I’m sitting in a quiet corner of the living room with an open book on my lap, not reading. The book is a decoy, the pages are still turned to the place where I haphazardly opened them because what I’m actually doing…what I’m honestly up to…is eavesdropping.
There are a dozen teens out on the back deck, plus a couple of dads. Eldest is leading a Bible study tonight, he’s been working all week reading scripture and commentary and writing thoughts on scads of little post-it notes, sprinkled like confetti throughout the second chapter of the book of John. He’s spent the afternoon in the garage, heedless of the heat and the smell of bike tires, wood shavings and motor oil, practicing what to say. He has worked hard and I know he’s nervous, wanting to get everything just right. He’s hard on himself, this boy. A lot of prayer (on both our parts) has gone up on behalf of this study. Does it ever get easier, as a mother, to watch your children step out in faith and take a risk? This mix of love and fear, this letting go…my heart out there in the open on the deck as I sit here inside.
From the time they take their first step, it’s a battle of emotions…cheering them on as they move forward, taking a piece of you farther away with every step. The sleepless nights, the hours of school work at the kitchen table and the fevered afternoons, cool washrag pressed to hot forehead. Who can ever sum up the job description of “Mother?” And all this, when they never really belong to us in the first place. Ultimately, the job of a mother is to make herself obsolete.
Mothering is not something you get recognition for, nobody’s going to give you a raise or a commendation and there is no hazard pay, no overtime, no vacation days. Sometimes I rail against that reality and sometimes, sometimes the Bible seems like a boy’s club and Biblical leadership seems to come with a sign that says “No Girls Allowed.”
And I hear from the deck, in a voice that’s stronger than I remember, Eldest reading John 2:3-5.
When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Do whatever he tells you, she said. At this, the first miracle of Jesus, his mother put him forward in an act of confidence that showed her faith in who her son was, what he would become. And Jesus, God of the Universe Himself standing there on earth’s thin crust?
“He obeyed his mother,” Eldest points out to the group of teens.
Suddenly I remember a treasure I found in 1 Kings. Encouragement for mothers, hidden there in the list of the names of kings set forever in the Book for all to read. Some of them did evil in the eyes of the Lord and some did good. But if you look it over, the kings whose mothers’ names are mentioned….they all did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, every one of them.
The influence of a mother’s leadership may not earn worldly awards, accolades or prestige. But one thing we can be sure of…it makes a difference, maybe even all the difference. God-made-flesh experienced the love of a mother, He knows its value in an intimate and very real way.
Perhaps that’s why mother’s don’t get paid…our work is priceless.
This post was featured at The High Calling in “Leadership Influence: Beyond the Stereotype”