When you truly think about it, motherhood never promises praise or perfection either in our children or in ourselves. So why do we answer this call, why do we choose this as a vocation in a world that encourages self-fulfillment over self-denial, and control over surrender? Though we may begin will idealistic stirrings, we soon realize that the sacred trust from God that we have been given, in each tiny creation, will both challenge and surprise us at every turn.
I remember so clearly the awe I had at watching each of my children discover and embrace the world around them. Eyes wide, and undaunted they crawled, walked and sprinted headfirst. All the while, I would busy myself trying to remove the obstacles or better still to caution them to be mindful themselves of what might lie ahead. In truth, here was this unbelievable glimpse of myself captured in a diminutive frame and operating under a completely different guidance system! And the more I sought control, the more I realized how little I actually had.
“The future is not in our hands. We have no power over it. We can act only today— for yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is yet to come. We have only today. If we help our children to be what they should be today, they will have the necessary courage to face life with greater love.” St. Teresa of Calcutta
This is where God stepped in on my own journey both as a mother and a child of God. Suddenly, I realized both the infinite love my heavenly Father had and how he sought to guide me as well. Mistaken for self-sufficiency and decisiveness, the desire for control had me operating much like my bruised knee toddler when things went wrong. Likewise, what I longed for was the joy of knowing that when I ran, whose arms I was indeed running towards.
As a small child I remember my own detailed oriented mom, in frequent prayer. In small moments of silence, the front seat of our car would be suddenly transformed into a chapel, and her spirit restored. “What are you doing Mom?” , I asked one day. In failing to answer me immediately, I became even more curious. “Wait.”, she said, holding up her hand. Opening her eyes and turning towards me she smiled, “Just needed to pause and talk to God a bit.” And in that instant whatever she had been worrying about was gone. She knew that her motherhood and sanity depended on these talks.
In my own vocation of motherhood, I too have taken to quiet, enduring interludes of prayer to ferry away concerns, and renew me in my day. What I can’t change or handle Christ can, and like the very best of friends is happy when I call on him. Rain or shine, I know that I am neither alone or without hope. Today, I have let go of being the perfect mom and in exchange have invited perfection itself to work in the beautiful mess of life.