When I was a kid, I didn’t so much walk down the hallway at home. Instead, I cartwheeled from one end to the other, or, if I was feeling fancy, I walked on my hands.
Mom was okay with this, under two conditions:
1) I had to look behind me before I launched into cartwheel mode. (Sorry for all the times I kicked you, Little Brother.)
2) I was not, under any circumstances, to tumble with gum in my mouth.
I cartwheeled to my heart’s content without incident for some time . . . until that fateful afternoon when I was six. I was chewing gum while turning cartwheels, and sure enough, the bright green wad fell out of my mouth and landed squarely in my bangs.
I raced to the bathroom, closing the door behind me so I could assess the damage. I tugged, I yanked, I wrestled, but to no avail. The gum would not budge.
I can’t let Mom find out! In a panic, I raced through my options until I finally hit on a stroke of genius.
Aha! I’ll cut the gum out with the nail clippers! Mom will never know.
It was a foolproof plan . . . until, that is, I opened the bathroom door. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that Mom noticed immediately—whether because of the large notch of hair missing from my forehead or because of the guilt etched on my face, I’ll never know.
Mom and I had a heart-to-heart at that point about what I’d done and why the rules were there in the first place.
Then Mom gave me a hug, tussling my freshly hacked bangs. “Now what are we going to do about picture day tomorrow?”
It was only then that the magnitude of my transgression struck me. Between sobs, I managed to squeak out a dramatic pronouncement: “OH NO! I CANNOT go to school tomorrow!”
But as usual, Mom came to the rescue. Armed with authentic haircutting scissors, a curling iron, and some well-placed barrettes, she managed to make me look somewhat presentable for the school photo.
As I reflect on Mother’s Day, I’m reminded how much God’s love looks like mother-love. Like a mom, God knows precisely how we’re going to fail from the very start, despite his fair warnings. Then, after we come to him in repentance and he talks through the consequences with us, he holds us and comforts us—and even helps us fix the mess we’ve made.
And later, after our bangs have grown out and the school pictures come in, I have to believe he shares a gentle laugh with us too.
So happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Thanks for faithfully showing me what God’s love looks like.
In honor of Mother’s Day, do you have a story to share about how your mom or another woman in your life has shown you God’s love?
If you comment below, you’ll be eligible to win a free copy of Lisa-Jo Baker’s new book, Surprised by Motherhood.