Mother's Day. It's been rolling around every year since 1908. Well before I entered this world. But in my 40+ years of being a Son, 20+ years of being a Husband, and now 15 years of being a Dad, I'm not sure I've ever gotten it right. On May 6th, 2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant did a great job of honoring his Mom on an international platform.
I'd have to say, if anyone ever did, he got it right! I just posted a short clip, but the full speech brought me to tears. In addition to taking some humorous "pot shots" at some of the people/organizations who said he'd never amount to much, Durant just poured his heart out in thanks for the selfless sacrifice that his Mom made through the years. SO powerful!
But Mother's Day is always a mixed bag for me.
It's not Wife's Day, it's Mother's Day
I want to honor my wife. She IS a great Mother to our kids, but of course she's not *my* Mom, so I've never felt a great need to make a big deal about her on Mother's Day. I believe I've even told her in the past, "It's not Wife's Day, it's Mother's Day." Yeah...not good. So, as you can imagine, I've really botched it up for my wife on more than one occasion. Thank God for forgiveness and second chances, right? Of course, I do see the need to model honoring her well to my kids. This is something I endeavor to do every day. And I will keep trying to get it right on Mother's Day. But I'll be the first to say that I've probably got a long way to go.
I do have my reasons. Or maybe I should just say, there are reasons for why I am so conflicted.
Losing My Mother
My birth Mother died when I was 9 months old, largely because she chose not to abort me. There's a longer story but that's the nut shell. This brings both gratitude and regret. I am incredibly grateful for the sacrifice my Mother gave so that I could live. As John 15:13 states so clearly, there really is no greater love. And it's not as though she knew how I would turn out. I was a total unknown quantity, and yet she gave her life for me. She is, and will always be, my hero. But I'm not so sure her choice was even about me, really. On her tombstone is Philippians 1:21 "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain." She gave her life to Christ just a few years earlier, and when she did, everything changed - including my life. To give up her chance at continuing to live was just being obedient, just following Christ's example. In truth, all of us have someone who has given up his life so that we may live. She recognized that, and followed in His footsteps. I am grateful.
But there's more reason for my source of conflict around Mother's Day. From the time I was 6, I was raised by a wonderful woman I call "Mom", really my step-Mom, and I appreciate greatly and love her much. I wasn't an easy kid to raise. I was full of energy, extremely curious, very naive, and not just a little head strong. Just picture a real-life Dennis the Menace. That was me. Only, my "Mr. Wilson" would be my Mom. So, needless to say, we didn't always get along very well. There were humorous moments, but a lot of tension as well. It was a really good thing when I finally reached adulthood and began to grow up a little. My Mom and I get along really well now - I'd say we even enjoy one another. But again, I've not always done a very good job of honoring this woman whom God has given me as Mom.
The tension for me, even now, is that I have this fierce sense of loyalty to my bio Mom - my first Mom. It's like I don't want to give too much honor to my second Mom as it might diminish my love for my first Mom. But I keep working on it. Because I am grateful.
Uniquely Prepared for the Foster Parent Journey
You may be reading this and feeling just a bit sorry for me. Please don't. Romans 8:28 says that all things work together for good, for those who love and are called of God. And I'm seeing how that has happened (is happening) in my life. You see, I'm a foster parent. This is a new journey for our family, sort of. My wife and I were foster parents before we had kids of our own, and just recently we've taken up that mantle once again. We've been hosting a young man in our home as part of a respite (temporary) situation, and I see in his life a tension that I recognize very clearly. In fact, it's a tension that I am uniquely equipped to not only recognize but to empathize - because of my life's journey. I see how he holds his birth family (as messed up as they may be) in high esteem, and how that has brought conflict between him and his adoptive family. I see how that shapes many of the decisions he makes, sometimes almost incapacitating him. And I get it. I've experienced some of the same feelings, the automatic protective mechanisms, the first-nature responses to life.
And I know, God can use me - and all of my life experiences - for the good of this young man, as well as others who will come through our home. Not in spite of who I am or my life experiences, but because of them. And I am grateful.
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