Disappointed on Mother's Day
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. - Proverbs 31:28
Is that what you envision when you think of Mother's Day? I do.
Yet in 1993, my vision of fulfilling that Scripture collapsed when we received a phone call. While walking home from school, my 10 and 7 year old sons had decided to throw rocks at the basement windows of a church. The boys confessed, and we disciplined them. Then we arranged for the windows to be replaced.
The following morning we received another phone call. Further on their walk, they happened upon a home with newly poured cement. My 10-year-old decided to write an obscenity in the wet cement. My embarrassed husband immediately talked with the owner. He was taken to where the cement was being repaired. The offensive words had been erased, but the owner told my husband what had been written - and that our son also signed his name.
Mother's Day arrived, and I felt like a failure. How could my children have done such willful damage? They had no explanation, and neither did I. During the sermon Sunday morning, every truth seemed to illustrate my failures.
Then when we arrived home, our neighbor told us someone had damaged his no trespassing sign. Our hearts fell again as we heard another story. Wed had family friends over the previous evening, and the six boys decided to send one (guess whose child) over to take the sign down. I was mortified.
The phone rang. Another pastor, another church, more broken windows from that walk.
We made the boys face each accuser, and they confessed and apologized. Then they followed up with letters. We determined how each child would pay the damages and applied discipline. And we agonized over how this had all happened.
It was a painful and embarrassing time. I cringed for weeks every time the phone rang.
Many Mother's Days have since passed. Thankfully, I would not encounter another as devastating. But, many times, Ive questioned my mothering successes.
I didn't raise trophy children. My sons are just human. Humans with issues. Humans who struggle and sin. Yet humans who are valuable because they are God's creation.
So my expectations of Mother's Day have changed. I measure my success as a mother by different standards now. Our children love us, and we love them. My husband and I teach them, then trust God to do the rest. But the boys make choices for themselves, and we cant take the blame for those choices.
Maybe you know a mother who's struggling this year. May I suggest that you encourage her? Assure her that this season of life is not the final summation of what kind of mother she is.
Maybe you are the struggling mother. Sometimes our children, young and old, make choices that are not in line with how we raised them. A wrong choice, or even a series of wrong choices, doesn't negate our hope.
Mothering is an important and difficult job. Do the best you can. Enjoy moments of triumph and success. Learn from the tough moments. Most of all, don't give up. The end of the story is yet to come.
Nine Ways to Encourage a Discouraged Mum
- Remind her who decided she was the best mom for her child: God.
- Share something positive you've noticed in her child, especially a behavior that reflects a value Mums been teaching.
- Give her a hug and confess mothering isn't what you thought it would be either.
- Tell her you've seen her willingness to be the mother God called her to be and you admire her diligence.
- Invite her child to your house and give Mom a break.
- Share a personality trait in her child that you really like.
- Commit to praying for her and her child then tell her.
- Tell her what she's done that makes her a good mum.
- Share the fact that even God's children don't turn out the way He'd like.