What Every Mother has to Know …. {Before Mother’s Day}

Everything beautiful always begins with a willingness to suffer.

Just ask any mother.




When you’d bake up raspberry kuchen for Sunday afternoon dinner, you’d make two pans and you’d make more of who we are.

You made double batches and you made beds and you made more of heaven on earth and a mother can do that with just two hands.

I saw how you folded yours.

A wise mother knows what powerful men can forget — that the way to move heaven and earth isn’t with a strong arm but with a bowed head.

I saw how you learned to pray. Us kids were helpful that way.

We stayed out too late at Gilley’s Pit and you stayed in knots too long and we put you down and somehow you put up with us. And we were wild and you showed us how grace can be wilder still.

When I lost your diamond wedding ring, we went around for days on our knees patting the carpet and you undid the vacuum’s pot belly and sifted through all the sediment we’d left behind and you’d gathered up– praying to find just that one gleam of diamond-hard promise. When you came up right empty-handed, I could see it in your eyes.

How much of you did you lose to make all of us?

You still kept the vow to love when all the starriness was lost and you’ll never know how I sorry I am and how glorious you are.

How many windows and lamps and dishes and gizmos did we break and how many times does a mother’s heart break to fix a world and I heard you cry sometimes behind the hollow panel door.

How many times did you-know-who get in trouble and you got the call from the school and you stood there listening and nodding to the whole embarrassing thing that involved your bloodlines and some strange warping of your DNA in a child who was all obviously like his father and that’s the story you stuck to. And mothers, they never stop believing in the miracle of metamorphosis.

Because believing in the miracle of metamorphosis is the sum total of a mother’s job. The theological term for that is faith.

To have faith that the baby in arms will become the toddler toilet trained before 18, that the cocky juvenile hipster with the big attitude will become the concerned citizen with a baby on the hip and a big heart on the sleeve, and that kid who can never find his shoes or matching socks or math homework will be able to find a girlfriend, job and Jesus.

To have faith that what’s nearly expired in the fridge at 5:30 can do wonders with the last can of diced tomatoes in the pantry at 5:47 to astonishingly become dinner by 6:00. (And the miracle would have happened even sooner but there were those 17 minutes in between that had a telemarketer, a bandage and tourniquet application, and 2 and 3/4 fights, catastrophes and middle east (of the living room) crises to negotiate.)

It’s always the mothers, preachers and prophets who doggedly believed that leopards can lose spots and grace and angels can make pigs fly.

Mothers were made to have faith.

I don’t want to imagine if you hadn’t.

If you hadn’t heaved desperate through the contractions over a belly swollen as tight as a basketball, if you hadn’t sacrificed sleep, comfort and pride to keep me alive, diapered and fed, if you hadn’t made me take that miserable typing class with Mr. Biesel when I wanted a spare with Melanie and Dana and Sibille Menzi.

Thank you. Mothers give up much and never give up.

Thank you. Mothers never stop being with child. You always make a space for me within you.

Thank you. Mothers do hard things when the kids are hard: The parent must always self-parent first, self-preach before child-teach — because who can bring peace unless they’ve held their own peace?

Thank you for brushing yourself off and the tears back and always opening the hollow panel door again. Mothers can be more courageous than entire military squadrons.

A mother’s labor and delivery never ends and for years she has to remember to just take a deep breath. Whole battles can be won by one breath and a prayer at a time.

I can close my eyes and see your hands. I can smell your baking and taste that last spoonful and how sweet it is going down. I can remember how you wore Chanel No. 5 on Friday evenings and planted double impatiens and ivy in big baskets for the front porch and when I couldn’t sleep at night, how you’d sing me “Mama’s going to buy me a mocking bird.”

The stars always sing.

The real stars are always so small and so large.

You lit my whole life.

So how could I let the sun set today without thanking you —  for my beginning and your endurance, and for all the thousand ways you shaped me, and for being a one in a million because you were mine, and my today is in part because of all of your faithful yesterdays.

And I see it again in the dark and in the valleys and in the mirror….

You a star and your light going on and on and on.

:: :: ::

This post is part of the:
1000 moms project

We want you to join in too for your Mom!  

The 1000 Moms Project
Thank Your Mother — and Bless Another!

In a Haitian community where a the average family lives on only $37 a month, a Child Survival Program, founded by Compassion International through a local church, offers mothers and little ones pre-natal and post-natal care and education.

Here the Mamas will learn to care for their little ones, learn to read, and be supported to raise up a healthy, Jesus-loving, hopeful generation.

The 1000 moms Project

And all you have to do help these beautiful mothers and babies?

Just publicly thank your Mom!

We’ll do the rest!

Just share the most important gift your Mom gave you — on either Twitter (use the #1000gifts #moms hashtag) or in the Facebook Gratitude Community, or write a letter of thanks to your Mom on your own blog (I’ll post a linky tomorrow, so you can link up with your thanks too!).

And we’ll join you in honoring her by giving a much-needed gift to a Mom and baby in Haiti.

And if 1000 Moms are thanked either on Twitter, individual blogs (LINK TO YOUR MOM BLOG POST HERE), or on the One Thousand Gifts FB page —- we’ll match your thanksgiving & sponsor a Maternity/Child Survival Center in Haiti for a whole year!

Because when we count our gifts — we realize how gifted we are and we pray to become the gift! It’s our joy to become the gift with you in Haiti!

Together we change the lives of hundreds of kids and mamas! Isn’t this exciting?

Let’s all publicly honor & thank our Mothers! 1000 Moms can make a Mother’s Day Difference!

{And coming this week: I’ll share how we have an opportunity to actually visit this Child Survival Center in Haiti and see how we all together can love on a whole center of these Mamas and children for a whole year!}

Let’s do this thing and thank our Mamas!

{As an added bonus to honor your Mother:

 Wouldn’t it be great if you would share a picture of your mother on the One Thousand Gifts Facebook page and perhaps include the most important gift she gave you as part of your post?DSC_0289

Just click “Photo/Video” on the page and then click “upload,” pick your favorite picture of  your mom, share the gift and click “post” to share it with the whole radical gratitude community over there!

It’d be an honor to include your mom in a slideshow of photos when we celebrate the 1000 Moms Project and how you and your Mom made a Mother’s Day Difference for a Mom in need!}



Free Printable Mother’s Day Postcard for Your Mom

Thank your Mom in The 1000 Gifts Mom Project?

Then let her know on Mother’s Day what a gift she’s been to you and what has been given in her honor to Haiti with this free printable Mother’s Day Postcard

Two versions of the postcard are available: one with a nest here and one with birds here
And you could always give these free printables to give her own joy-in-a-box?

{Entirely optional: You could tie it all up for your mama with One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are— or the photographic Gift Book: Selections from One Thousand Gifts: Finding Joy in What Really Matters ….You can read here how One Thousand Gifts is building an Educational Center in Guatemala…

And there’s a sweet little sale of 50% off at Family Christian Thousand Gifts and there’s 50% off at Lifeway too? if that helps anyone? Thank you for grace.}

And if you are following along with Compassion Bloggers blogging live right now from Tanzania?

Thanking your Mom publicly in The 1000 Moms Project is another free, easy, God-glorifying way to join in Compassion this week leading up to Mother’s Day — and make a difference.

A difference made just by thanking.

A difference made Right Where You Are.

And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God…

And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.

Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!” – 2 Corinthians 9:11-15

{See you thanking #1000gifts #mom on Twitter or over on the Facebook page Or, if honoring your mom on your blog, LINK WITH YOUR MOM POST HERE! Let’s do it!}

1000 moms project banner