You may have heard me tell this story once before here, in the context of “Body Dysmorphic Disorder” (http://blog.beliefnet.com/fellowshipofsaintsandsinners/2011/11/body-dysmorphic-disorder.html), but with Mother’s Day tomorrow, it’s worth a retell as a tribute to my mother and the many of you engaging in some of God’s best work.
When I was a kid it was an inevitability that I would one day have to wear braces. One lone tooth managed to poke its way out in all of my pre-eighth-grade school photos. That’s when my mother took me to an orthodontist for an evaluation: after asking me several times to bite down, smile and say “ah,” all the while quizzically looking at my jaw in relation to my face, this man turned to my mother and explained that while, at the whopping cost of $5,000 they could fix my crooked teeth, they would not be able to fix the assymetry of my face. A tone of clinical professionalism from someone who had probably been inspecting jaw lines and dental molds a little too long, belied the subtle insult. My mother was quick to catch it nonetheless. With that, this soft-spoken, patient and slow-to-anger woman, exclaimed that my face was “just right,” that there was nothing wrong with it, and that we would not be needing their services.
These days, as a mother to a daughter with “cerebral palsy”- (at least according to one pediatric neurologist who in the absence of a diagnosis that might explain Samantha’s low muscle tone, used “CP” as a catch-all diagnosis) I identify more and more with my mother in that orthodontist’s office years ago. My daughter is perfect, cerebral palsy or not. Sam’s challenges are what make her so unique and lovely; they’re the sites of God’s ongoing provision.
And, I have to believe that God in Jesus responds similarly to us. In the same way that a proud, loyal mother can exclaim at the perfection of her child and run off anyone who would tell them otherwise, God protests all the powers of darkness that would tell us we’re not okay or lovable or acceptable just the way we are. Psalm 139, today’s morning read, is an exclamation of just this- that God has knit us together in our mother’s wombs, the unique, marvelous creations that each of us are.
This Mother’s Day, then, I give thanks for the love of our triune Mother and all mothers everywhere.