It was hard to be a good mother consistently when my kids were little. It wasn’t that they were more needy or misbehaved than most; it’s that the job description for a mom with young children is incredibly demanding. We’re asked to constantly give and give, with very little kid-free time or sleep under our belts. It may be wonderfully fulfilling to be a mom, but it’s equally exhausting.
My kids are now thirteen, eleven, and seven. Once this September rolled around, and they were all in school full time, my goal was to be a better mother, more present and patient during those handful of hours between school and bed time. But here it is December, and I’m still struggling to hit that goal. What is my problem?
I think my problem is I’m not recognizing the sacredness of those after-school hours. With motherhood not consuming my every waking minute, I’m starting to discern what’s next for me: what my other purpose is for being here on earth. I’m so consumed with trying to figure out that next calling, I’m shortchanging the calling that’s right before my eyes.
He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” Luke 11:28
In Luke 11:27, a woman from the crowd yelled out to Jesus that blessed was the womb that carried Him and the breast that nursed Him. But He responded, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
I used to get so offended by this passage on Mary’s behalf. I used to think Jesus was downplaying all that His mother did for Him. Now I see it differently.
Carrying a child, and producing the milk to feed one, are biological phenomenons that a woman’s body is programmed to do. They aren’t what set Mary apart.
What set Mary apart was she heard the word of God asking her to carry His son, and she said “Yes.” Then she observed that calling, and prioritized it, every single solitary day.
So rather than deflecting the praise for His mother, I think Jesus was adding to it by clarifying that His mother didn’t just follow the natural order of things. She was asked to take motherhood to a sacred level. She observed that request daily, and was blessed because of it.
Giving us our children is God’s concrete, unequivocal way of letting us know that motherhood is our calling too. Although we may feel unfulfilled at times, or called to other things, the mere fact that there’s a child tugging on our sleeve confirms that this is what we are being asked to do.
That doesn’t mean we can’t pursue other things at the same time. It just means that we need to observe God’s request and prioritize motherhood above all else. If we do, we too will be blessed.
Copyright 2017 Claire McGarry