What is the best Mother’s Day gift? A one-hour massage? Breakfast in bed? A cleaner for a month? No laundry for a week?(I know, I can sense you salivating at the thought of such luxury. Who needs a massage when the bliss of someone else scraping food off the dining room floor is so much more inviting?)
I mean, every mother knows the answer to my initial question, don’t they?
“The best gift was the gift of my children.”
Of course. And on some days they are a gift, even the best gift.
But let’s be honest, there are other days when the gift becomes a nightmare. And it’s not necessarily them (okay, so sometimes the nightmare is all them) it’s all the stuff associated with them – the demands, the expectations, the critiques, the self-judgement.
This Mother’s Day I want to give you the best gift a mother can have – the gift of empowerment. (Generous of me, isn’t it?)
Seriously, empowerment is a gift mothers rarely bestow on each other. We are jealous of captured Instagram moments. We judge decisions to work or not to work. We silently mock when other women commit mothering faux pas while ugly crying over our own.
I read a saying lately that said,
Empowered women, empower women.
It is so true. When I feel empowered, I not only empower women, I empower others. I empower my children. I empower my husband. And in doing so, I empower me.
The relationship of Ruth and Naomi in the Bible demonstrates how mothers enrich and empower one another. Here’s what we can apply from their story to empower each other.
1. You are not alone
Ruth 1:16-17 But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!”
There is strength in “Me too – I know what you’re going through.”
Sometimes that alone is enough.
A fellow mother may not need your advice, but knowing you relate, might be just what she needs to get through. Let a mum know she is not alone, and watch her countenance change.
From sleep deprivation, toddler tantrums to an empty nest, we empower one another when we confess, “me too.”
2. Gleaning makes a difference
Ruth 2:2, 17 One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up the stalks of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it.” Naomi replied, “All right, my daughter, go ahead.” So Ruth gathered barley there all day, and when she beat out the grain that evening, it filled an entire basket.
Endless laundry, dirty dishes, food squashed all through the car. Insignificant. Overqualified. Thankless. Menial. Tasks.
Sort of like picking up left over grain from the harvest.
I wonder if Ruth questioned the validity of her role? I wonder if she had days where she never made it out of her pyjamas and thought, “Wasn’t life meant to be more than this?”
I’m just picking up the leftovers of harvest.
I’m just changing nappies.
I’m just putting toys away so I don’t step on Lego through the night.
I’m just caring for my elderly parents.
I’m just chauffeuring my busy teenagers.
It may seem trivial. It may seem like little.
It makes a difference. It does not go unnoticed.
God notices. Your husband notices. Your children notice.
And that’s what makes it worthwhile.
Ruth 4:14-15 Then the women of the town said to Naomi, “Praise the Lord, who has now provided a redeemer for your family! May this child be famous in Israel. May he restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you and has been better to you than seven sons!”
Some women like to criticise or become jealous of a sister’s achievements when in fact we should demonstrate the opposite. Triumph in small victories, both your own and those of others.
When you think about it, much of motherhood is uncelebrated. That’s why it is good to let your family celebrate you on Mother’s Day.
It is for all the school lunches. For all the snotty noses. All the time you spent waiting outside ballet practise. For the college fees, the home-cooked meals and the nights you stayed up till the early hours of the morning waiting for them to come home.
It’s for all the prayers you prayed, the scripture you helped memorise, the Christian music you bought, the hands you held in worship, the mornings you didn’t want to get out of bed and go to church – let alone drag your kids there – but you did because you knew it may not make much difference today, but it would in years to come.
You got the job!
You’re going on holiday!
Your baby slept!
Your child behaved!
You are totally killing it!
You are an incredible mother!
Happy Mother’s Day.