My middle child, Zaidee, had her ninth birthday recently. Of course you want your child to feel special and loved on their birthday. She started her morning opening presents and then it was off to school to be the celebrity of the day. I blessed her with my presence at lunch, where she discovered the awesome chocolate cupcake with sprinkles in her bag. Surely the daily note I wrote on her napkin was going to have an extra-special message for her. After we were reprimanded by the school librarian for talking during “quiet time,” I kissed her good-bye, waved to all her friends, and was off to perform miracles.
Our original plans to go out to dinner had been circumvented by softball season. Zaidee’s first practice was scheduled for 5-7 and her older sister, Solanna’s, from 7-9! Plan B: take out. Even though I had a million things to do that day, I was determined to make it work. In breaking up my tasks, I decided to run errands while Zaidee was at practice with her dad and return with dinner. While poor Solanna froze alone in her practice, we would be singing the Happy Birthday song, eating cake. Not ideal, but I was still going to pull it off…until 10 minutes before Zaidee’s practice when I realized one of my errands was to buy her new cleats. Rats--my bricks were beginning to crumble! Once again, I kissed everybody (apparently my other two kids would rather freeze playing on the ball field than run errands with me), and left with even more determination. I might have forgotten class picture day, and my daughter might be practicing in cleats a size too small, but I was about to fix all that!
No I wasn’t. Once again, no Mother-of-the-Year award for me.
Who was I kidding? Only myself. We all joke around about the Mother-of-the-Year award because we know it doesn’t exist. What we are really trying to do is make sure that when our kids grow up they have more of the “my mom is awesome” memories than the “my mom is a basket case” ones. Am I right? And for my kids, I’m sure the jury is still out.
Why am I sharing all this? Well, I think that many times we moms measure our worth in terribly reductionistic ways. What I am accomplishing is not near as important as how Christ is transforming me. Let’s break down the two:
Accomplishing looks at what I can produce. I would have loved to have produced a nice hairstyle and smashing outfit for Zaidee (yes, she was again the victim for that one) on picture day instead of dressing her for Phys. Ed. Accomplishing leads to my praise. Who gets the credit for the adorable 3rd grader in her picture? I do, baby. And then it’s done. I have received my reward, a notch in my belt for Mom-of-the-Year. Yet in these and even our much bigger accomplishments, we are left still longing, unfulfilled. The vicious cycle continues.
Transforming looks a lot different. As a matter of fact, instead of building myself up (as much as I may try) I am becoming poor in spirit, even broken. Jesus called the poor in spirit blessed, because it is then that we completely depend on Christ. We look to what He has accomplished on our behalf. Instead of seeking our own praise, in humility our purpose is to Glorify God—finding our joy in Him no matter what the circumstance. In both our failures and successes, He is transforming us into the image of His Son. We trust in Him who is able, as He builds in us character and holiness. We serve in light of the gospel, from gratitude of His love and through the power of His Spirit. As we persevere, He is our reward, the Everlasting—never to leave us unfilled.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that accomplishment is bad in itself. In fact, I have a lot to do today. And I have many ambitions for my future. However, I cannot look to my accomplishments for my meaning and value. I rest in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is sufficient for all my needs.
**Related Scripture for further meditation: Matthew 5:3, 6:1-4; Phil. 4:4; Eph. 3:13-21