Everyone has a story to tell. When we make the connection between our story and God's great story, we come away with HIStory, which involves each and every one of us.
It’s the day after Mother’s Day and I woke up with an urgency to say to you “Happy Mother’s Day!” One day a year just isn’t enough to celebrate the miracle that it is to become a mom, to hold your precious baby in your arms and to devote your life to raising and loving your child for as long as you live. The unspoken vows of “I do” are a promise sealed in a mother’s heart. To raise and to love through sickness and health, through tantrums and harmony, through disobedience and obedience, through tears and laughter, through the bad and the good. You vow without even saying a word, to honor and to cherish your child. A miracle it is.
And I think about my mother’s loyalty and dedication through the easy and the difficult times. Her resilience to this day astounds me. I had caused her great suffering through my separation anxiety from a very young age. Something that became evident my very first school year in kindergarten. I attended three classes in three different schools until I finally settled. Or until my mom found an administration staff that wouldn’t get tired of my antics. At the school where I finally settled, I still cried relentlessly at drop off and tried with every muscle in my body to hold on to my mom so she couldn’t leave me. When that failed, I’d run after her car on the street and scream for her to come back. I remember hearing the sounds of my Principal’s loud steps behind me calling out to me to let my mom go. He’d carry me back to the office where he and the administration staff would try to console me. I think once I even climbed onto the hood of the car in order to stop my mom from leaving me there. School may as well have been prison, at least it was to me.
But I remember all too well the last time I had a full blown panic attack like that one. It was a sunny and bright morning. Today my mom had decided she’d try and drop me off in the office since the staff had been so understanding and cooperative. I’m certain she hoped that since they had embraced me that I would be more likely to stay. So she walked me in and as she prepared to leave, I ran after her. I ran out the door and into the courtyard. I held on to her and pulled on her so tightly I made her lose her balance. She fell on her knees that morning in great pain. I had caused her to scab her knee and to cut her thumb pretty badly. I felt so awful that morning. The severity of my actions played over and over in my head. My mom cried. I’m certain it was partly the physical pain, but mostly the frustration and feeling of discouragement. And I had caused this, all of this.
Well my mom quickly got up and shook it off. I believe that day I came home with her. And what has stayed with me most through these years, is the great pain I caused her, but also the great lesson she taught me. Every morning in the car as we drove my sisters to school first, I could feel the nerves in my body becoming agitated and it was like a thousand butterflies fluttering in my stomach knowing that I would be dropped off and left without my mommy. But from the moment we drove out of the driveway of our home to the moment we arrived at my school, my mom taught me to pray. And I mean to pray heartfelt prayers and cries to Jesus. She couldn’t fix this problem. She couldn’t fix me. So she taught me to rely on the One, the only One who could make my internal pain and suffering go away. She allowed me to feel and to cry and to learn to depend on my Savior (and that was not her). So I learned to recite, and then to pray and then to feel and understand the words of this verse (first in Spanish because that is how I learned them):
No temas, porque yo estoy contigo; no desmayes, porque yo soy tu Dios que te esfuerzo; siempre te ayudaré, siempre te sustentaré con la diestra de mi justicia. - Isaias 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. - Isaiah 41:10
It would be weeks before I would stay comfortably at school without my mom. But in the weeks following the incident, I talked to Jesus. I told Him how bad I felt and how awful it was to be away from my mom for so many hours every day. He heard me, He saw me, and He answered me. Anytime I felt the sadness come on at school, I would begin reciting that verse that my mom had so patiently and lovingly taught me. What was once a terribly difficult time for my mom and me, turned out to be my most cherished moments, my first teachings of walking and talking with Jesus. And this very verse that she taught me would be the one to get me through my own trial of sickness in the midst of motherhood, 32 years later.
So wherever you find yourself today sweet mom, know that when you teach your children to rely on their Savior and not you, you teach them the greatest lesson of their life. The greatest lesson that will take them through their own trials of motherhood and beyond.
So yesterday we celebrated and we danced in the beauty, in the miracle of being a mom. And today we are back to the day to day grind, to the monotony of everyday life. And so today, an ordinary day, I say to you, Happy Mother’s Day. Because it is what you do today and every day, day in and day out that matters most. The organizing of schedules for your multiple children, the driving them to and fro, the lunches you pack, the clothes you fold, the bathrooms you wipe down, the dishes you wash, the stains you remove from uniforms, the dinner you prepare, the grocery shopping that you complete. The labor of love that keeps on going.
So continue wiping those tears, treating those wounds, kissing those cheeks, smiling and hugging those littles.
Thank you Jesus for the miracle of motherhood. Thank you mami for teaching me the miracle of Jesus.
Praising my Savior today,
Damaris U Avila
Damaris U. Avila lives with her loving husband and their two inquisitive and sweet girls. Through personal storytelling, she invites women to share and see themselves in God's story. She leads young girls through BeYOUtiful Girl Time, a sisterhood where girls are encouraged to become the women God designed them to be.
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."