I finally finished Chapter 8, “Do You Love Me, Ma?
In case you missed it, here are the previous chapters:
- Chapter 1: A Call to Mothers
- Chapter 2: A Vision for the Task
- Chapter 3: What Values are Really Important
- Chapter 4: Start with Yourself
- Chapter 5: God’s Part, My Part
- Chapter 6: Getting in Step with God
- Chapter 7: Going Beyond God Bless Charlie
There were so many places in this chapter that pulled and tugged on my heartstrings. So often when I am reading this book, I wonder, “Am I finding friction within the words she writes because I don’t want to believe that in order to be a good mother we need to agree with what she’s saying (even though she speaks the truth) **or** is friction there because she’s truly not 100% right?”
This was yet another chapter where I had to dig deep to figure out how to take her words, if at all.
Do You Love Me, Ma?
On page 119, she states,
Mothers, too, can grasp for their rights, but sometimes they find their capacity to love is dissipated by their firm resolve to protect those rights.
She’s talking about the very thing I do each and every single day….love my children with everything I have, but perhaps too often under the condition that I still have rights — right to fair sleep, right to tend to my own needs, right to sit down and enjoy meals, right to engage with the things that make me happy outside of them, etc.
She states (on page 120),
Jesus calls us to a way of dying that is less romantic. Each day we have numerous opportunities to live for others and not ourselves. We may serve others and die to self by being dedicated to seeing the good of others.
She discusses battling selfishness and not caving into all the “rights” we like to tell ourselves we have.
I struggled so much with her words, yet again, because all the things she describes with regards to mothers that we must change in order “to be a good mother” are things I am guilty of.
But here’s the thing….I don’t think I should have to feel guilty for these things (or is that just me making justifications?). I know that I have so much work to do on myself when it comes to being less selfish with the kids, and I know that I must work on dying to myself like Jesus teaches. But I can’t, for the life of me, believe that it’s an all or nothing approach.
I read this chapter as either I’m selfless (or work towards becoming it) and have zero desires and drive outside the babies **or** I am selfish and feel fulfilled, sometimes – many times, in places that have nothing to do with the babies.
Furthermore, if I am not allowed to ever be selfish, then as a mother with an autoimmune condition, I might not have the capability to be the mother I really desire to be because I won’t have the energy and general well-being to be that person.
What is the balance of wanting to die to myself without actually feeling like I’m dying (or drowning) daily? This is a balance that unless you’re a mommy spoonie (and/or have some pretty strong other life circumstances) you probably can’t relate to very well. And when one can’t relate (like I doubt the author of the book can), it seems crazy for me to attempt taking 100% of the advice given.
So…..Do You Love Me, Ma? Of course. Of course, I love Samarah, Isaiah, and Amiya with everything good my heart beats for. But no, I do not believe that it’s under the condition where I must die to myself (for them and others) every single moment of every single day.
- What do we learn about God’s love through the life of Jesus Christ?
- How would you describe the kind of love God wants us to show our children?
- What are three ways you could show love in your family this week?
- What personal characteristic (selfishness, anger, self-pity, impatience, etc.) most often keeps you from showing love to others?
p.s. There are only 5 chapters left, and then it will be time for a new Virtual Book Club book. I have decided on, “Present Over Perfect.” Please consider joining this one because I feel like it’s going to be a book we’re going to love. Grab it now because my goal is to start it on or around my birthday (mid-February).