Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Mother Letters

I received one of the best "for me" Mother's Day gifts in the mail. The Mother Letters by Amber Haines is a beautifully curated collection of soul vulnerable letters that represent real mothers' joys, struggles, questions, lessons learned, even pains and doubts. Amber gives us a real gift in sharing with the sisterhood of mothers out there what was a truly thoughtful past Mother's Day gift from her husband- these collective accounts of many different women God has made mothers and continue to carry through this journey. I enjoyed reading these emphatic and encouraging words and was honored to ask to contribute my own "Mother Letter".

Dear Mother, 
 None of this journey is exactly what you thought it would be, is it? This Mother thing. It's so much harder, painful even, and heartbreakingly beautiful too. These boys who drain me of every ounce energy, patience and strength; these boys who I feel I never am enough for. There's never enough time, enough of me to go around and that makes me feel like a failure at something I really want to be good at. I am always on the look out for ways to grow and improve my skill set here- I stockpile the best books, do "research" online, and try and glean wisdom from other mothers I admire. I want to some how provide my kids with a wondrous childhood, a through education and a healthy foundation for adulthood-easy enough, right? In so many ways I have come to peace with leading a simple, low profile life, what I want to be is just a good wife and mother- most days even being that is too lofty of a goal it seems. It takes so much of me, all of me and more-more than I have or want to give some days. It takes realizing how selfish and ugly I can be and dying to my wants and needs, hourly even. And all of this burden can weigh and shut me down when what I need most, what my family needs most, is for me to realize all of this is true- my shortcomings, my selfishness, the fact that I'm just not enough for this monumental task of eternal significance-the shaping of a soul. Elisabeth Elliot called it a parent's job to "give a saint back to God." I don't know about you but I am no saint, let alone able to shape a saint out of another human being. But I have learned that if I am a willing vessel, God will use me, enable me and do the work thru me. I am learning that His yoke truly is easy and His burden really is light, because He never leaves us on our own. He never forsakes us. And the thing is my husband and kids don't want a perfect wife and mother, they want me. When I realize my flaws and quirks I can be be gracious and even appreciate those in my children. When I am trying to mold and perfect my children and taking this mothering job so seriously I expect them to be perfect because that means I'm doing my job well. When I see my children not as my job, but independent, little souls finding their way thru this life, just like me, I have so much more grace and find so much more joy with them. I'm coming to accept that I can do my best and God will do the rest- there will be grace to fill in all the gaps I leave. 
 So, to you, I say don't take yourself too seriously. Grasp what you can of these fleeting days and hold on to the memories and the love- those last. Some days, turn a blind eye to the mess and focus on your kids instead. And some days, let them watch a show or play outside and get your chores done in peace.  Read lots of books. Laugh a lot- if they do is something so crazy it makes you want to cry, laugh instead. Try and remember what it's like to be a kid- to want that over priced souvenir from the gift shop during vacation, to be scared of the dark, to have your worries and cares be over "petty" things. Keep your eyes open for the sacred beautiful in the broken, but it's ok when there are just plain hard moments too. Notice, embrace and appreciate your little in-house weirdos. These are your people, this is your own little culture-how cool is that? Be there, love them, give your all, and let grace cover the rest. You are not perfect, but you are the perfectly chosen mother for these little ones. 

Happy Mother's Day to you. 

I received this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

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