Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rest Easy, Good Mama

I rolled down my car window and waited.  I had to tell her.  I had to catch her eye and say it before I pulled out of that parking space.  You're doing a great job!  You're clearly a good mama!  I had watched that mama in the grocery aisles, wearing her baby girl and pushing a stroller with two energetic boys, all the while loading fruit snacks and milk and dog food in another cart she pushed.  If ever hands were full, hers were!  She spoke gently and lovingly, yet firmly.  She told those wiggly boys she needed their help in the checkout lane.  I had parked right by her, me with only my youngest one in tow.  I watched her help little ones into car seats and load a trunk full of groceries.  I saw myself and a thousand other mamas, as I watched her.  So I just had to tell her.  And her response, with nervous laughter, Thank you.  I don't feel like it.

I pulled away and tears filled my eyes.  Because that was my response too.  That is my response.  I meant what I said to her.  But you know what?  She meant what she said too.  And I know that because I live it.  Thank you, but I don't feel like it.  I can't tell you how many times I've longed to hear it:  an affirmation that, despite my failings, I'm a good mama doing a good job.  I hope that someone other than me encouraged that sweet mama on that morning.  But I'm the same way, when faced with encouragement or affirmation:  my vulnerability shows up.  I can't help but confess:  Thank you, but I don't feel like it.  

I wanted to drive back and say it again.  And again.  And again.  Until she protested no longer and just received those words.  I wanted to receive those words myself.  Because this kingdom work of raising the next generation is full and continuous and selfless.  Because it is a good job.  More than that.  It's a calling and we are leaning into it, with all of our faults and failures and messes.  God sees.  It matters, what we do!  From the endless grocery trips to the endless loads of laundry.  From the cuddles and boo-boo kisses to the hours of sound it out and try it again.  From the meals prepared and lunch boxes filled to the Mama's sorry, I shouldn't have reacted that way....God sees!  

He sees our hearts, even when we blow it.  He knows our hearts during those moments when all we see is our mistakes.  And our feelings about how we're doing?  We can't trust them anyway.  I truly believe he wants us to know that we are good mamas, doing a good job.

So please hear and believe this, dear mama.  You may falter and stumble and even fall.  But as long as you fall into the arms of your Heavenly Father, He will carry you through the tough stuff.  And when your hands are so full you can barely see more than the next step, just take that step and trust that God is with you and He will lead you.  He will make up for all you lack.  Just as you clean their messes, He can clean up yours.  And when you need to hear it, take a moment to remind a fellow mama.  You are a good mama, doing a good (meaningful, eternal, life-changing) job!  

Linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee today
Also linking with Holley Gerth