How Mother's Day changed me this year

Mother's Day 2013.  

My heart is brought low just remembering that day. Not because of the actions of others, but because of the lingering disgusting taste of my own selfishness on that day.

My anger, my pride, my sin. My feelings of entitlement.

"I am a Mom every single day.
Just one day I would like to be appreciated for what I do.
My way.
On my time schedule."

On that day, when the nation celebrates "Mom," I become a Mom I do not recognize. Or maybe, I recognize all too well.

And my heart hurts, because I don't see Jesus in those actions. I don't see Jesus in those responses.

And neither does my family. My incredible, selfless, patient husband. My sweet, sweet boys.

Who would want to applaud a Mom who has no grace for others on the very day she is celebrated for what an incredible Mama she is?

I was inward focused. Only focused on me me me and what others could do to cater to me.

I deserve it, you should, we should, he should of, why didn't you, where is...

The very words of a selfish heart. And if it came out so easily then, it's been there, stewing right under the surface of my shallow compliments and veil-thin respect and empty graciousness. A friend in my Kairos group said something like, "It doesn't matter if you have all the respectful actions in the world. If it's not paired with a gentle and quiet spirit, a respectful heart, a loving attitude, it doesn't matter."

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment....
But let it be the hidden {woman} of the heart,
in that which is not corruptible,
even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,
which is in the sight of God of great price.
1 Peter 3:4

The words "meek and quiet spirit," to me, don't mean shy and never talks and just nods her head whenever her domineering husband gives a command. No. It's that inward peace, that certainty, that Jesus is God, that He is leading your husband, that He has it all under control. You know the Holy Spirit can change your husband more effectively than you ever could. Because when has our nagging and complaining and hours of talking ever really produced the desired effects?

It's seeing your husband as he is, a broken man, a fallen child of God, just like you, saved by grace, just like you, redeemed and justified, just like you. It's giving him the respect he needs, not because he deserves it all the time, but because God commands us who claim Christ as savior to, and we will be held accountable one day for that command.

I was reminded how marriage is a direct reflection of Christ and the Church.  Wives being the Church, husbands the "head" or the lordship of the marriage. I think the Church needs to work on turning their eyes outward, instead of inward, and then maybe we would see how loved we really are. By loving others, even it's just going through the motions at first, and praying for the passion to follow, we begin to see the worth of those who don't see their own worth, their value, and it changes us. It changes the very selfish chambers of our hearts.

Not just on Mother's Day, when things don't go my way, but every day, when little things stack up and my patience wears so thin a butter knife could sever it. When a fallen man rubs up wrongly against a fallen woman, and the enemy draws our focus inward.

Mother's Day 2013 wasn't wasted. It may look like a failure to the world, but God gave me something so incredibly valuable that day. The knowledge how my selfish heart affects my family, how my disrespect and inward focus distorts the world's view of Christ and His Church.

My birthday is coming up in 1 month. I'm choosing, right now, to lay down my selfishness, and focus my love outwards, not inwards on myself. I'm not giving the enemy another day. Yes, I am going to bless others on that day, love others, serve others, give to others what I thought I so rightly deserved. It doesn't mean I'm not special, or that I shouldn't be celebrated. I love a good "yay Marybeth!" every now and then, but I am learning that when it goes to my head and my heart, it's ugly. I'm ugly. I don't like myself very much when I act that way.

Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God
Titus 2
 
And really, all I have to do is open that love letter that God Himself wrote for me, and I know, without a doubt, that I am precious, far more precious than rubies and diamonds. That God sings over me with love every day. That He wants to show me He loves me every day. That He appreciates me every day. It doesn't matter if you are applauded by the world. They'll all fade away sooner than you realize. But God's opinion of you, that will last for eternity, my friend. That love will wipe away all selfishness and ugly and impurity and yuck.

Keep your eyes focused outward and upward. Let God's eyes focus inwardly. Let His gaze see into the very depths of who you are, who you hide from the world, who you hide from yourself, and let Him redeem the broken places. He can, He wants to. But He won't force Himself upon your heart. Surrender. It's in that beautiful surrender that I have found the sweetest healing, the most complete redemption.

*I understand that some of you may be in broken marriages, where ungodly, hurtful things happen on a daily basis. I am not communicating that you should do ungodly things just because your husband says so, nor am I encouraging anyone to stay in an abusive relationship. That's a very personal decision that some women do make, but it's their own decision. If you are being abused, please seek help.
The respect issue is a hard one, especially in a culture that is beckoning women to assert themselves as the head, a culture that is feminizing men and distorting marriage. Biblical marriage won't make sense to the world, because it's backwards from what the world is. But it works. I've seen my own husband come alive in the spotlight of my respect, I've seen him believe in himself when I believe in him, I've seen the Holy Spirit change his heart, when I stop nagging  my husband and instead nag the Holy Spirit to change him ;) Please be respectful and gracious in the comments. Any hurtful or hateful comments will be deleted, but I welcome all mature and kind opinions.

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Comments

  1. I had a similar moment on Mother's Day, when Jake had disappeared for much longer than I imagined. I said, "you ditched me on my birthday AND mothers Day? Just disappear?"

    Then I felt selfish.

    Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have been struggling with the same thing, feeling entitled to things I believed I deserved. I didn't realize how selfish I was being, not only at home but at work as well.. i am really glad I took the time to read your post.. I recently applied for a higher position at work and did not get it... I was almost 100% certain I would, needless to say I was very humbled by the experience. and I know god has a plan and i'm trying my hardest to just let it unfold and not let it break me down...... Also I think its a great idea to focus outwords and not inwords....

    ReplyDelete
  3. So convicting. Thanks Marybeth, I love your vulnerability and the way it challenges me. Have you ever read the book "Created to Be His Help Meet"?

    ReplyDelete

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