I could fill the world with books about the moments I’ve had as a mother. Seconds exchanged, glimpses of the glories of God found in the faces of the three children that I love most. Moments. Just passing, casual, regular minutes that burrow themselves into my heart, flashes of life so real that they weigh me down and they push me forward and they always, always keep me looking back at what God has done.
Some of the moments that I treasure the most are things that my children aren’t even aware of. Secrets that reveal themselves in the middle of a dark night, when an exhausted young mom feels like she is the only person in the world who is still awake. I remember the resentment that I tried to beat back as my guilty heart gazed down at the source of my complete weariness. I wanted to sleep, yet here was this needy little baby, greedily crying out for food at a most inconvenient time. Some nights I would wonder how amazing it must be to be a dad, snoozing happily through all of the turmoil and trouble that a night with a baby sometimes brings. But inevitably I would lift a milk-drunk darling’s head to rest on my shoulder, and there I would hear a tiny sigh of contentment, like the still, small voice of God, and I would remember that sleep is overrated.
Don’t ask a mother to measure this experience in days. The days are filled with the non-magical. Of unpleasant odors and disobedient children and astounding messes. The days, on the whole, may be overwhelming and disheartening and tear-filled. They may knock a mother to her knees, convince her that she is utterly incapable of raising children. You see, the days are the hard part. But in the moments a mother finds her strength and her encouragement and her awe. It only takes the most minuscule glimpse of the love of God to gird a mother up and steel her for another day of non-magic. The moments are flashbulbs that light the way for a weary mother’s heart: the way a baby will sometimes throw his head back and cackle. The sheer joy in a kindergartner’s face when she spots her mama at the end of a school day. The way a fifth grader will occasionally slip his hand inside his mother’s. Waking in the morning light to the sound of a precious little voice calling. Love notes in elementary scrawl.
When it comes to Mother’s Day, every mother knows that there is no such thing. It’s just another chance, like all days are, for God to take our breath away with one baby smile. For Him to whisper His love and care for us through the tiniest moments that have nothing to do with breakfast in bed or spa days or gift cards. The real treasures of motherhood are far removed from the picture perfect poses that flood Instagram. Mothers are much more likely to run smack into a cherished moment during a long, miserable night with a vomiting child than we are at a Mother’s Day brunch. And somehow, as God pours out His love through us, He also pours His love on us through needy, often unreasonable, regularly pitiful children who happen to have a knack for pointing us to the great, precious, unequaled love of the Father, one gracious moment at a time.
What a gift.