“We know what true love looks like because of Jesus. He gave His life for us, and He calls us to give our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16 (VOICE)
I’ll never forget the Mother’s Day my firstborn gave me a bouquet of dead daisies.
The evening before, I’d watched from the kitchen window as my son roamed the overgrown field in our backyard and proudly picked a handful of golden blooms. He’d sniffed the silky petals with an appreciative nod, then he’d marched inside and asked me for a shoebox, some tape and a roll of aluminum foil.
While I’d tucked his little sisters into bed, Lukas had tucked himself behind his bedroom door and warned me to stay out because he was working on a big surprise.
But when Mother’s Day arrived with dawn’s pink streaks and my boy’s giddy shrieks, the surprise was all his.
He raced to my bedside with that foil-wrapped box tucked under one arm, and he jumped up and down on the edge of my bed until I flashed him a sleepy smile. As he sang an original rendition of “Happy Mommy’s Day to You,” I propped myself up on a pillow and let him plop his gift onto my lap.
My 6-year-old watched with wiggly excitement as I oohed and ahhed over the shiny globs of wrapping paper. Little by little, I peeled back those lumpy layers of foil and plucked at the wads of tape until, finally, I lifted a bouquet of brown blooms from that shoebox tomb.
My son’s wide blue eyes landed on his gift, and a bewildered grimace replaced his proud grin. But before his disappointment could morph into tears, I pulled Lukas close and thanked him for his thoughtfulness.
Then I hopped out of bed and stuffed those dung-colored daisies into my fanciest crystal vase. And with a wink, I placed that Mother’s Day surprise right in the middle of the kitchen table as if it were the perfect centerpiece for our day of celebration.
In hindsight, I realize it was.
I may not have understood it then, but five kids and a dozen years later, I’ve learned something about motherhood that greeting cards don’t acknowledge and brightly colored daisies can’t capture.
While motherhood is a beautiful and priceless gift, it is also a surprising summons to die.
And maybe that’s why on some days this high and holy calling feels laborious and lusterless; monotonous and prosaic. Because motherhood (even spiritual motherhood) is more than a mandate to raise the next generation. It is an unending invitation to lay down our lives.
Motherhood is saying no to the clanking cadence of selfishness and yes to the quiet rhythms of love. It’s relinquishing pride and persisting in prayer, surrendering greed and growing in grace.
Motherhood is pacing the floor with a crying baby in the dark of night and holding a tearful teen in the depths of disappointment.
It’s wiping bottoms and noses and floors countless times a day and listening to the same knock-knock joke over and over again.
Motherhood is chasing toddlers when we’d rather be chasing our own dreams. And folding superhero underwear when we’d rather be rescued from the monotony of the daily grind.
Quite simply, motherhood is a daily decision to paint the ordinary moments of our days with the extraordinary love of Christ. And this kind of love may not resemble a bouquet of golden giggles or blossoms of bright pink hugs. It may look more like a batch of brown blooms tucked in a shoebox. Or like our Savior hanging from a rugged cross.
First John 3:16 reminds us that the beauty of true love is always painted with tenacious tints of sacrifice and humble hues of surrender.
Let’s be honest: Whether we’re moms or wives, daughters or friends, this kind of love doesn’t feel easy or natural. But I’m learning that something surprising happens when we fix our eyes on Jesus and follow His example. Little by little, our lives begin to bloom with a beauty that doesn’t wilt or wane, falter or fade.
And somehow, as we pour our lives out in love, our faithful Savior uses the gift of daily death to grow us into women radiant with His glory and fully alive in His grace (Psalm 34:5).
Dear Jesus, help me to imitate Your love today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 5:1, “So imitate God. Follow Him like adored children.” (VOICE)
Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” (NIV)
Have you ever felt like you’re working so hard to be a “better” Christian, only to feel more frustrated than ever? Join us for the next First 5 study, “Christ Alone,” and read Paul’s letters as he communicates one simple truth: Jesus is all you need. The study starts May 22 — get your Experience Guide here! Don’t have the app yet? Download the First 5 app for free!
Is there someone in your life who inspires you to love God and love people? This Mother’s Day, we’re honoring the women — our mothers, our sisters, our mentors and friends — who have loved us for who we are, and taught us to see with our hearts. Let her know how much she means to you with these special gifts.
For more encouragement and for a special giveaway honoring moms, join Alicia Bruxvoort at her blog today.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Take time this week to thank someone who’s loved you with Christ-like love.
Where is selfishness taking root in your daily routine? What is one thing you can do to lay down your life for another today?
© 2017 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.