Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mother of the Year

So, I have a confession. I thought this post was for you. I knew God laid it on my heart and I bathed it in prayer. Yet, it did not flow eloquently or effortlessly. I struggled with it. It consumed me. I wrote and I revised and I wrote and I revised. My heart had so much to say, but my fingers could not articulate the thoughts. So I continued to ponder this message and pray to God for its content. That is when He revealed the problem. I had not yet grasped the lesson that I was trying to convey, therefore, how could I be the messenger? It was going to take more than writing it out; it was going to take living it out. So, like Jacob, I have been wrestling with my failures and weaknesses. And similarly, like Jacob, I may forever walk with a limp, but I will overcome. (Genesis 32:22-32) Thankfully, I may not be where I want to be, but I am no longer where I was!
I received a text from a friend of mine the other day. She had been under a lot of stress in her roles as nurse, mom, wife, and student. On this particular day after having cleaned, studied, volunteered in the classroom, played with her kids, and prepared meals, she found herself losing her temper with her son.  He had taken the laundry baskets full of freshly folded clothes and dumped them on her living room floor. She found him swimming, dancing and jumping through them. On a different day she may have corrected him with kindness, but on this particular day she scolded him in anger. After sending him to his room, she sat on her couch and cried. In her text to me later that evening she referred to herself as “mother of the year”, but instead of wearing that title as a badge of honor upon her chest, she wore it as a pendant of shame around her neck. I have heard countless women brand themselves in this manner and truthfully I have sarcastically seared myself with the same scorching iron, but for some reason, it touched a nerve with me this time. I thought about that text for days, pondering its meaning and my own unsettled reaction. What I realized is that, regardless of the playful tone, this comment was another attempt to belittle our worth and undermine our efforts. No matter how much we accomplish, no matter how many things we get right, we allow our failures, missteps and oversights to completely supersede our successes. And to persecute ourselves further, we compare ourselves to others in ways we could never match. With the live feed of everyone’s achievements pouring in from places such as Facebook and Twitter, we are receiving regular reminders of our deficiencies. As children we felt the sting of other people’s pebbles, but as adults we seem to prefer to inflict our own scars. The truth is, we weigh ourselves with inaccurate measures and we allow these results to influence our view of who we are.  In a world that esteems individuality, we still contend for sameness. But we are not the same; we are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) In the original Hebrew text, the word 'wonderfully' means: unique, set apart, uniquely marvelous. We should appreciate our differences and acknowledge our individuality.
Therefore, it is time to permit our triumphs to determine our value and allow each other’s accomplishments to motivate us. We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. (Hebrews 12:1)  I know because I have been personally blessed by these amazing mothers in my life. Their examples have influenced me, inspired me and bettered me. 
So, this is to them and this is to you (and apparently this is to me), The Mothers of the Year:
I do not admire you because you are perfect. I admire you because in your imperfection, you have stayed, you have strived, you have persevered, and you have grown. 
You have lain on the floor of your son’s bedroom slaying dragons and diverting boogeymen into the wee hours of the night. You have held back your daughter’s hair and cleaned buckets. You have overcome frigid temperatures to make snow forts and sledding ramps. You have worked two jobs when you ached to be home and you have given up your own dreams of success for a full-time position as a domestic engineer. You have prepared hundreds of cookies for fundraisers and school parties. You have fulfilled birthday fantasies equipped solely with icing and fondant. You have raced from soccer games to dance rehearsals to play practices in order to foster your child’s gifts and interests. You have fought for your child’s label, but have not allowed that label to become their identity or to determine their capacity.  You have spent days in doctor’s offices and hospital rooms. You have read the same books over and over again until their covers tore and their lyrics looped continuously through your mind. You have homeschooled and seen the light ignite from within their eyes. You have cancelled dinners and rejected invitations in favor of bedtime routines and bible stories. You have been an audience of one to each evening’s flute performance and violin demonstration. You have exhibited patience when you were drowning in demands and distributed grace when you were disappointed. You discussed strategies on Minecraft and overcame King Koopa in Super Mario Land. You bandaged external wounds and embraced internal ones. You performed French manicures, paraffin pedicures and intricate updos in preparation for school dances and recitals. You hosted sleepovers that were absent of sleep and still greeted your guests with chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. You praised your child’s accomplishments and encouraged your child in the midst of failures. You allowed your kid to frolic in mud puddles and splash in the rain, focusing on the laughter and not the disarray. You documented their lives with videos and scrapbooks in your efforts to freeze time. You held your child when they would not let you go, and let them go in faith when they would no longer hold on. You coached softball and mighty mites with little experience and after working full days. You have struggled with a diagnosis but not once allowed your child to recognize your pain. You built Lego models, Lincoln log houses, Geo-Trax communities, and Hot Wheel roadways, and then played within these imaginary worlds until the next adventure beckoned. You have gone from hero to villain in the eyes of your child, and remained unwavering in your affection and persistent in your availability. You have rented prom attire, toured colleges, and shopped for bridal gowns while recalling the precious face of your newborn and inhaling their sweet scent. You have labored, adopted, fostered and mentored, and come to understand the unconditional bond of motherhood. 
You are patient. You are kind. You are honoring. You are selfless. You are forgiving.  
You protect. You trust. You hope. You persevere. You never fail.
You are a mom. You are LOVE! (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)



  1. So I am now a follower! Your writing is beautiful and your soulful words have induced a humbling reflection on my own reactions to my life... mom, wife, teacher, just good old me.... "In the original Hebrew text, the word 'wonderfully' means: unique, set apart, uniquely marvelous. We should appreciate our differences and acknowledge our individuality." - I am my own super mom, my own super wife, my own me.... I need to appreciate that. Thank you!

  2. Kara, you are a super mom, a super wife, a super friend and a super you!!! I am blessed to call you my friend. I do not know if you realized if, but the first line of sleeping on the floor was about you, you shared that at the gym the week your ladies were sick! You are a mom who impresses me and challenges me. Thank you!!! xoxo

  3. No wonder we are tired when we go to bed at night!

  4. Maria auguri per questo premio perché lo meriti insieme a quel grande uomo che è tuo marito. Io lo chiamerei il premio della vita. Vai sempre con DIO e con quella stupenda famiglia che hai. Pino e Rosalba