November 10, 2015
I stared at her from my seat. Flawless makeup. Hair that had made its way through a flat iron. Maybe she had even perfected the art of blow drying with a brush. A feat I have never managed to conquer. Jewelry accented her fall sweater.
I sat there with my hair pulled back in a ponytail for about the fifteenth day in a row. I was wearing the cardigan I had worn as a preschool assistant that day. It had glue stuck on the sleeve and possibly the remnants of a little one’s runny nose.
My one thought: “I bet her house is clean.”
It was just a thought. An assumption actually. I didn’t know one thing about this lady. Not even her name.
But what I did know was how much of a mess I was compared to her. I had passed by the mirror and the stacks of laundry and the supper dishes in the sink on my way out the door. And herding three noisy, bickering boys into the minivan seemed to add to the messiness of it all.
So there I sat in a Bible study. The Word of God opened before me and yet somehow overcome by the lies of comparison.
How often are we as women and especially as mothers hoodwinked into believing we’re in a race, a competition of sorts to see who can appear to have it all together? Who can appear to be the mom with the well-dressed kids, decorated homes, and polished nails? All the while never breaking a sweat or losing her temper?
I’m not downing any strengths or gifts some possess. In fact, I’m striving to better myself in many areas. I’m on the lookout for ways to jazz up lunchbox contents, skills to improve my daily cleaning routine, and methods to organize our schedules. But the success of another does not equal a failure of my own.
In the newly released book, “Hoodwinked: Ten Myths Moms Believe and Why We All Need to Knock It Off,” authors Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk urge moms to seek the Lord in their mothering, not the myths based on a Supermom mentality rooted in comparison.
They remind readers to live out their roles as daughters of the King. Who we are as mothers will flow from that reality.
And isn’t that what we desire for our kids anyway? To be rooted in Christ. To find their identity as His children. To seek out His wisdom. Not to follow the trends and morals of an unchanging world and its priorities.
We don’t want them sitting in their school desks wearing ketchup leftover from lunch staring at red marks on their history paper and thinking that somehow all of those factors have anything to do with their worth.
And yet, as moms we do it. We focus on our waistlines and dust bunnies. We dwell on the misses and the messes.
We neglect to remember the hours we’ve spent on our knees for these kids. The memories made in the backyard with them. The truths we have planted in their hearts.
Those are the reflections of who we are as moms. Those are the examples we want our kids to follow.
One of the lines from the book that will stay with me and serve as a reminder in the day-to-day scenarios of motherhood is “Our aspirations for our children should be measured against God’s Word and not the standards of the world.”
So the next time I’m sitting in Bible study or the bleachers or at my table thumbing through the boy’s graded papers, I’ll remember, this isn’t a competition.
This is a calling.
Motherhood. A calling with an impact to reach far beyond tomorrow’s report card or the latest video gaming system. A calling that impacts eternity.