"The Mythical Mosaic of Motherhood"
"A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones."
Proverbs 14:30 (HCSB)
One crisp fall afternoon while strolling through an art gallery, I spied a mosaic depiction of a woman from the Roman era that took my breath away.
A mosaic is an art form where hundreds of pieces of glass converge to form an image. But I’ve realized it’s not just in art galleries where we can find a mosaic.
Many women have collected bits of information over the years to mentally construct a mosaic of the "ideal" mom. When we step back and gaze at the image we have fashioned, it too can take our breath away. And by that I mean leave us huffing and puffing for air as we race to try to replicate the image in our own lives.
Was there a mom in your childhood who always fed the neighbor kids fresh-baked cookies and glasses of lemonade? Clink. You deposited in your mind’s bank that "a good mom" does that effortlessly and cheerfully.
Did one of your friends in high school have a mom who not only made it to all of her children’s sporting events, but also held down an important job? Clunk. Another characteristic deposited. "A good mom" should both bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.
You picked up another idea when as a new mom you had trouble keeping your toddler quiet in church, but a few rows ahead of you sat a mom of a half dozen children who never moved a muscle. Oh! "A good mom" also must know how to keep her children quiet when the preacher is preaching.
Did you recently visit a friend who has children about the same age as yours, whose house was tastefully decorated and also void of dust and clutter? Perhaps your mind migrated back to the scene you left at your house that morning: breakfast dishes still on the table, peanut butter smeared on the counter and a trail of crumbs on the floor that would make Hansel and Gretel squeal with glee. Piles of dirty laundry. Dust bunnies. Toothpaste in the sink.
When I spend time staring at these other seemingly amazing moms, it can unsettle my soul. Can you relate? We wish we were more like them. It isn’t fair they seem to have it so together, when we seem to be falling apart instead.
Today’s key verse asserts that, "A tranquil heart is life to the body …" The word tranquil here in the original Hebrew language in essence means a heart free from envy — with its emotions and passions under control. It is calm. Confident. Not fretful and frenzied.
Instead of letting our hearts grow envious of a fictitious mom mosaic we’ve crafted in our minds — or the actual mom we sit next to at the ballgame — let’s ask God to help us cultivate a serene heart. Instead of riveting our eyes on others, let’s glance upward at God instead, asking Him to enable us to embrace our unique personalities and talents — even our shortcomings.
We cultivate a tranquil heart when we saturate ourselves with God’s Word, tucking His wisdom into our heart. Then we can retrieve His Word when we need it to speak to our situations and calm our sometimes out-of-control emotions.
We cultivate a tranquil heart when we make prayer a priority and watch God respond to our specific requests — in His always-perfect timing.
We cultivate a tranquil heart when we trust God with our circumstances, believe He has our best interests at heart, and purpose to play the specific part He has planned for us in this life — especially with regard to our families.
God knew what kind of mother our children would need long before they were even born. By embracing our skills and circumstances, we’ll be better positioned to let serenity permeate our souls. With a tranquil heart we can stop comparing ourselves to a mosaic of a "perfect" mom and instead, allow God to shape us into the distinct work of art He created us to be.
Father, may I keep my eyes on You and not on others, so I may cultivate a tranquil heart. Help me focus on the truth of Your Word and appreciate my unique gifts, talents and circumstances. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Colossians 3:15, "And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful." (HCSB)