Monday, May 22, 2006

A Mother's Heart

Being a mom is incredible and beautiful and amazing and is more important to me than any other position I might ever hold in life. Being a mom is also awful and painful and sad and.....hard! Having a Mother's heart is the hardest part of the job.

When my son was five I went one Sunday morning to pick him up from his Sunday School class and the teacher said, "Your son was very bad today." The woman to whom I had entrusted my son's physical and spiritual care for the morning then turned to my son and said, "Tell your mommy how bad you were today". My Mommy instinct was to pounce on that pious woman and rip her to shreds. My Mommy's heart was flooded with emotion. I wanted to understand what had happened to inspire the teacher to make such a bold accusation. I wanted to scold my son and help him to see that whatever he had done wrong was a bad choice and he was capable of making better choices. I wanted to look around the room to see who might be listening to this conversation for fear that my reputation as a mother and woman was being seriously attacked. But mostly, I wanted to scoop my child up into my arms and love him and assure him that even when he acted badly my love would not go away.

My heart has been ripped, torn, and broken in two many times in my 44 years, but nothing hurts my heart so deeply and calls me into action so fully as the hurt, sadness, brokenness, and suffering that is experienced by my kids.

God made moms and dads completely differently - thank goodness. Dads tend to be more black and white about things and it's pretty easy for them to distance themselves from the bad choices their children make. I heard a psychologist once say that kids learn early on that Mom's love was unconditional, but Dad's love was clearly conditional. I don't believe a good dad's love is truly conditional, but their responses to their kids is clearly conditional upon behavior. A friend of ours calls it "good cop/bad cop" and it is the way God made us.

There have been times in the lives of my kids when I - Mom - was the only one who still believed in them, still found reasons to trust them, and still had a sliver of hope that the outcome of whatever crisis they were in would be positive. If it hadn't been for the crushing ache in my chest for my kids I would never have cried out in anguish to God. If it wasn't for the deep heart pain that calls me into action, there might not be one single person in the world praying for my kids.
As awful as it is, God calls us moms to hurt for our kids so that we will never stop praying for them.

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