A 5k with my girls and a post-race brunch at a greasy diner where my husband and boys will join us is a slice of Mother’s Day heaven.  I’m grateful my girls will endure 3.1 miles with me and thankful everyone will tolerate the culinary experience.  They consider it “service to mom”, but I’m convinced they secretly love it.

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden …” Luke 1:46-48

The call to motherhood – biologically, by adoption, or as a special someone who fills an extraordinarily beloved place in a younger person’s life – is an invitation from God to assist in raising His children.  It involves teaching them about Him, striving to live the teachings, and showing them the pathway to the inheritance He’s established for them.  If God graces us with motherhood success, each child will pave his or her unique path to Him, and in the process, will impact others.  No Pressure.  Along the way, a mother gets to teach multiple skills, counsel on all matters, chauffeur, and discipline … alongside dirty diapers, dirty underwear, a dirty car, dirty fingernails, and dirty floors, walls and furniture.  It’s a dirty job, and for many years – maybe forever – a largely thankless job, at least from the direct recipients of the service.  (If you don’t have kids and are considering having them, please keep reading.)  God calls us to be servants and, above all, to love others.  Mothering someone is one of the most humble ways to answer both calls.  Mary’s words, “the low estate of his handmaiden”, are true for us.  We are lowly sinners, unworthy of raising God’s children.  He allows us, however, to assist Him and experience miracles along the way.  We share the elation of our children’s happiness, the disappointment of their defeat, and the sadness of their loss.  Unparalleled love, joy, fun, and hilarity accompany motherhood, as do frustration, pain, sadness, and fear.  Mary’s example is a gift.  She joyfully embraced a socially unacceptable and inconvenient pregnancy, lovingly served Jesus amidst the dirt and responsibility of the job, and endured with faith and hope His agonizing death.  It’s a gift to have the opportunity to love and serve another so intensely that their joy becomes your joy … and their loss becomes your loss.  Yet, I don’t always cherish it as I should.  I’ve screamed, “I’m not your servant!” – and meant it – usually while doing something for my children a loving servant would have taught them to do themselves.  I’m thankful, however, I am their servant, and when I serve them, I serve God.  Nothing we do goes unnoticed by Him, down to every bit of dirt we clean and every ounce of love we extend.  And, when they love us back, it’s a super-sized slice of Mother’s Day heaven.

God, please help us serve and love our children as you serve and love us.