Several years before children, I went to a Women of Faith conference in Denver. It was a snowy drive up with a woman I hardly knew and I sighed relief as we pulled into our hotel that night with a little extra time before the conference. I’d gone, virtually a stranger to the entire group, longing for a connect with other women and a heart that was seeking resolution and healing.
The conference was full of what I was hoping for. Worship in a sea of many. No men to distract, and relative darkness to sing, yes even dance, with abandon. The speakers spoke to wounds I was carrying as a disillusioned newlywed, and I remember Luci Swindoll pulling out a mirror and beckoning us to reflect the Lord’s light. Unusual, but the light that small mirror reflected was nearly blinding as she panned it over the audience. It is a teachers dream to hit a sweet spot like that, one that the Holy Spirit sears into memory still 11 years later.
Though the mirror is still a visual I draw from personally, the second most memorable moment was watching a woman talk about motherhood. She was on her knees on stage putting a strewn diaper bag back together and for ten mezmorizing minutes, I understood that motherhood was not going to be easy. And I remember making a mental note that some day, I wanted to perform that poignant monologue.
Its almost Mother’s Day. And I have been working on this monologue more than a decade later. This time I have four children and I understand each and every reference to exhaustion, bodily functions and insecurity. As a matter of fact, I’ve done several revisions of the wording to lighten the tone and to take the edge out of the voice. Motherhood is not about bitterness for me today. But it is about sacrifice.
I can personally relate to the sentiment of loneliness despite the presence of four little companions. I can fellowship in the suffering of picking up 10,000 legos only to do it again the next day. My living room is cluttered, my dishwasher is always full and my laundry basket is clearly broken. It never seems to empty itself. And like the character in my script, I am desperate for God to show up in my kid’s lives despite their mother. Oh’ how I pray I don’t ruin them.
Fast forward again to an email today from my pastor about the script. He said, “This script doesn’t seem like a CELEBRATION of motherhood.” Lord, love him, I know he’s not being critical of me and I won’t feel one bit sorry if we pull the plug in an attempt to bring a lighter tone.
I can’t let this one pass without saying, sometimes the celebration of Mother’s Day isn’t going to be Hallmark approved. Sometimes the celebration is your children spilling coffee all over my Bible. Praise Him, it was open in the first place, it meant I met with Him today. Sometimes the celebration is the child in time out up stairs because it meant I was taking a cool down moment to gather my thoughts from my anger and beckon the Spirit to speak correction to me. And sometimes the celebration is just the staying here in the thick of it and laying my head down again to do it all over tomorrow.
My farmboy said, “I agree with the Pastor. This doesn’t feel like a celebration.”
I’d agree. Some days don’t feel like a party. Its not always pretty and it isn’t always much fun, but its good.
And that is reason enough to celebrate.