May 4, 2015

What Love Sees (Sticky Notes from God)


My daughter Anna gave me a handmade card on my birthday. She’d printed “Names of Mom” vertically down one side of a standard-sized piece of heavyweight paper. The rest of the page was covered with rows of sticky notes labeled with “names” like chauffer, cleaner, and problem-fixer. Under each note, she’d written a definition of the name—“you clean whatever needs to be cleaned whenever it needs to be cleaned,” and so on.

I was overwhelmed.

Not only because of the time, creativity, and effort my sweet 11-year-old had put into her project, but because I felt I hadn't actually earned some of the names. Anna credited me with being an inspiration, motivator, comforter, and example of Christ.  Yet I knew I had so often fallen short. I knew I had not lived up to my names. I knew I needed to work harder to earn the titles she had generously bestowed on me.

But then I realized a graceful truth: Anna’s card reflects what her love for me sees.

And this is how God sees me, too. 

As moms, we wear many titles: cook, counselor, teacher, nurse, and on and on. But we also label ourselves more harshly: mean, impatient, insufficient, mediocre, unremarkable.

As I treasured Anna’s gift, I thought about how God—El Roi, or “The One Who Sees”—looks at mothers. In love, God sees us and posts these sticky notes about us in His Word…

Valuable ~ “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies” (Proverbs 31:10). The original Hebrew word translated “noble” in this passage is the same word used to describe Gideon as a “mighty warrior” (Judges 6:24)! Some versions of the Bible refer to Gideon as "a man of valor" and to the Proverbs 31 woman as "a woman of valor." My interpretation of all this ("The Momsage" paraphrase instead of The Message)? Brave, valiant moms who fight for their families are rare and precious!

Cared-For ~ “The Sovereign Lord…tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young”  (Isaiah 40:11). Beloved mom, you are one of “those that have young,” tenderly looked after by the Shepherd.

Honorable ~ “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that is may go well with you” (Deuteronomy 5:16). God so esteems mothers that He attaches a bonus promise to His command to honor them.

Wise ~ “Listen, my son…do not forsake your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8). As moms, we're often so aware of what we don’t know that we lose sight of the God-assigned value of what we do know.

Uniquely Appointed ~ “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). Our infinitely powerful and creative God could have chosen to bring new human life into existence any way He wanted. He decided to use mothers.

After Anna gave me her card, I immediately added it to my mental list of “Things to Rescue if the House Ever Catches on Fire.” Anna’s gift both humbles and inspires me because it paints a lavishly loving picture how my daughter sees me.  And it reminds me that this is how Abba sees me—and all moms: through eyes of love. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).


Postscript: for a gorgeous and stirring picture of how we see ourselves, contrasted with the picture God can paint of us, watch this video of "Beautiful Things" by Gungor. Then listen to Francesca Battistelli’s "He Knows My Name" for a tender reflection of God’s message in Isaiah 43: “I have called you by name; you are mine.”

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!