Mothers Day always shows up makin’ me all jittery about social media. Though I have ridiculous bounty to boast about, I often feel nervous doing so. I’m tied up with sensitivity-knowing it’s a day many of you dread. So, I don’t. Or I try to “don’t”.
I am acutely aware of you, friends, that grieve over the barren places of your heart; Mothers that have passed on, wombs that are quiet and still despite extreme effort, or deep trenches in private places of your being where the love from a good Momma was supposed to fill. Some of you can’t help but think of eternity and the opportunity to kiss your angel babies. These scars light up under laser focus on Mothers Day, don’t they? This crap hurts. Holidays usher in emotions that you internalize and memories or dreams you weep over. Sorting through your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. must be awful. I am sorry. I won’t ever pretend I understand. I can’t.
I am acutely aware of you, friends, parenting alone. Being a single
Mom may as well be the modern day equivalent of Noah building an Ark before there was even an understanding of rain. Both a lonely, exhausting, all-consuming calling with no manual or much support to know if you’redoing things right. Each year when my husband asks, “What do you want for Mothers Day?”, I think of you and pray you have someone filling in the gaps; someone showin’ up when others don’t or can’t with affirmation and appreciation. Keep going. Keep being the best Momma you can be. For the love of bacon, hold the hand of grace and take walks with mercy. Swim in chocolate. Amen.
I wish I could wrap up something for you all. I wish – and I’m literally seeing your faces as I write this – I could embrace you friends that have these holes. You with no Momma to feel or call this weekend. You, waiting for your babies sitting in far off places to come home. You who will wake in the morning, change a diaper, pour your own daggum coffee, and call it “Mothers Day”. You, feeling a longing and tasting bitter tears of loss. I am crying with you. I am.
I’m pounding on heavens door for you – please know that.
Inside those meditations something struck me. I thought of something my niece gave me as I prayed. An audible “huh” and a sigh of breath left me at the understanding of how powerful we women are – REGARDLESS our title OR slight hitch in our step. REGARDLESS the bounty OR loss; we as female are powerful influencers.
Mothering is primarily about influence, and choosing to live for the influence of others is a gift we all can give, regardless if we are Mothers or not. Influence: even more powerful when graciously offered from honest, screwed up, empty, lonely, barren places. For some reason, this freed my grief for all of you. As plain as this reality is, for me it’s gift wrapped in hope and offers identity to everyone wayward and confused this weekend.
Two days ago my niece threw down a painting and some words on Instagram (pictured above) about me that were pathetically kind. I realized inside what she wrote; I had been giving the gift of influencing her. I will never be her Momma – she has one that she adores. But I’ve embraced the opportunity to come along side her and pour into her what I can. I’ve loved loving her and loving her has taught my heart so, so much. The gift of Mothering has few boundaries and its brushstroke of definition is wide. I may not be this gem’s Momma, but I’ll delight in every opportunity to pour my smothering mothering heart all over her.
You may no longer be blessed by the embrace or phone call of your Mom, but you can honor the hell out of all that she gave by pouring into another life all that she was. Your calendar may be full of waiting and appointments and phone calls and disappointment as you cope with an empty bedroom, but you can still influence a soul in powerful life-changing ways. You may be doing All.The.Things. alone, but you have an audience behind you learning how to handle life’s hurdles.
It’s not the same as what you’ve lost. It’s not the same as what you hope for.
Filling someone’s heart and encouraging them with your story as they journey through life is gift you can offer no matter your circumstances. You can onfidently celebrate the power you have as a woman to serve, encourage, protect, provide, love, and GIVE LIFE beyond your ability or opportunity to birth. This isn’t a plea to rejoice in your loss, rather a moment to acknowledge your worth and scope of influence as a woman that can choose to beautifully Mother at all the messy junctures of your life.
And for those of us with parental responsibility…Mothering ain’t no joke. It’s a baseball bat of reality that seems to batter all Morhers equally with uncontrollable, and at times, unreasonable emotions. Mothers Day can be hard for everyone; Mommas in the most wholesome of circumstances will wake up Sunday with ironic guilt that we aren’t the Hallmark versions we long to be. Guilt. Waves of guilt. Somewhere a preacher will stand up and spit out Proverbs 31 references and you’ll interpret it as condemnation.
Can I just encourage us to be okay with okay. We’re really all just okay. Full, and picture perfect, single, barren, lonely, or angry with the word ‘Mother’ ..were all often ONLY eking along with the deck of cards we have been handed. We all hit our pillows at night committed to doing tomorrow ‘like a boss’ but usually only okay-ing the heck out of it. And that can be good. Okay can be honest, relatable, kind, generous, and freeing. Let’s give each other space to not be perfect.
Here I am: I am a good Mom. I’m passionate about their souls, committed to their well-being, and selflessly make decisions with them in mind. Its taken a few “come to Jesus” truth talks for me to be confident in my abilities.
And for REAL…..
Let me just whisper a lill’ confession to you of my failings just to keep it real. Just this week, I may have screamed, “Stop being an asshole!” at my oldest for bullying the youngest. I call that technique “honesty”. I don’t recall with exact clarity but I’m pretty nuff’ sure that wasn’t a suggested strategy in any of the parenting books I’ve read. Ever. #Bless. And a few days before that I told number three I was going to sell him on Craigslist. He cried. I had to over-compensate all day with “I love you more than bacon” and “you’re my favorite child.” #momwinning I overheard another one of my freaks explaining to a friend, “…I don’t know all the cuss words yet but I know the “F” word cause of Momma.” #becauseICANTHELPIT AND THEN…Sofia yesterday noticed my emotional exhaustion while I stared at the mountain of laundry on my table. No one had underwear. “Momma it’s ok that our laundry is out of control. We are fed and loved. That’s good enough.” In that moment: Good enough!?!?! It’s all only good? Barely enough?
Dang. Dang, dang, dang. #FAILURE
But later, after her words marinated in my mind: ‘Good enough. Yes. I’m good enough. It’s good enough. That’s plenty.’
Here it is: I am good enough because when I’m not enough, He is. He will be. As long as I’m breathing and seeking truth, I trust God to carry me and my people across the finish line. He is my portion.
And He can be your portion as well.
My identity isn’t what the world calls me, my children see in me, or my husband values in me. My identity is who God says I am-and that is never dependent upon success.
My joy comes from surrendering my portions in order to gracefully influence all those surrounding me.
So yeah, go ahead and slap a “World’s OKAYEST Mom” on my Yukon and call me happy. I DARE YOU to also join me-regardless of loss, insufficiencies, title, calling, or isolation-to take a deep breath, and be ok with many seasons of only being ok. SWIMMING IN The DEEP SEA OF GRACE IS BETTER THAN DROWNING IN The SMALL LAKE OF PERFECTION.
My niece showed me this week how blessed we are to choose giving communally and submit to living life surrounded and surrendered. And y’all can testify to surrender and surrounded. Right? Yes. Mothering is about influence and togetherness MORE than a birth plan and labor. Women can always be influential life givers.
I pray this weekend you will find the confidence to embrace what you can’t control and pour life into what you can control. I pray the ashes, anger, or hurt you may experience due to Mothers Day can be grow to something beautiful. I pray that peace blankets all of our process.
We are in this together. Give grace-be okay, ask GOD who you are, offer influence. I love you all and Happy Mothers Day.
#momming #aintforwimps #womenofinfluence #worldsOKAYESTmom