Mother’s Day is almost here. It's a day to celebrate the women in our lives, but it’s also a day that’s really hard for some. Some of us are missing mothers (and grandmothers) who are no longer here, and some of us are mourning the mothers we think we’ll never be.
I get that. For a long time, I believed I would never ever be a mother.
I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer at 26 and battled it for five years. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office with my own mom when he gave me the news. We didn’t catch it early; when they found it it had already metastasized into most of the lymph nodes in both sides of my neck, my chest and up the base of my skull. Shortly after that first diagnosis, I started to believe that a future - and milestones like marriage and motherhood or at the very least surviving – those things were going to be out of my reach.
It just goes to show how wrong you can be about God’s plans. How you can think you know everything about what’s going to happen, and then God shows up and surprises you in ways you never thought were possible.
I’ve learned that, a lot of the time, what God is doing isn’t for us to understand. Where He is taking us isn’t for us to know ahead of time. My mom would say we’re on a need to know basis and “we don’t need to know."
But we try to, don’t we? We hold on tight because we want to know; we want to be in control. We want to believe that we hold the power in our lives and the situations we face. And every time we tighten our grip, we compete with the Lord for dominion over our own lives.
Now, when I was young, I was competitive.
I was that kid who would strike out and stomp my way back to the dugout and kick my helmet all the way down the fence. Or we’d be playing Checkers and you’d win and I’d stand up and flip the board and accuse you of cheating. My sister and I were playing go fish one day. I cheated and she caught me and then proceeded to chase me around the entire house. I rounded the corner into the kitchen and threw the door closed behind me just as she reached out and tried to catch it and sliced her hand wide open. 25 stitches. My mom loved that one.
Maybe that’s you today. Maybe there are parts of your life today that are ruled over by a competitive spirit, a desire to win in whatever capacity – your work, your relationships, you’re striving for personal achievement or to exercise your superiority over something. It’s a hard thing to come to terms with, but I want to challenge you.
God’s design for all of us is that we would choose eternal impact over earthly success. When we choose compassion over competition. Because the truth is this:
We can live in the freedom that God provides when we're driven, not by our desire to win, but by doing His will.
I think back to that first diagnosis often. When I do, I'm reminded of two amazing blessings that came out of it.
1: My strong and courageous mother who walked the path to healing right alongside me and
2: The incredible honor it is to carry forward her legacy, her love, and her example with my daughter, Rooney.
Let's honor the women who have done this in our lives, both past and present. They are women who are learning to let go of competition and live out the truth of Psalm 62:1, just like we are.
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.
Thank you for women: those who have taken on the role of mother in ways that extend far beyond biology and stretch beyond our homes, into our communities, and to the farthest corners of the world. May new life be breathed into each of these women today – may they feel your peace and protection as they continue to give of themselves, to sacrifice, to put the needs of others ahead of their own. May each woman be blessed today, appreciated and acknowledged for her work, her heart, and her commitment to being Mother in whatever ways you’ve called her to be that.
In Jesus’ name, Amen