Humility requires me to speak respectfully, even in awe, when it comes to motherhood. I have not yet been a parent, and I will never be a mother.
But I have learned this, mothers, thanks to my years in youth ministry: you have regrets. No matter how well your children have turned out, as they cross the stage and flip their tassels, all smiles with relief, you think of their flaws (as if there weren’t supposed to be any) and long to have some days back. Even when I’m thinking, amazed, “Are you kidding? I’ve known your kid for years. They’re awesome!”
The longing is legitimately greater in some mothers. But the mammoth task of motherhood is bound to leave holes. A mother can find the tiniest flaw in her own mother-work, as surely as she can spot a speck of dust on a table.
I want to encourage today. Yet I will never been a mother. I speak better than I know.
But I have been a child.
And I can say this with great certainty to many mothers: your children are probably thinking far better of you than you are.
You remember the fights and misunderstandings; we remember the gifts and good times. You see the missed teaching opportunities; we see what we’ve learned. Roll with me here. We may have issues up the wazoo, but we don’t fault you for the specks. We see you as the one who held back the landslide. The glass is half full on Mother’s Day.
Thanks, Mom, for always telling me I could achieve whatever I wanted.
Thanks, Mom, for raising me to be honest.
Thanks, Mom, for getting me into martial arts and not letting me quit.
Thanks, Mom, for working your heart out to schedule my lessons, correct my papers, and make me redo the rocky parts. (The sheer toil and sacrifice that comes with you homeschooling moms…this should be Mother’s Week for you.)
Thanks, Mom, for letting me vent stupidly over the phone all these years.
Thanks, Mom, for showing me how to organize my important documents into a nice, neat portfolio.
Thanks, Mom, for waking us in the dead of night that one time to watch auroras and go moonlight sledding.
Thanks, Mom, for postponing the final collapse of society by teaching me to write in cursive.
Thanks, Mom, for birthing me in the first place. That was important.
Thanks, Mom, for supporting my Air Force enlistment even though it meant we’d be apart.
Thanks, Mom, for the piano lessons. I fought you every step, and I may have taken a side trip to the guitar for fifteen years, but music lessons are music lessons. Now I’m a worship leader. (And I did find my way back to the piano.)
Thanks, Mom, for always saying my brother and I would need each other some day. You were right.
Thanks, Mom, for raising me to be a gentleman.
Thanks, Mom, for not killing me.
Thanks, Mom, for buying us a pony when we were younger. I wish I’d been willing to learn to ride. It was still a great idea.
Thanks, Mom, for paying for my orthodontia, letting me stay up those first few nights of searing headgear, and buying me peach-flavored ice cream (or was that for the tonsillectomy?) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures.
Thanks, Mom, for knowing the moment when Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ceased to be a good influence.
Thanks, Mom, for cooking real food.
Thanks, Mom, for coaxing me into youth group at a time when meeting new people was right down there with death by cement mixer on my personal wish list.
Thanks, Mom, for all the advice on notaries and tax prep and credit-building. You know much.
Thanks, Mom, for withholding the Super Nintendo until I was old enough to avoid devolving into a vidiot. (At which time you bought me an Xbox.)
Thanks, Mom, for grounding me when I needed it.
Thanks, Mom, for making me read constantly. Out loud.
Thanks, Mom, for your indignation on my behalf when my first-grade teacher and principal misinterpreted and mishandled my energy. It meant a lot.
Thanks, Mom, for your expert balance in rooting for me to marry but never nagging.
Thanks, Mom, for constantly telling me how proud you are.
Thanks, Mom, for the bandaids and the hugs and the fair visits and the iPods and the people advice and the birthday money and the Uno games and the driving lessons and the missions donations and the millions of little sacrifices you made that neither of us remember anymore. This list gets longer every time I come back to it. And I know that God’s list is far, far longer.
Quit second-guessing yourselves, moms. God is offering grace. He’s not asking you to agonize endlessly over a past you can’t change. If there were errors, simply repent and give them to God. Give US to God. He won’t make mistakes. And you have given him a warehouse of material to work with.
To mothers who might have legitimate reason to regret: it’s not too late. Pray for your child. Nobody on earth has more power in prayer for your child than you. God will come for us. And he will forgive us.
The human race is nothing without you.
Happy Mother’s Day.