Friday, January 16, 2015

Being a Mommy Like Jesus

It's an image so common on social media today as to be clichéd.  Mom desperately needs some time to herself, so she locks herself in the bathroom with a book, despairing over the little fingers that find their way under the door.  I've been there.  I'm a stay at home Mom with a three year old at home and a six and eight year old at school.  Those hours between school dismissal and bedtime are precious, but they can be tough, with too much to do and not enough time to do it. I literally cry when my littlest one skips her nap because that means I won't have any time alone that day.  Being an introverted parent of extroverted kids is not easy, but it doesn't do me any good to worry about the rest I'm not getting.

We just finished reading through the New Testament as a family.  The plan had us reading the Gospel of Mark at the end, and one story has stayed in my heart for several weeks.  Jesus knew what it was like not to have any alone time. Everywhere he went, he was followed by large crowds of people.  Even his "inner circle" had 12 men who were with him almost constantly.  At one point, he did send the 12 out to spread the news of the coming kingdom of God.  When they returned, just after the news reached Jesus that his cousin and announcer, John the Baptist, had been killed, Jesus needed some time away.  He needed time to grieve the loss of John, to teach his close followers, to pray on his own.  This is what happened:
And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while." (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves. The people saw them going, and many recognized them and ran there together on foot from all the cities, and got there ahead of them. When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:31-34)
I hope it's not blasphemous to say so, but Jesus seems so much like a mother in this story.  He's been as busy as can be, but his children, his followers still need him.  So, weary but compassionate, Jesus feeds them, teaches them, loves them.  Instead of despairing, he just pushes through a little longer until their needs are met.

Then he gets his rest.  After he feeds the crowd, both spiritually and physically, he sends his disciples out on a boat and dismisses the people.  Then he's able to go to the mountain alone to pray (Mark 6:46-47). 

When I compare myself to Jesus, I don't always see the same compassion, the same willingness to lay my own weariness aside for a few more hours to tend to children's hungry bodies and souls.  Too many times I find myself locked in that bathroom, sad or angry when they seem to need one more thing, and I feel like my energy is spent.  I forget that they go to sleep long before I do, and that my rest IS coming. 

Sometimes it's easy to do our jobs as moms with a martyr-like attitude, thinking about the rest we never get or the vacations we never take.  However, in my life I've found that such negative thoughts only make this most important job a chore rather than a delight.  In the future, I think I'll focus more on Jesus and how He was willing to put off that break just a little longer to care for his children.


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