21 October 2012

the mother's atonement

well, this pretty much sums it up right here. this is what it's all about; talk about an epiphany. inserting my foot in my mouth... now.

i love these two with my whole heart.

borrowed from here

"I had just swept the final collection into the pile.”Pretzels, captain crunch, popcorn, cheerios, chips…” I spouted off to anyone listening. “Nope. I didn’t eat any of these things,” I continued, as I brushed the last of the pile into the dustpan.

The only person listening at the table said quietly, “It’s the mother’s atonement.”

I straightened up, “What?”

He spoke louder and clearer now between bites of breakfast, “It’s the mother’s atonement.”
I stood silently with a pause hanging in the air. He swallowed and continued, “It’s what mother’s do.
They spend their life cleaning up messes for everyone else, messes that they had no hand in making.”

The observance was profound to me. It would seem that I should have been filled for a moment with pride considering that my job of sweeping their crumbs was more Christlike than I had ever considered. Yet, almost immediately, I felt a rushing wave of guilt.

I cowered from the comparison. How many times had I commented out loud, under my breath, to my spouse, or simply in my mind the list of things that I had done for my children? Wanting, for a small moment, for them to recognize and be grateful. It shouldn’t seem wrong to desire my children to be grateful, but in that moment of clarity, I saw that my gratitude requirement was more about me receiving some type of praise or return on my service than it was about them changing their hearts.
Christ never required praise. He never asked for it. He never wanted it.

I can recall conversations with my teenage children where they, in an attempt to get out of a work request, listed off all of the things they had done for me recently. I would then make a conversation-ending comment like,”Well if you’d like to compare service lists we can, and you’d lose, so get to work!”

We’d always had a good laugh about it, but as these thoughts raced through my head Sunday morning with a broom still in my hand, the humor was lost on me. My motives were rarely pure enough for the comparison my husband had just made. The Savior has never offered up a list to compare what He had brought to the table vs. what I had brought. I would lose every time. I know that. But He would never do that.

That Sunday morning comment awoke me to a new mothering concept. Mothering as He would. Not for praise. Not for recognition. Not for a hug, a kiss, or even a thank you. Not because I can’t stand a dirty floor or because someone coming for a visit might see the display of animalistic behavior my children can exhibit. Not for any type of compensation.

Sweeping up crumbs because that’s what He did. With a perfect love.

All that He did and all that He was in His life pointed us to understand the true nature of His Father, our Father. The glory was to be pointed there. It was never about Him. He swept up the crumbs, mended the broken, and made no comment or had any thought as to who was responsible. He cleaned up our messes infinitely with the perfect love of the Father, so that we could come to know Him.

My job as a mother is to point them to the Savior, who will then point them to the Father. Christlike mothering isn’t about what I’ve done for them. It’s about what heart I did it with.

When I show my children who He is through my actions and my heart, then, and only then, can I consider the mother’s atonement applicable to me. Only then do I feel like I am participating in Christlike Mothering.


Dawn said...

as much as i love this, I don't want to be ignored (as i am most of the day)I feel like if we don't recieve any praises we hold it in inside an then one day we forget out worth. Maybe i'm a disgruntled mom whose held it in too long, actions going unnoticed, me not saying anything. Maybe i just don't understand a perfect love yet. Is there a balance between serving out family whole heartedley and feeling/being appreciated?

Andrea said...

Beautiful and attitude altering

Andrea said...

Beautiful and attitude altering

Morgan said...

I just read this thinking "I recently heard this exact story given in a talk in sacrament..." Clicked on the link where you found it and the author is a woman in my ward! Crazy small world. When she spoke in sacrament this hit me so hard. It's made me think a lot ever since. Glad to have the message in written form now instead of just from memory.

Becky said...

Don't have a perfect comment to say here, but I appreciated so much reading this. Definitely got my thoughts and heart thinking

Rachel said...

I really really needed to read this tonight. Thanks for posting this!