There is a poignant scene in Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie, The Passion of the Christ, where Jesus’s mother, Mary, is desperately wiping his blood from the cobble stone walkway where He was just brutally tortured moments before. It’s graphic and gruesome. Yet, to me, it is such a vibrant picture of motherhood. Here is a mom, who’s firstborn son has been wrongly accused, and is about to be crucified. Mary has watched Jesus grow from a tiny baby into this radical man who has had such an impact on His world, and although she doesn’t understand it all, she knows somewhere deep in her heart, that she must do something to support Him… something, anything… even to the point of wiping up bodily fluids.
I had a wonderful mother’s day weekend away with my own mom and daughters this year. We had fun together and enjoyed our time. I read the posts on social media about mothers everywhere… flowers and cards and beautiful Sunday brunches. Florists all over Canada just moved into the red based on their sales for this one day a year. But let’s be honest, moms. Motherhood is tough.
Children do not come with a set of instructions. There is no book, no podcast, no blog or youtube channel that will tell you how to mother your beloved. Because there is no one exactly like you… and no one exactly like your kid. God made each and everyone one of us special. Which makes mothering hard — and absolutely beautiful at the same time!
I am really quite amazed at how resilient God made us mothers. Our bodies take a beating and fight back. We survive sleepless nights and midnight feedings, we kiss skinned knees and manage the daily task of hair brushing and teeth flossing. God knew what He was doing when He made babies so cute… because despite all the paranoia, we often do it all again… and then a third and a forth and a tenth time! What were we thinking?!
And then! Then, we pray for soul mates and fret and worry when they leave the nest and fly away and become their own. And we get angry because it’s not how we wanted it to be. They deviate from our perfect mother-knows-best plans and we can no longer shelter them. We have to let them go — and let God. Or we don’t understand why God has given us this challenge, this extra need, this life curve that throws us off our plans for a future of flowers and rainbows. And we cry out “Why”?! Trust me, I’ve been there.
Or maybe you have to be the mom to your own mother now. Roles are reversed and you have to be the caregiver to the one who once cared for you. The vulnerability is still there. You have to make hard decisions, and be the one to fight for dignity, and be courageous and kind. You become like Mary in the movie. You don’t quite know what to do — but you have to do something! So, you mop the floor.
I have met many brave moms. Courageous mothers who fight like momma bears for the sake of their children. They advocate, protest, speak out and speak up. Still others who quietly, yet equally as bravely, support their children with every ounce of their being, through silent prayers whispered late at night. Parenting is hard. This is why God gives us families and communities and villages… and the internet! We need each other. Good grief, if even Mary didn’t know what to do in her crisis situation, we can consider ourselves in good company.
So, if your Happy Mother’s Day bouquets have now slightly wilted, and you are feeling a little frazzled by it all, remember that there is no magic wand. No fairy godmother to make it all go away, and no enchanted mice to clean up the messes. God has chosen each one of us for His specific plan, and the specific plans for each of our beloveds. We must learn to trust that God knows the why. We just have to bring along the mop buckets sometimes.