I woke up this past Mother's Day to a sweet child setting a cup of coffee on my nightstand. Naturally, I smiled and thanked my youngest for her thoughtful act and expressed that it was such a nice way to start my day. As I sat drinking my coffee and mentally preparing for the day, I began to get a little broody when I remembered I would be spending the majority of it watching my daughter's volleyball tournament. I tried to be positive, but in all honestly, I was really thinking that even this day - MOTHER'S DAY - was really not going to be about me. Of course I kept that to myself because let's be real here. It's not a pretty thought or one I'm proud of, but for sure it was the one that was looping through my mind as I got ready.
We went to church and everyone was asking what I was doing that day and I dejectedly joked I'd be spending it at a volleyball tournament and wouldn't even get home until eight o'clock that night (not my idea of a dream day. Where was the resting and reading and pampering?). We rushed out right after service so we could squeeze in lunch at a nice restaurant and when we got in the car, everything EXPLODED. Well, my kids did. Fighting, complaining, frustration, and crying were the soundtrack to my ride. It carried over to the meal and just got worse and worse and worse, until both my husband and I joined in. It was truly an ugly moment (my description here isn't even close to doing it justice!). The rest of the day was miserable. Everyone was unhappy and taking it out on one another.
When we finally got home, I was exhausted from all the drama. I went straight to my bed. I was DONE. Anger, sadness, hopelessness, and fear swirled through me. I felt so alone. Forget not feeling celebrated. I wanted to quit! After getting everyone to bed, I passed out, only to be awoken at 4:30 AM with those same feelings and thoughts still festering. Finally, I remembered to pray. I started with praying for other people, then I focused on thoughts about who God is, I expressed my feelings to Him, and drifted back off to sleep an hour later. When I woke up God was incredibly clear with me.
As a believer, I know that what Jesus says is true. But sometimes I get a little confused and misdirected. He promises in one of my favorite verses that He came to give real, abundant, better-than-I-dreamed-of life. But a lot of times when I look around at my circumstances, I don't feel like that's what I'm getting. My thoughts that night as I lay in my bed were: this isn't what I signed up for, buddy. I never dreamed mothering would feel like this. But that morning after having those thoughts, God became so clear. I made my breakfast and sat down to my daily reading (usually a book about God or the Bible). The topic that day was on the power of meditation and the reality that we are all meditators. Sometimes we meditate on our favorite show, how excited we are about our upcoming plans, what's going to be happening that particular day and how we feel about that, a particular problem, etc. As I continued reading, there was no doubt God was speaking directly to me! I had begun the previous day mentally complaining and meditating on unhappiness. My focus was not on God and His Love, but instead on what I expected from the day and my judgement that it wasn't enough. UGH! Hello, conviction!
You see, I really long for that better-than-I-dreamed-of life but often am not willing to do what it takes to get it. Jesus came and lived to show us that it has nothing to do with our circumstances, but rather how we go through them. He had a lot of reasons to complain - all the same reasons I had that day. Everyone was always needing something from Him. He didn't necessarily want to do what was inevitably going to happen (Um...He faced the cross and I was complaining about VOLLEYBALL?!?!). The people around Him were constantly bickering. People didn't appreciate Him. In all of that which He faced daily, He had a choice: to stay connected to God and His Love or to choose fear and judgement. His way was one of constant connection to our Creator regardless of the circumstance.
Now yes, I get that He is Jesus, and I mean actually God Himself, but the truth of our faith is that He lived and died so that the reality He lived would be possible for us. If I fully and truly believe what He says, then my only conclusion is just that. The real question I faced that morning was...am I living that truth? The answer I found that Mother's Day was no, I wasn't.
Thankfully, there is such a thing called grace and God knows who I am and loves me anyway. As I sat hearing Him that morning I was overcome with His Love. Even though I royally screwed up the day before by meditating on misery, He still loved me. He reminded me that everyday, all day, I have tools I can use to stay connected. And when I disconnect, I can always reconnect. Tools like starting my day focused on who He is and inviting His thoughts to lead the way. Tools like gratitude for all of the many blessings He has given me (like a daughter who can play volleyball. A daughter who brought me coffee first thing in the morning because she loves me. A son who might be the kindest human being on the planet...true statement. A husband who made it a point to take me to one of my favorite restaurants to celebrate. I could go on and on!). Tools like prayer for harmony and freedom in the midst of disagreement. Tools like focusing on good and who He is throughout the day regardless of my circumstances and claiming those truths. Tools like choosing to trust that God has good plans for my days.
Even though it seemed like it was a pretty yucky Mother's Day, I am so grateful for it. It was a day where I was allowed to take a look at the truth that my beliefs didn't match my actions. It was a sobering awareness, but one I am so thankful I was allowed to see because in that, I was drawn right back to God and am moving forward one moment at a time towards that better-than-I-dreamed-of life God intends for me.
Lisa is a deep-thinker, a philosopher in cute jeans and flip flops, a Nutty Professor - mom style. She recognized God's presence at an early age and has lived life mostly open to Him. She hears His voice in books, movies, and music - no matter the genre! She is serious about the work of living Loved, loving God, and loving people.