A few weeks ago I got an email that said, “Hey, we’re doing a special video at church on Mother’s Day and would love to have you in it.” Well, hello—put my face and words on a video screen in front of eleventybillion people? SIGN ME UP!
Apparently, the email was sent two days ago and the filming was THAT NIGHT. So, I quickly said yes, took a shower, cooked dinner, finished school with Lydia, ironed three sets of clothes (as we were all still in pajamas–that’s our Tuesday norm) and headed out to the church.
The fun part is that Asa and Lydia (or one of them, anyway) were also supposed to be interviewed. I told the kids I thought the video would go something like this:
Mom: “Being a mom is the most beautiful gift from God…”
Kid: “My mom eats chocolate all day and is 85 years old and loves eggs for breakfast.”
And I was just about right…
They interviewed Asa first–well, after I chased him around the room, threw him into the interviewer’s arms (a friend of ours) and then ran out of the room. He walked out of that interview room bright faced and happy/shy.
My turn came and the first question was, “What’s it like being a mom?”
What’s it like being a mom?
What kind of question is that?!
Being a mom is amazing! But it’s totally frustrating, too.
Being a mom is awesome! But it’s so hard at the same time.
Being a mom makes me see the fleetingness of life. Also, I experience the longest days known to man.
Being a mom shows me my selfishness on a minute by minute basis. And it also opens me up to new levels of servanthood.
Being a mom is heart-breaking, heart-filling-up, heart-wrenching and heart-squeezing.
I went into the filming hoping I’d be eloquent and insightful and witty and charming. However, when I stopped off the stool I said, “Uh, that was pretty negative. Did I say I love my kids? Because I do! I love my kids!!”
I had even tucked Lisa-Jo’s new book, Surprised by Motherhood into my bag before I got there–hoping some of her silver-tongued-ness would rub off on me or inspire me to magniloquence. (<–I found that word in the thesaurus. Oh yes, I did.) Have you read this book yet? It’s so so good.
Lisa-Jo tells her journey of motherhood–how she never wanted to be a mom and then found joy, wholeness and fulfillment in those three little faces that call her mama. Her book moves you from South Africa to Michigan to the Ukraine to Washington DC and everywhere in between.
This is so weird but it almost reminds me, or has the feel of Southern fiction. Like dirty, hard, deep and beautiful all at the same time. I seriously read it in less than 24 hours, dog-eared about 40 pages and sobbed through half of it. (This is a theme with me, I think, sobbing through books.)
As I read her heart-words, I felt the pain, the joy and the complete HUGENESS of motherhood. How God gives women this gift, this hard, horrible, amazing, beautiful gift of motherhood and allows us to influence men and women for generations.
One of her big lessons is also one I’ve been learning for the past 8 years. She says, “God started to show me how to see my son. Not with a magnifying glass, but with a mirror.” Whew. I see my sin in my kids’ eye-rolls, raised voices and aggravated sighs. I don’t want that sin passed to them.
Instead, I want them to see Jesus first. Dare I say, Jesus in me? One of my favorite paragraphs in Surprised by Motherhood could be my motherhood-statement-of-faith (and I probably shoulda read in my interview instead of the random blah blah I ended up saying):
“In the dark and the tired and the everydayness of those moments, I started to feel it–the weight of glory, the glorious ordinary that is a gift to us who are knee deep in a world where it can sometimes feel like we have lost all the parts of ourselves we used to know like the back of our hands, our favorite jeans, our own names. A gift from a God who names every part of who we are and what we do significant. Because ‘he is before all things, an in him all things hold together.’ There is no part of our everyday, wash-and-repeat routine of kids and laundry and life and fits and worries and playdates and aching budgets and preschool orientations and work and marriage and love and new life and bedtime marathons that Jesus doesn’t look deep into and say, ‘That is Mine.‘”
All the days of motherhood, all the selfish are-they-really-calling-me-upstairs-one-more-time, all the holding hair back over a toilet while they vomit, all the crazy I-don’t-want-to-follow-through-on-this-discipline is there in Jesus’ hands, in His heart, His mind and his sight. He is holding all things together.
That’s what I want to point my kids to. That’s what I want my kids to see at 5 and 8, and 15 and 18, and 35 and 38. I want them to see God holding them together.
So, I don’t think any of that eloquence came into my interview. Instead, I heard it from my Asa. The second part of the interview I was to walk into the room, press the space bar on the computer set up there and just watch. And what was I watching? Asa’s answers to his interview. They filmed me watching his cute face say he loves doing CrossFit and playing spies with Mommy and with arms spread wide, “I love Mommy thiiiis much”! Then they asked me how his words made me feel. I said something totally wooden and silly in response, I’m sure.
But what I wanted to say was that I’m surprised. Not that Asa loves me. But that Jesus does. And that He allowed me to help form and lead two little hearts to Him. Surprised by motherhood, yes. Surprised at how God uses sinful, messy me in motherhood, even more.
Happy almost-Mother’s Day, sweet friends! Praying that this day, this week, this year you’ll feel Jesus looking deep into your life, your heart, your day and hear him say, “This is mine!”
Lisa-Jo gave me this book to review and if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you’ll already know that I’m a big Lisa-Jo fan and would gush all over this book even if I’d bought it myself. Which by the way, I did buy two of them for family!