It was Mother’s Day 2013 when I stood before an altar in an empty church and accepted Christ into my life. I realized back then in that moment that Jesus picked that day for a specific reason. My doubt, my pain, my reason for living was all tied up in my role as a mother; it was why I was created. I didn’t understand the full significance of God’s reasons and timing in that moment, but I have since learned so much from him about why it had to happen that way.
You see, we as mothers continually doubt ourselves. We have faith in our children, our husbands and in our God, but we have no faith in ourselves. The world tells us we have to be a stay-at-home mom or a working mom or a mom that only focuses our time and attention on this or that. There are so many labels we feel we must fit into. We grin and bear the day-to-day challenges because we are afraid to show anyone, even God, that we need help. We are unsure if we are making the right decisions, and turning to God often times becomes a last step in our arduous journey of embracing our role as mothers. Then we are tired and weary, and we turn to God as a last option.
It was so much of that doubt that brought me to the altar that day. I didn’t know Jesus — who he was or why he was calling me. I couldn’t and didn’t understand how he was going to help me fix the mess that I was in. But I looked around and couldn’t ignore the call, the tug in my heart, the voice that was love, so much love. He was a God that wanted me broken so he could make me whole. He was a God that understood. I didn’t have to be anything for him; I just had to surrender.
I had been struggling for some time with the guilt and pain of trying to work a full-time job while raising three young children. I felt like a failure. My heart was telling me that my first duty, my life should belong to my children, but in the process of trying to please everyone, the physical and mental exhaustion of trying to carry it all, the burden was slowly crushing me. I didn’t see a way out and there was no light. That was until Jesus…
Jesus values women
Jesus’ love and appreciation for women is woven throughout the Bible. His non-judgmental, loving arms time and time again wrap themselves around broken women. From the woman at the well, to the adulteress, to the women who walked not behind him but with him, Jesus regarded women as his own. At a time when women were mostly unseen, Jesus made them seen. He saw their hurts and their struggles, he saw their hearts, and he walked right next to them, side by side.
What better model can we possibly see than the way he regarded his own mother? God chose a woman to bear his only begotten son — a scared, young Jewish girl who was chosen to bring God’s light and love into the world. She too was afraid. Was this the way the Messiah would be brought into the world? A woman chosen to birth the King of the world, and her resounding answer was, “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” This was her yes to God. Could I say yes too?
Defined by God
And that’s why he picked Mother’s Day— to remind me every year that I am valued, that he created me to be a mother and that I don’t have to fit into the world’s view of who I should be to my children. I know now that he defines that, and I need only look to him when life gets out of control. He helps me to remember that it is not the quantity but the quality of time that I spend with my children, just as in spending time with him. He brings me back to that day when it was just him and me in front of that altar. When I promised him that if he saved me, I would serve him for the rest of my life — when I gave him my life.
This Mother’s Day, accept the best gift that you could ever receive, the gift of Christ. It’s the only gift you’ll ever need.
Melissa Zelniker Presser is a Jewish believer in Jesus who is chasing her God-sized dream of becoming a full-time writer. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.