Somewhere around week four of the COVID-19 stay at home order, our old home videos came out of the cabinet. It had been ages since we had seen those moving images of our children’s first smiles, first words and first steps. With our first born on the cusp of starting college it seemed a fitting way to finish his senior year. It provided hours of fun for us all as we went down memory lane. We laughed at our outdated clothes and hairstyles and all the silly things we did and said. I was surprised by how much life we have lived and was struck not only by the youth of our kids but also by the youth of us, their parents. We were kids raising kids! I was tickled at times by our immaturity but touched by our offering. There was so much we did not know. Yet our lives were in the hands of the One who knows all, which made all the difference.
Afterwards, I went on a bike ride by myself, reminiscing the years gone by, contemplating the grace of God and lessons I’m learning as a mom. 1 Peter 4:8 immediately came to mind, “Above all, love each other deeply, since love covers a multitude of sins.” This is the truth that keeps rising to the top and toppling all my fears. Like the sun shining brightly on my face that day, God’s word was lighting up my soul with hope. Could it be, in the end, what mattered most was not getting it all right, but being right in the middle of His heart, where true love lives? That love is what remains and is remembered? Where it’s less about being perfect and more about being present? Where my failures are eclipsed by His faithfulness and my regrets replaced with rejoicing? Where my deepest desires are finally fulfilled in God Himself? My own mother went to heaven over a decade ago, but if I could ask her these questions, I’m certain she would give me a resounding, “Yes!”
As moms (whether biological, adoptive, foster, or spiritual) in Christ, we are also daughters of the King, parented by our heavenly Father. This too hit me afresh as I watched those home movies. As intensely as I observed my own children through the camera lens, God is infinitely more attentive to us. He is El Roi, the God who sees, and the One who “gently leads those with young” (Isaiah 40:11). He notices our sacrifices, our sincerity, and the significant moments never captured on film. He watches us with more affection than we can comprehend. He also views our selfish sin but that is what Jesus died for on the cross. As with a child learning to walk, He patiently stands by us with arms wide open, celebrating every continued step in and towards Him. Not shaming us when we slip but rather lovingly showing us the Way, and His way even uses our mistakes for good.
This Mother’s Day, what if we really saw ourselves as children of God? “See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God and so we are.” (I John 3:1) What if we looked up to the only perfect parent who encourages and nurtures us with a steadfast love like no other? What if the Father’s pure and enduring love so filled our hearts that we overflowed to all the ones He has given us to lead? What if somewhere in the process, our own sin and weaknesses dimmed in the light of His holiness and power? What if this Mother’s Day we made it less about us and ours and more about Him and His?
There is still a lot I do not know, with more mothering to come. However, I’m learning that these days of loving deeply, with a deep love from God, is no small thing. It will be what overcomes much of what sins over takes. As the Message Bible states in 1 Peter 4 “love makes up for practically anything.” So, whether we are watching old home videos or living in real time, let’s see our children and ourselves through God’s eyes, and above all trust His love never fails. For as 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “Faith, hope, and love abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Happy Mother’s Day!