Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day are polarizing events. They focus a spotlight on our intimate relationships; for some women this is a joyful experience, and for others it is painful. With this in mind, I hope to cautiously encourage all women as we approach Mother’s Day :-).
From what I have observed in my own life, and in the lives of women I serve and know, it seems that we women tend to tie our identity to relationships. If we have a husband and children who are “successful” we bask in the glow of other’s admiration and derive our self-esteem from their achievements. If we are married to someone who doesn’t “measure up” to our ideals or the ideals of our parents, our friends, or our church community, if our children aren’t as smart or outgoing or athletic or dedicated in their faith as we would like, we can go down the opposite path – trying to “get everyone to behave” for the sake of our own image and reputation.
The absence of relationships if we don’t have a husband or don’t have children, can also can make our quest for identity convoluted and rocky.
Regardless of where you land on this spectrum, I believe the need for caution is the same for all women. We are always tempted to define ourselves by our relationships with other people rather than by our relationship with God.
A variety of circumstances sprinkled throughout my years of marriage and life with kids have made me personally aware of this tendency. In His grace, God has continually reminded and convicted me that I will only walk truly in line with Him and in harmony with others when my identity is derived from Him.
When I am reminded of who God says I am and what He requires of me, I can enjoy and cheer on friends and family who are doing well, pray for and support those who are struggling, and allow room for people to grow truly in God’s image and grace in His time and through His purposes rather than falsely in response to my self-serving expectations.
Keeping my eyes on Him teaches me to ask, “What are you requiring of me, God, in this time and place? What do you want me to learn, where do you want me to serve? How can I bring honor and glory to You today?” This attitude enhances my ability to love and care for those around me while keeping my relationship with God at the center of my vision.
So this Mother’s Day, my encouragement is the same for all women in all circumstances: if you have a great marriage and supportive kids, or if you have a difficult marriage, aren’t married or don’t have children, thank God that your worth is defined by your relationship with Him and ask Him to teach you to love Him and serve Him better.
If you struggle in this area, and want to figure it out come talk to me or Thaleia; that’s what we’re here for.
My prayers are with you this Mother’s Day.
Pastor of Women