From the volume of messages hitting my inbox on this blessed Sunday, Mother’s Day has apparently found its way back around on the calendar. I must admit in all honesty, I dread this day each and every year. I’m not sure which one I find more difficult to stomach, Mother’s Day or my birthday. Right now, I’m going to vote for Mother’s Day though because I have the power to hide my birthday from others…but Mother’s Day is listed on just about every calendar in the United States. They even run commercials to make sure people don’t forget and the whole nine yards.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying mothers shouldn’t be celebrated. We most certainly should. The question is with the commercialization and advancements in social media…are you celebrating me or broadcasting how “attentive” and “thoughtful” you are? See I can always tell when a Hallmark “holiday” in in full bloom. My texts, emails, and Facebook light up with messages galore. Mass messages where I’ve been “honored” to be among the many recipients arrive hour after hour. Before the day is done I’ve usually even gotten texts from people who have been out of contact with me for so long that they are no longer saved in my contacts so nothing shows but the number.
So here I sit, as I do every year, hiding from my own devices, praying over what responses to send…if any, wondering if any one of them has any idea of what they are attempting to celebrate. Are you celebrating the fact that I chose to give birth? Are you celebrating the fact that I chose to bring my child home? Are you simply celebrating the fact that I have children? I ask because for the most part, 364 days a year most have no idea what my days look like. 364 days a year I live a quiet, contained life that very few take part in. 364 days a year I’m here and I’m me. 364 days a year, these same places are typically silent. Yet on this 1…
Rest assured. I’m not desolate. I’m celebrated year round. My children shower me with accolades daily, proclaiming me “the best mama in the whole world” with ever chance they get. A few in my family answer my cries whenever I call and even encourage me on occasion. Most of all though, there is my Abba. God is there, in my face, each and every day cheering on my progress, showing me my mistakes, and helping me to be a better mother than I was the day before. He celebrates all that I am and all that I do, lending a helping hand at every turn, and wiping the tears from eyes in the dead of night when the day is said and done.
I’m not your Hallmark mother. I’m a mother who made some serious mistakes, but because God even makes my mistakes to prosper, I was rewarded with three beautiful girls and a wonderful life as a result. I’m a mother who in thirteen years has received less than $12,000 in child support total yet only on rare occasions have my children had to go with a need. I’m a mother who has raised a special needs child from functioning at an 18 month old level at the age of three to ranking top in her class. I’m a mother who has spent every year of parenthood being told she is bad mother because I don’t raise my kids like others, yet being told by those same mouths how they wish they had the peace and order in their house that I have in mine. I’m the mother who kisses my children’s tears away as I explain to them how much the fathers they haven’t seen in years love them and are always thinking about them, making sure I never let an unkind word part my lips about them. I’m the mother who gets up at the crack of dawn to pray over my household and usher the Spirit into their lives. I’m the mother who is running and growing an online business so that I can live out the Proverbs 31 lifestyle for my girls and be the stay-at-home mom they need. I’m the mother who is going to school full-time, while setting up to homeschool my children. I could go on, but you get the point.
I’m not saying I’m something special, because believe me, in the category of motherhood I KNOW that I’m not. There are countless women who do more than I do with less than I have. There are women who cry more tears and fight more battles before breakfast than I do all day. My point in this is not to rant on about how what I do is so great. It is that if you are going to celebrate a particular mother, know who it is you’re celebrating and spread it out over more than some monetary sentimental gesture.
Every day there is a single mother in your presence who is dying on the inside. There is a single mother in your presence who dreams of suicide and the only thing that breaks that dream apart is the smile on her baby’s face. There is a single mother in your presence who has asked you for help, asked you for a break, and you have turned her down because you are still holding a grudge against her for the way those children came to be. There is a single mother in your presence who hasn’t eaten more than a couple of crackers a day all week because she barely has enough to feed her children. There is a single mother in your presence who has no idea what a full night’s sleep looks like. There is a single mother in your presence who hasn’t been hugged, or comforted, or even looked at with care in so long she can’t even remember what is feels like to be cherished…if she ever knew at all. “And this in front of unbelievers!”
I don’t dare speak for all mothers. I don’t even dare to speak for all single mothers. But I ask you as you finish out this day, or even to consider for next year, before you send a generic pat on the back through some social media network, or call or text someone you’ve barely spoken to all year…especially if she is a single mother…ask yourself if that is what she really needs to feel like she’s done something worthwhile as a mother, to feel appreciated, to know someone cares. Ask God what you can do to bring that feeling into that mother’s life, even if for a moment. And if the answer you get is too much for you to do or too much of an inconvenience, then ask yourself if are really celebrating her or asking her to celebrate you by acknowledging how much you “care”?
Most of all…know that all of you out there who fight silently in the trenches every day, I speak you at the foot of the throne as often or more than I speak of myself. Be encouraged my blessed sisters! Your day is coming! The head shall become the tail and that which was last, despised, rejected, and looked down upon, shall be first! Shalom beloved!~