"You're kidding. You have to be kidding." These were my wonderful words of comfort when my husband called me from the hospital with the news that he had appendicitis and was being scheduled for an emergency appendectomy. Selfishly, I was thinking there had to be a way that he could just suck it up and save his appendix problems for next month or something. The timing was ridiculous. My only hope was that he was pulling my leg.
That winter had taken its toll on my family. I kicked off all the fun with a case of walking pneumonia. First, I went through a couple of weeks of mom-denial: moms can't get sick; we are needed. So, I thought a couple tablets of ibuprofen would take the edge of my fever while I tried not to hack all over the lunches I was packing and all the dishes of love I was serving up. But when my daughter got sick, I knew it was time for a doctor.
Over the next month, my three children and I had all been through the ringer with the first dose of antibiotics being ineffective, returning to the out-of-town doctors for something stronger, along with nebulizers, threats of the emergency room, and heaps of makeup work from school. In between, I was trying to make the best of it by coming up with some fun crafts to do with the kids in all our extra downtime. We were down to one remaining child to finish nursing to health when Matt began complaining of "uncomfortable pains" in his abdomen. I figured it was stress. Resolved to be a normal family again, I began baking chocolate chip cookies, which should make everything better. That's when Matt called. That's when I gave my less-than-compassionate response.
And that's when I had to call in the big guns: my own mom. Her speedy arrival was like a strange combination of a Mafia flick and a "Cat and the Hat" episode. She was, in a sense, "the fixer." Mom walked in with everything I needed to guiltlessly leave my sick child, have the energy to be by my husband's side, and even to return home and unwind. Mom knows me well. She knows my kids well. And she knows how to be a mom. She showed up with a bag of my favorite coffee, all the ingredients to make chicken noodle soup, some reading material and stuff to do with my daughter, and an overnight bag. How she got here as quick as she did with all that is beyond me.
That was two years ago, and it had a powerful influence on me. Mothers are influential people. One reason I think their influence is so prevailing is because our mothers know us like no one else. From the day we discover we are with child, we begin to pray, to nurture, to learn, and to fix things.
We fix scraped knees, wounded egos, and sometimes even uncontrollable circumstances. We comfort and encourage. We love unconditionally, but not without standards, as we do all we can to shape our children in their formative years. We are preparing them for adult-hood, fixing them to leave. And mothers know that this kind of love doesn't expire when their kids leave home.
While the compilation of these many acts of love certainly gives credibility to our position of influence, it's our unseen confession of hope that helps us to persevere, pointing our children to the true fixer, Jesus Christ. Mothers know we need to rely on God's strength. Our confession of hope is not in our own abilities to run the world. Motherhood is humbling, so we can identify with weakness. Our confession of hope is that Jesus is Lord. Our hope is in the One who fixes us. And He is no enabler. Jesus guarantees that there will be a cross to carry, even as He has redeemed us and is making us holy.
I wavered a little after my husband's phone call two winters ago. I wish I could say that was the only time. But Christians are exhorted, "Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful" (Heb. 10:23). Moms are to encourage and equip their children to fix their eyes on Christ.
That's what my mom did when I returned home after a long evening. While we strive to be dependable, Christian mothers know that our children will never be satisfied in depending on us. The truth is, I needed more than chicken noodle soup and a baby sitter. I needed to be reminded of my confession of hope.
What I could see were sick kids, a husband recovering from surgery, and a growing backload of work. What I could feel were my very weary bones and tired eyes. And mom. She blessed me that day by giving me what I can't see. She reminded me of my hope, my ultimate blessing, Jesus Christ. I was then able to be a blessing to my family. Now we see the cross, but one day our faith will be sight, and we will be in glory with our Lord in the new heavens and the new earth.
Jesus is Lord. Not mothers or circumstances. Our confession of hope influences how we handle our everyday lives, love our families, and in turn influence all those around us.