It doesn’t take much to remember what it was like being a mom of infants and toddlers. There were times when I felt like an empty vase sitting on a shelf; I felt useless, out of sight and out of mind.
For the most part my days were spent in a small apartment with our two sons and my greatest achievement was keeping noses and bottoms clean and dry. All day long I was pulled on, cried on, puked on, spilled on, sat on, jumped on and laid on.
While the world seemed to be passing me by, it wasn’t all bad; I was the world to my children. I was their favorite
pillow, toy, comforter, counselor, guide, teacher, chef, chauffer, and nurse. But, I confess, I longed to be useful and serve a greater purpose; yet God had me tucked away raising boys. God knew exactly where I needed to be.
“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are the work of your hand.” – Isaiah 64:8 NIV
And before I knew it, I was up against the brick-wall-strong-will of a preschooler. I felt like I was the cracked vase on the shelf and I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I read every book I could find on how to raise boys and nothing seemed to help. Maybe God knew that mine was another will that needed broken.
“‘But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? ‘Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?”’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?” – Romans 9:20-21 NIV
And when I was the mom of grade-school boys I felt like I was the gaudy vase on the shelf. I cheered too loudly at basketball and little league games. I stood at the bus stop a little too long. I took too many pictures. And I (gasp) volunteered at their school! Was God trying to teach me to tone things down a bit?
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” – 1 Peter 3:4 NIV
Being a mom of teenage boys meant I was the embarrassing vase on the shelf. If I could have found a way to cook, clean, do laundry, shop, and meet all my familial responsibilities without being seen or heard I would have been a success. Perhaps God was teaching me to be content in the background.
“In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.” – 2 Timothy 2:20 NIV
And now I am the mom of two wonderful young men. How quickly they have grown up. When I look at the men our boys have become there are times when I feel like a vase filled with flowers on display for the world to see. My sons, my daughters-in-law and my grandsons fill my heart full of love and pride; not for what I have done, but for what God has done.
Somehow God took a young woman who didn’t have a clue about being a mom and used her to love, discipline and rear two amazing and Godly men. And at the same time he took two boys and used them as tools to shape me into the person I am and the person I am becoming.
God will not abandon us on a shelf. Instead he will mold us and shape us to perfectly fit the place of service he has prepared for us. Like a potter who makes a vessel, God knows exactly what our purpose is and the exact right tool to remove what shouldn’t be there, or polish what should.
“So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, ‘Can I not do with you… as this potter does?’ declares the Lord, ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so you are in my hand…” – Jeremiah 18:3-6 NIV
Motherhood is one tool that God uses for shaping some of us into the person he knows we will become. It is not a tool that he uses for everyone; God knows the best tool for each person individually.
Will you choose this Mother’s Day to thank God for your mother – for her flaws, tears, and struggles; for her love, dedication and perseverance? Will you also thank God for using your mom, as one of the tools in his hand, to mold you into the person you are today?