Mother’s Day. It can be a sensitive day. Many women long to be a mother, but some wait in the desert of infertility wondering when life will come. Others have lost precious little ones. Some mothers are estranged from their children, and some children are disillusioned by the poor example or absence of their mother. Still others, like myself, mourn the always-too-early-loss of the woman who gave them life. I lost my mom when she was forty-four years young, but if she had been ninety-nine, I am sure my world would feel just as empty. Perhaps for you, today is sheer celebration of joy and love, as it should be. Regardless, this day spurs reflection for many.
This Mother’s Day has me reflecting on what my own momma taught me in the twenty-two years I had her. My mother was a special woman, quick-tempered, but quicker to love and laugh. She taught me many things about living and loving. Three things stick out to me in particular.
Love is in the details.
My mom had a knack for making me and others feel special. When I was a child, it was making a favorite meal or hiding a note in my lunchbox. As I grew older and was off at college, her love showed in silly voicemails while at school and the way she prepared my room especially for my homecoming.
If she planned a party, it was beautiful– Christmas included twinkle lights and ornaments on each person’s plate, and those plates were for strangers and family alike. She decorated our home with care and joy, making it a place I loved to be. Her piano recitals became nights of celebration, no detail unnoticed. Her transformation of a room reflected her ability to light up hearts. She taught me that noticing and celebrating tiny details help people feel special.
Love is loud.
My mom always signed her notes to me with “I love you BIG.” So many times, my mother loved in quiet and tender ways– twirling my hair on the couch or comforting my tears that came from perceived failures and truer disappointments. However, her specialty was to love out loud. Taming enthusiasm was a feat unknown to her– it overflowed from her onto everyone around her. If we are honest, don’t we all need a little more shameless enthusiasm in our lives? The examples are endless. Once, she gave a brand-new, very expensive pair of shoes to a friend who had complimented them. When she sent a birthday box to me in college, it included goodies for my roommate and all the girls in my hall. Celebratory confetti that had exploded from the box littered our floor for weeks following. When I graduated, my family were, by far, the loudest people in attendance. I walked across the stage to the blasting of air horns and hand-made signs a-waving. There is time for poise, but then there are times you need to make signs, scream and shout, and blast your love via air horn, just to make sure a person knows you love them.
Love is for everyone.
I still remember a very specific conversation with my mom when I was a seventh grader. I don’t remember the context or reason, I just remember what she told me: “Madi, no one should ever have to go to school without a friend.” That wrecked my little middle school heart and has stayed with me all my days. She was right. What reason in the world is there for someone to not feel loved? If they know you, they should know love. Her little words of encouragement opened my eyes to start looking for where love was absent. To see people. To know them for who they are. It’s a call on my life, sparked and spurred at the young age of twelve by the encouragement of a woman who did the same.
Jesus’ love brought us life, and that love lives in us. Jesus Himself said others will know we are Christians by our love (John 13:35).
Perhaps Mother’s Day brings sorrow to you, or perhaps it breeds gratitude. Regardless, cannot we all love in a way that brings light and life to those we know? Cannot we, as women of God, all be and be called life-givers?
A Mother’s Day Blessing for you:
May you love quietly and tenderly. May you love loudly and shamelessly. May the love of Christ flow into you and overflow from you. May your love breathe life into everyone you meet.
Go. Love BIG. The world is in dire need.