Every night at about 8:05PM the sound of familiar voices resounds off the eternal corridors of heaven. Like clockwork, the tiny voices of the “Dunlap Three” utter some variation of these words, “Dear Jesus, thank you for today. It was fun. Please help me to have a fun day tomorrow. Amen”.
These hopeful petitions of our children have become customary in our household. It’s almost to the point that my husband and I can only chuckle at their unashamedly self-centered entreaties. I mean, in today’s world who could blame these poor souls for wanting some semblance of fun in the midst of the all consuming requirements of phonics work, addition problems, reading, writing, and immense loads of play that fill up their days?
Funny enough, I found myself mimicking the prayers of my eight, five, and three-year-olds yesterday afternoon. The only difference being they weren’t as cute neither were they as unwittingly innocent in their selfish implications.
Can I be honest?
Yesterday was just one of those days y’all!! For the greater portion of the day, I tallied all the compacted stressors I experienced.
For starters, we’re a ministry family, so Mondays are very important in our home. It’s our Family Day. The one day out of the week we can actually push pause and focus on one another. I look forward to this one day out of our busy week in which my husband and I are able to rest.
It seems that rest is a luxury we are not always afforded. In actuality, the past six Mondays have had to be reconstructed into a shortened version of our Family Day. We’ve had to make room for our middle daughter to participate in ballet lessons.
This is something I’m thrilled she can participate in since Misty Copeland is one of her sheroes. I love that Layla can do something that helps her identify with such a graceful and talented role model.
The down side however, is a bit obvious, given my initial statements about the strains of ministry life. Yesterday began no differently. An unusually frazzled weekend and failure to plan well on my part led to my typically mild temperament being short lived. I could see the spoils of this much needed rest day slowly slipping from my grasp.
After leaving later than necessary for the final session of my daughter’s ballet class, I was annoyed. Once home, I gave my girls their marching orders of what assignments remained. I was met with inconvenient push back from the oldest. If you’ve ever wondered how fast a highly intelligent, above proficiency level second grader can cry over math work she already knows, trust me it’s quicker than you can slap your mama! Her sniffles and complaints and “I don’t know hows” were grating on my last nerve.
Since it’s that time in our grocery cycle in which the cupboards are a bit low, lunch still needed to be made, not microwaved. Not to mention the ground turkey for dinner was a frozen chunk of raw meat in our fridge. My hubs was nowhere in sight (he was most likely upstairs nursing the beginnings of a migraine). And the younger two were wandering the living room doing who knows what.
By 2:00PM, I HAD HAD IT! I was too through with this day as I angrily prepared tuna fish melts! Slamming pans, mayo, and other things was now up for grabs in my mind. Unlike the cutesy bedtime prayers of my children, before I knew it, my tirade against God was in full effect.
“Why does HE get to check-out while I have to do ALL the work?!” “I HATE this!” “It’s not fair that I have to do everything!” “If this little girl doesn’t get herself together I’m going to scream!” “I’m about to just walk out this door, get in the car and keep driving!” My internal hissy fit went on and on and on and on and…you get the picture.
I stopped short of throwing the spatula against the wall although I envisioned myself doing it.
Needless to say, my rant proved that I could care LESS about having a “fun” day today, tomorrow, or any day for that matter. The pressures of life, the frustrations with my calling, the loneliness of my situation, the fatigue of my weekend, my anger toward my daughter, the disappointment of my day, my annoyance with my husband, and my disillusionment with God…were all too much to bare in that moment.
So, why am I telling you this?
Simply because many times we as moms feel we must wear the mask of having it all together. We’re the doctor, the seamstress, the laundress, the chef, the comforter, the referee and SO many other things! Days feel long and life seems short. With much toil and little fanfare, we keep the ship of our family’s life afloat and it can seem inconsequential to everyone but us.
But dear woman, be comforted in knowing that the God of heaven hears our silent cries, our adamant pleas, and our loud groans! Jesus was well acquainted with a mother’s pain. He gazed lovingly upon his weeping mother as he laid splayed upon that old rugged cross for the whole world to see. How do I know this?
It’s simple. The Son’s words reveal his mindfulness towards his mother.
“Woman, behold your son.”
Yes, Jesus is God…in the flesh. He is omniscient. So of course he knew all that Mary experienced as an earthly mother. But what’s even more amazing about our Lord is the fact that in his Incarnation, or in his humanity, he was able to see up close and personal the pressures and pulls, strains and drains, and needs and efforts of a mother. Let’s face it, for his time here on earth, he actually did have a mommy.
The words of Jesus that the Scriptures record in John 19:25-27 pulls back more of the curtain on his soft spot for his mother. The term momma’s boy has taken on a humorously negative tone in this day and age. But the fact that Jesus was willing to take a few moments out of his already “busy” day up on that cross shows us that he encompassed what a mother truly needs…HIM!
When it came time for Jesus to face the cross, he was also in tune with the cultural and societal implications of Mary’s looming fate. With the death of Mary’s oldest son and her presumed status as a widow, in that ancient society, she would have been left destitute.
Had Jesus not intervened in Mary’s personal crisis, she would have been “dead broke and naked”. This is my dramatic phrase of choice I use all too loosely when describing the outcome of my money fears. Except in Mary’s case this would be no joking phrase but life itself.
This would have been the ultimate pain of a faithful life lived in servitude to her God. I wonder if Mary’s “Yes” on a commonly uncommon Nazareth day almost thirty-four years earlier was spoken in full comprehension of what it would one day lead to. For this question, I do not have the answer.
On the contrary, I can say with certainty that when I entered into the realm of motherhood, I had NO clue what I was signing up for!
Nevertheless, I am comforted by the fact that Jesus, who knows everything, was concerned for his mother. For Jesus to ensure Mary was cared for by his beloved disciple, John, after his death was the ultimate act of care and love. Likewise, Jesus IS concerned with Noelle, Layla and Curtis Jr.’s mom as well!
So, when I angrily pray, resentfully serve (is that even a thing??) and begrudgingly give in to my heavenly Father’s plan, Jesus is on the throne looking upon me with the same concern he felt towards his own grieving mother.
He does not only care for my spiritual needs. You see, something like that would be too limited for him. But he is big enough to ensure my earthly needs are met as well! I pray this comforting truth will encourage your hearts to pray one more prayer today, no matter how selfish. He hears, he understands and he WILL act!
Blessings dear friends. Keep pressing!