Motherhood Mantras: You Are Loved

This post is part of a series called “Motherhood Mantras.” To read more about the series, and the full list of writers, click here.

When walking down College Avenue in Oakland last month, we popped into the cutest store, Nathan & Co. It was one of those “DANGER! DANGER!” moments after crossing the threshold—seeing WAY too many things to tempt my meager resolve. This beautiful reminder, though, was free, and painted on the wall…You. Are. Loved.

I gasped when I saw it because it was just too sweet not to pay attention to. Perhaps I needed the reminder. A reminder to say this and make sure those around me feel the truth of this message deep down. Sadly, I know for certain I have not been speaking this in my words or actions lately. Especially to my family. I have been short. Grumbly. Angry. Quick to yell. Impatient. I find myself wanting to be selfish. Wanting to finish my coffee without needing to reheat it 5 times. Wanting to respond to one more email. Wanting to watch last night’s episode of Mad Men or Downton Abbey without being disturbed or interrupted.

The last thing I want to do when asking my eldest to “PUT HIS BROTHER DOWN!” or to clean up the wake left after his latest “creation” is to think and say with my words and actions, “You are Loved.” I really want to say, “YOU ARE FRUSTRATING!” Or “Mommy doesn’t have patience for you!” Or “Why didn’t you just KNOW to unload the dishwasher!??!” Rarely do the words, “You are Loved” come first or serve as the backbone of my message.

Maybe sometimes that message is hard to express or believe or live by because I don’t feel the depth of it in my own life. I can read about the depth of love God has for me in Christ. I can sing the hymns of Easter and feel the tug of emotion. However, does that feeling upend the way I live my day to day life? Does it really affect my actions and words? Do I get the truth of God’s love and my humanity in a life-changing way? I wish I was the kind of person that inherently understood and lived from this place of love all the time. Often, though, I feel doubt. I live from the starting blocks of fear. I begin from a place of “not enough” and see the to do list as overwhelming and the barrier. My go-to response is one of self-preservation.

These deeper motivations of fear, doubt, guilt and self may not always be on the surface (although my family might beg to differ!), but they are there. And often, I’m realizing that I just might need a Motherhood Mantra tattooed to my arm. My ankle. My doorframe. My wallet. My steering wheel. My kids’ foreheads. The whiteboard in my 4th grade classroom. On my computer as my screen saver. The mantra that should be my breath, in and out, day in and day out—–You. Are. Loved. To be said to myself. To be expressed through my actions. Over and over. Again and again.

You are Loved.

You are Loved.

You are Loved.

Loosen My Grip: A Prayer

O God, it is hard for me to let go,
most times,
and the squeeze I exert,
garbles me and gnarls others.
So, loosen my grip a bit
on the good times,
on the moments of sunlight and star shine and joy,
that the thousand graces they scatter as they pass
may nurture growth in me
rather than turn to brittle memories.

Loosen my grip
on those grudges and grievances
I hold so closely,
that I may risk exposing myself
to the spirit of forgiving and forgiveness
that changes things and resurrects dreams and courage.

Loosen my grip
on my fears
that I may be released a little into humility
and into an acceptance of my humanity.

Loosen my grip
on myself
that I may experience the freedom of a fool
who knows that to believe
is to see kingdoms, find power, sense glory;
to reach out
is to know myself held;
to laugh at myself
is to be in on the joke of your grace;
to attend to each moment
is to hear the faint melody of eternity;
to dare love
is to smell the wild flowers of heaven.

Loosen my grip
on my ways and words,
on my fears and fretfulness
that letting go
into the depths of silence
and my own uncharted longings,
I may find myself held by you
and linked anew to all life
in this wild and wondrous world
you love so much,
so I may take to heart
that you have taken me to heart.

From Guerillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle, by Ted Loder

Christine is the author of These Stones where she writes about the joys, trials, fun and events of everyday life and faith.  She lives in Silicon Valley, CA and her days are filled with 2 energetic boys, half time work as a 4th grade teacher and keeping track of her husband’s busy pastor schedule.  When she is not chasing her own boys, writing lesson plans or correcting papers, she loves to capture everyday life behind her camera, write, experiment with vegan/gluten free/sugar free meals, or spend time with friends and family. 

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