My daughter and I went to the movies to see Beauty and the Beast on Saturday. She had popcorn, and throughout the movie she kept feeding me individual kernels of popcorn at various intervals. My germaphobe side was a little uncomfortable with this, but my mom side thought it was inredibly sweet. I was so touched that she was considering me in this way.
About ten minutes before the movie ended (after I’d been hand-fed about forty pieces of popcorn), she leaned over and whispered, “Mommy, I love you so much that I’ve been feeding you the popcorns I found tucked in my seat.” Then she gave me this loving look and stroked my face with her buttery little hand. Now, I realize we all may have a different gross tolerance, but I want to emphasize that eating random popcorn from the crevices of a movie theater seat is high on my gross meter. I mean, best case scenario I’d been eating her popcorn that fell into the seat. But worst case scenario… I don’t even want to go there.
Oh, motherhood. It often looks like this, doesn’t it? It’s the perfect mixture of unbelievably sweet and yet also… not quite what you expected. There are hard, hard days. Days when you find yourself with the real-life equivalent of leftover movie seat popcorn, in all its various forms. There are days when your heart is so full but your body is so drained of energy, and you feel like there’s nothing left. But perhaps the tug between divine and difficult is what makes it so precious. I recently heard some commentary on this verse, that changed my perspective in a huge way: “But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” (1 Timothy 2:15)
I had never given too much thought to this verse, mostly because I didn’t understand it. But the speaker I heard recently shed some new light for me: she suggested that it is the sacrifice we give as mothers, day-in and day-out, which saves us from living for ourselves.
We learn through motherhood to die to ourselves and love with sacrifice and humility. We learn to love like Jesus did. The very process of raising our children is what brings us closer to Christ with every passing tantrum – IF we continue in faith, love and holiness.
In whatever drudgery I may face today, I’m being saved from living for myself. My hope for all my sisters in motherhood is that we awake each morning and find renewed strength to continue in faith, love, and holiness. And on a purely practical note – if your kid hands you food, you might want to just say thank you and set it aside when they’re not looking. You really don’t know where it’s been…