Moms everywhere know the truth about gifts. It’s not the certificate for a massage or a mani-pedi or that big bouquet of flowers that mean the most. It’s the stapled together book of coupons good for a hug or maybe, if you’re really lucky, cleaning up their room without complaining. Or it’s the hand-print framed with Popsicle sticks that immediately causes you to do the ugly cry because you know that those little hands won’t stay that little forever.
So, when Mother’s Day rolled around this year I just knew that my mama heart was going to be filled to the brim and I was ready for them to bring on those Popsicle sticks and coupon books and even another hand-print or two!
My sweet girl, bless her heart, can hardly stand keeping a secret and had been giving me little ‘hints’ all week long.
“Mommy I made something for you at school today and you are going to love it!”
“Mommy I made something for you and you are going to love it and I painted it!”
“Mommy I made something for you and I can’t tell you what it is but you are going to love it and I painted it and it’s a bug and it’s red with spots on it and it can stick to the wall!”
But while there were parts of my gift that might not have been completely surprising (like the hand-painted ladybug magnet!) there was one thing that completely caught me off guard.
“I wrote this about you Mommy”, she said as she handed me the card. I smiled as I saw her precious 1st grade handwriting and how carefully she had written out each letter. I laughed to myself as I read the description of my hair as “brawn” and that I am “medium”. I teared up when she said I make her happy.
And then I read these words,
I make her feel important. Important. It was so surprising to see that she chose that particular word. And yet, it made my heart swell with joy thinking that my sweet girl knows that she is important.
But then, well, then less heart-swelling thoughts followed.
Is she getting a big head?
Is she going to be one of those little girls that goes around thinking that the world revolves around her?
We don’t want her thinking that she’s too important now do we?
You see, feeling important is something I’ve always struggled with. There seems to be a pendulum in our culture which swings back and forth. On the one side you have little girls who are encouraged to believe that the world actually does revolve around them. They can do no wrong. They are encouraged to wear shirts with the word ‘diva’ across them in big bedazzled letters. They are so beautiful, so special, so amazing, so perfect that when anything (or anyone) challenges that image then it couldn’t possibly be through any fault of their own. Because they are so beautiful, so special, so amazing and so perfect after all!
On the other side of this pendulum is where the ‘good’ Christian girl tends to land. If I think I’m important then it must mean I’m prideful and puffed up and need to pray for humility and to be taken down a notch or two or three. I need to serve more, do more, be more. If someone compliments me I shouldn’t just say ‘thank you’ because that would mean I really thought that I had done something which warranted praise. And that would mean I’m not humble. And then I’d need to pray for humility again and around and around we go. You think my home is pretty? Well let me tell you about all of it’s flaws and how messy it is and how that thing that looks like it cost $1,000 I actually got on clearance for a nickle but how I had to turn it around so it didn’t show the big scratch. In other words, let me debunk your thinking by telling you just how wrong you were to ever utter the words “your home is pretty”. And don’t even TRY to compliment me on anything having to do with my personality or my talents or my abilities or anything having to do with just ‘me’ because I will correct you so quickly that you will be convinced that I am the biggest loser you’ve ever met!
Can you guess on which side of the pendulum I find myself?
But, here’s the thing about pendulums. They are made using a fixed point. And it’s this fixed point which allows them to swing back and forth from one extreme to the other while always coming back to that point. It’s the equilibrium position. The center.
When our fixed point shifts our pendulum has to work harder to get back to that fixed point. Which basically means that neither extreme is right. But, really, when exactly are extremes a good thing? Not very often if you ask me.
I want my girl to know how amazing she is. How incredible, how special, how loved, how important.
So how do I keep her from being like those kids who tryout for American Idol when they are horrible singers but they swear up and down that everyone has always told them that are the next Celine Dion/Michael Jackson/Mariah Carey/fill in the blank? And then they throw the equivalent of a 2 year old’s temper tantrum if that 2 year old had swear words in their vocabulary and was capable of punching out the camera guy all because someone dared to speak truth into their lives and didn’t just confirm that they really are in fact the center of the universe.
And how do I keep her from being…well…like me? How do I keep her from not knowing how to take a compliment? How to not be a martyr? How to not be a people pleaser? How to fully embrace the unique talents and gifts with which God has blessed her and use those to glorify Him with absolute confidence?
Here’s how. That fixed point on the pendulum? Well, that’s God. HE is the equilibrium. He’s the center.
And our value, our worth, our importance lies in Him.
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. Psalm 139:1-4
He knows when we sit and when we rise. He knows every thought and every word before it’s even spoken.
We are important to Him. We must be, right? For Him to sacrifice His one and only Son (John 3:16) for us?
I want my girl to know that as much as she is important to us (to infinity and beyond!) she is even more important to God.
And if she is already realizing that at the tender age of 6 then maybe, just maybe we are on the right path.
And maybe, just maybe, she can teach her mother a thing or two!