As the day to celebrate and honor mom approaches, I couldn’t help but think about motherhood and how it has changed my life. I must admit, as a child and young adult I didn’t really appreciate the magnitude of my mom’s role in my life. It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I fully understood the reason for the many “no’s” and “not now’s” I got growing up.
While I have always loved my mom and at an early age I learned to honor her (Ephesians 6:1-3), my depth of love and appreciation for her didn’t manifest until I had children of my own and she was there and is still there any time we need her. Raising daughters of my own has taught me a few things: 1) selflessness, 2) discipline is necessary, 3) lead by example and 4) pass on the wisdom learned from your mistakes to your children.
Over the years, I have learned that I need to re-define love. The foundation of true love is selflessness. This has proven to be difficult for me to apply to those who hurt me. Blessing and praying for those who hurt me (Luke 6:27-28) is far from how I originally defined love. However, raising daughters showed me how selfless love looks. It introduced me to how to truly love.
As many mother’s know, motherhood is a thankless job. But, interestingly enough….we don’t require thanks. It gives me great joy and pleasure to watch my daughters grow into young ladies. Through the tantrums, rebellion and “I hate you’s”, I still love my daughters. I don’t believe there is anything they could do to stop my love for them. Much like how our Heavenly Father loves us….unconditionally.
I love the role of nurturing my daughters. Feeding them emotionally and spiritually is a required part of being mom. They receive so many messages from their environment (friends, teachers, and others) I’m sure it is difficult for them to determine which way is right…which way is right for them. So establishing Christian principles…introducing my girls to the Lord was not an option for our house. With every rejection, heartbreak and disappointment I want my girls to know: 1) they are loved, 2) they can do all things through Christ which strengthens them (Philippians 4:13) and 3) while challenges are an inevitable part of living, weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning light (Psalm 30:5). I encourage them to pursue the dreams that God has placed in their heart (Psalm 37:4-6) and to be prepared for the obstacles that may be placed in their way to hinder them. And most importantly, test all things (I Thessalonians 5:21). God’s Word is the only authority and to be mindful of things that don’t align with His word. Looking at how my mother is still nurturing me, my brothers, my sisters and her grandkids, I look forward to my nurturing role being lifelong.
As my daughters navigate their way through adulthood, there are many times along the journey that they may lose their way. As teens, it is my job to discipline them. While it is the hardest thing to do, it is also necessary. Just looking back on my teenage years, gives me an understanding of what teenagers and their parents endure. I believe it was during my teenage years that I most felt the disciplinary hand of my mom. I guess it is a rite of passage for teenagers. According to Psychology Today, the teenage years are
“considered the transitional stage from childhood to adulthood. However, the physical and psychological changes that occur in adolescence can start earlier, during the preteen or “tween” years (ages 9-12). Adolescence can be a time of both disorientation and discovery. The transitional period can bring up issues of independence and self-identity. Sometimes adolescents may be experimenting with drugs and alcohol or sexuality. During this time, peer groups and external appearance tend to increase in importance.”
The teenage years can be the most difficult times in families as moms and dads try to stay firm in instilling respect for others, especially their elders as well as for established rules and laws.
Not only did I have to help my girls with their Algebra and Trigonometry, I also try to lead by example. If I want my girls to have principles and stand by them then I must do the same. The same goes for rules. If I want them to follow established rules I need to do the same. Believe me they are watching and taking notes. I remember driving above the speed limit and my oldest daughter was in the front seat reading the speed limit every time we passed the sign. As I said….they are watching.
“Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it.” Proverbs 22:6
Anytime I can insert a “lessons learned” session with my girls I do so. Along the way I have made enough mistakes to create a “mini-series” and I don’t want it to be all for naught. I pray that my girls don’t make the same mistakes I made so as they get older and experience challenges, trials and tribulations I try to insert the wisdom I learned through “hard knocks.”
This thing called motherhood has been the most challenging but joyful part of my life. With the many roles mom play in their children’s life it is only appropriate that they are celebrated….honored.
So on this mother’s day, don’t hesitate to let your mom know how much she means to you….her job may be joyous but it is not easy.
“Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate (Proverbs 31:31)