Motherhood is Servanthood

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Happy Mother's Day!  I can honestly say that I had not even thought about Mother's Day until two days ago and that is only because my husband brought up the (lovely) idea to take me out for a nice child-free dinner.  Mothers and fathers deserve to be applauded and acknowledged on their respective days.  Parenthood is a 24/7 job, with few vacations or accolades.

This is my first Mother's Day with a child identified as having a rare disease and special needs.....I suppose it is no surprise that I had not given much thought to Mother's Day.  I do not question the depth of my daughter's love for me but she is unable to communicate and express that love at this time.  I won't be receiving handmade cards or breakfast in bed or even a big hug accompanied by, "I love you mama."  Other than the cute little hand-painted flower pot sent home from school and anything that my husband initiates for Mother's Day, this day is like any other day in our household.  Our situation may be a little unique, but in reality, I think it is often the same for mamas with typically developing children.  We may receive a few niceties on Mother's Day, but motherhood, by nature, is servanthood.

It is such a joy and an honor to welcome our children into the world and just as swiftly, we are thrown into the role of servant.  The sleepless nights, blowout diapers, and time and energy spent caring and providing for these tiny little people leave us feeling drained.  It doesn't get much easier as they get older.  One developmental phase leads to another, with new adventures and new challenges.  It is not often glamorous, and quite frankly, motherhood is usually filled with very ordinary, menial, and sometimes disgusting tasks.

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Matthew 23:11-12 states, "The greatest among you will be your servant.  For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."  This scripture is contrary to all that we are taught in modern society: individualization, self-promotion, self-serving and self-seeking behaviors.  I think, if we are honest with ourselves, we desperately try to hold onto these self-focused qualities when we become mothers.  We yearn for 30 minutes of quiet time, a date night with our partner, time with our favorite hobby, and recognition for the work that we do as parents.  We all know what it is like to sit down to read a favorite book and be interrupted repeatedly.....finally close tired eyes after a long day only to be awakened by a sick child.....pick up toys in one room only to find your toddler has single-handedly destroyed at the receiving end of a hormonal teenagers rage.  Sometimes we even feel resentful of motherhood because we could be spending our time doing something "greater" or more important. 

We certainly all need a little time to re-charge occasionally but motherhood inherently teaches us what it means to be a servant.  Whether we want it to or not, parenting requires a degree of self-sacrifice and selflessness.  So how exactly does being a servant make us "greater?"  It is within these moments of service that we find a deeper and greater capacity for love....the type of love that does not require anything in return.  We can experience the fullness and richness of a love that needs no accolades or praise.  And we gain a firm understanding that love, light, strength, and hope exist in the most challenging of circumstances. 

To all of the mamas out there, thank you.  Though you may feel tired and rundown, thank you for your selflessness and for showing the world a glimpse of the fullness and wideness of God's love..  Do not lose sight of the greatness within you....