in my books, along mirror frames, and scattered over the surface of my nightstand and desk top. I am greeted with good morning kisses, little bundles of flowers during the day, and sighs of disappointment when I must leave for a few hours. These are just a few of the things that spoke to me last week.

As moms, we often feel overworked and under appreciated. At times I've longed for more help, more thoughtfulness, more appreciation. But last week as I looked around my bedroom one morning, it struck me that my kids are loving me the best way they know how. They don't know that a mere "thank you" or "what can I do to help?" would be preferable to yet another piece of paper with a scribbled out heart. They don't know that as the housekeeper, I'd prefer for them to keep their rooms clean than to stomp into the kitchen with dirty shoes to deliver another couple flowers, hardly visible with all the weeds and dangling roots. I'd like for them to routinely pick up the dish towel after dinner without being asked.

No matter what they still need to learn in terms of thoughtfulness and maturity, I need to appreciate their humble little efforts that say "I love and appreciate you" no matter what those efforts are, or what I wish they were. Their thoughtful gestures are indeed meaningful. They are enough.

I didn't need anything for Mother's Day this year, even though a delicious lunch and the effort Jon put into helping our kids with gifts was appreciated. The most precious of gifts are given when they are not expected, and those type of gifts --even in the most simplest of forms-- are abundant in our home. I am very thankful for this.

I have always desired for my children to know --to really and truly know-- that they are enough to me. They are accepted by me; they are loved without having to earn that love. But over the years as my kids have grown and life has also grown busier and more complex, I have found it difficult to consistently and explicitly communicate these things to them. I have found that it takes constant effort and determination on my part, sometimes even planning what and how I am going to communicate these things as I start a new day.

We live in a time when motherhood is not esteemed very highly, partly because children are not valued. I read this article some time ago and thought I would post a portion here to remind myself this: It's my job to instill and nurture in my children their value and then, once again, point to the love of Jesus.

"Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.

Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.

Our culture is simply afraid of death. Laying down your own life, in any way, is terrifying. Strangely, it is that fear that drives the abortion industry: fear that your dreams will die, that your future will die, that your freedom will die—and trying to escape that death by running into the arms of death.

But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.

Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back.

The Bible is clear about the value of children. Jesus loved them, and we are commanded to love them, to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord. We are to imitate God and take pleasure in our children."

(~Rachel Jankovic)

No matter how grand I like to think of my role as mother, the fact remains that it is a humble work. I am  thankful today because this humble work has brought me much joy and satisfaction. The Lord has mercifully worked in me to see life differently and to find meaning in what He deems meaningful.



  1. i loved reading this. You always have such a wonderful perspective on life. I love that you recognized that they're doing the best they know. That opened my eyes to see my children differently.

  2. Wow, Katherine, very helpful (and convicting) stuff. Thank you.


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