One of the very best things about my mom is her vigorous and unflagging zeal to find the good in her people.
Another way of saying this is that my mother resolutely refuses to see anything but the finest and the best in those she loves, despite much evidence to the contrary. She cheers when the world boos. She stands up and applauds the effort even when her home team fumbles and drops the ball.
Well into adulthood I believed this was how all mothers were. Doesn’t every mom cheer madly from the sidelines? Don’t all moms write and speak words of affirmation over the people that they love? At the end of the day don’t all daughters come home to the warm encouragement and constant praise of a devoted mother?
Some of you reading this are laughing, and not in a good way. I must seem very naive. Because not every mother is as committed to discover the beauty and potential of her people as mine. In fact some are determined to unearth and broadcast every flaw and failure of those they claim to love.
I have learned from many of you over the years that some mothers have endured so much pain in their own life that they are not emotionally capable of considering you or any other. They don’t even show up to the game. I know some mothers are rarely satisfied; frequently disappointed; often critical, and sometimes disgusted. They seen unable to find even One Good Thing about their people that they can cheer. I know that it’s very possible many of you have never once felt your mother’s warm affirmation in a long, cold, season and this is a great grief to be mourned.
We only get one mom, and she is not guaranteed to be good. But God in his mercy did not leave the purpose of our lives entirely in the hands of our human mothers. Good mothers can nurture and bless the people in their care, but they can’t create a clean heart or melt a heart of stone. They can’t bring beauty from ashes. Only God can.
And absent, sad, angry, or selfish mothers can cause such pain, but they can’t steal what rightfully belongs to God: your life; your faith and hope, and your promised future. You are marked as Christ’s own – sealed with his spirit – and he is making you more and more alive to him and in him. Nothing can separate you from that divine and unapologetic love.
But God did give the world a taste of himself when he created a mother like mine. For her love gives a taste of the unwavering and unabashed kind of love that God has for his people.
For God loves his own with a zealous and unflagging energy, regardless of their sorry performance on life’s field. God’s affirmation of your worth – his emphatic pronouncement of love for you because you are his – will never cease. God’s intentions towards his people are resolutely and eternally for their growth and their good.
Today is my mom’s birthday. I’m so grateful for her exuberant life and her unapologetic love of me and so many she calls beloved. May God richly bless her as she walks in joy and faith into this next year ahead.
Peace to you and yours today,