Recently, one of my friends came upon this illustration online: “We’re all in the same storm, but we’re not in the same boat.” This Mother’s Day brings with it a different context than we’re used to—the storm—as many of us have spent the past several weeks housebound, afraid, and confused, our entire worlds turned upside down by something as microscopic as a virus.
This Mother’s Day also brings with it the unique challenges and joys of each household—our boats. Perhaps yours is a sturdy and reliable shelter, or perhaps your boat is falling apart. Maybe it is stocked to overflowing, or maybe it’s sorely lacking compared to other crafts that seem better supplied. Your boat may feel too spacious for your liking—you wish you had more passengers to fill it during this lonely time—or maybe it feels entirely too cramped (and you wonder if it’s possible to transfer your passengers to other boats!).
A Mother’s Spiritual Storms
So we sail into Mother’s Day as uniquely as we sailed into the storm. Some of us feel like we deserve extra praise for the hurricanes we’ve handled and the cyclones we’ve conquered, and this holiday feels like a needed and right anthem over our efforts. Others of us, however, feel ashamed, completely undeserving of any praise: Did you see how I mishandled that sibling conflict last week? Did you hear the awful way I spoke to my husband yesterday? Are you aware that I haven’t been alone in weeks, of the weariness of my soul?
For many of us, I would imagine it’s both.
The reality is, even as the storm rages around us, there are storms raging within each of our hearts, spiritual tempests that take our eyes off Christ and tempt us instead to focus on ourselves and our circumstances—our boats. What we most need this Mother’s Day isn’t accolades or a change in environment, but the address of our sovereign Lord over our spiritual storms with the heart-reorienting, “Peace! Be still!” of his Word.
The Storm of Pride
It would be easy right now to succumb to pride in its two forms: self-righteousness that pats itself on the back, and self-condemnation that refuses to look away from its failures. We often don’t recognize pride, but it is vital that we do because “pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
In this storm, Jesus speaks to us of his righteousness: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4). He invites us to humble ourselves before him (James 4:10), which might involve confession of sin and which always involves confessing our need for his sustaining mercies and grace. Instead of relying on ourselves—an impossible task and exhausting pursuit—we daily take hold of Christ’s perfect record of goodness by faith. In him, we are freed from the crushing burden of pride (“You got this, momma!” “Be strong!”) and we see ourselves clearly: We are weak and needy mothers whose only boast is in our righteous Savior who makes us acceptable before God and who empowers us with his sufficient strength.
The Storm of Doubt and Fear
How easily is our faith shaken when storms come? How often are we like Peter, who took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink into the sea, even though Jesus was so clearly beckoning him to come and believe (Matthew 14:28–33)?
I imagine that some of us feel ashamed today by our weak faith that has been exposed by our circumstances. We can learn from Peter’s example and cry out, “Lord, save me!” (v. 30). Even though we take our eyes off Jesus and sink, he immediately reaches out his hand and takes hold of us (v. 31). Even as we doubt and fear, he reminds us of the free gift of faith that is ours by his grace (v. 31), that the storms will actually strengthen our faith as we learn to trust his firm grip on us—that he won’t ever let us go.
The Storm of Envy
As moms, it feels natural to compare ourselves to others. How is she using her time? How is she structuring her kids’ days? How is her house so put-together when mine is in shambles?! Comparison can be useful when it motivates us in God-honoring ways, but when it leads to envy and bitter jealousy—when it leads to sin—we have entered a tumultuous storm.
Are you restless and discontent? Are you easily irritated when people and situations don’t measure up to your expectations? Me too, momma. Hear Jesus speak into your storm:
When Peter saw [John, the beloved disciple], he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” (John 21:21–22, italics added)
Our ultimate aim, momma, is to faithfully follow Jesus. Even when that faithfulness feels private and unseen, the Lord of all the earth sees. We will weather envy’s storm as we keep our eyes fixed on his sustaining, searching gaze and trust that whatever he gives us (and others) is exactly right according to his perfect wisdom, timing, and purposes.
The Storm of Discord
Maybe this Mother’s Day brings relational brokenness intensified by quarantine, whether loneliness, disagreement, division, even abuse. When you combine heightened emotions and confined spaces with crushed idols, discord is inevitable. This, too, can make us feel like failures as moms, as we wonder how we might have fostered a healthier home and family environment. We wonder if we could have improved the present by continually rehearsing the past.
But we will be helped to remember both the comoradorie and compassion of Christ. The Son of God knew discord among men and was forsaken by his Father so we would always know his intimate comoradorie in our own discord (Isaiah 53:3–4); and he is also a merciful and faithful high priest (Hebrews 2:17) who sympathizes with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15), giving us his heart of compassion toward others even when we disagree with them or don’t fully understand.
Peace, Be Still
Nothing has changed, momma: The Son of God who once calmed a storm with three simple words—”Peace! Be still!” (Mark 4:39)—continues to demonstrate his total control over creation and his care for his people. We may have sailed into this Mother’s Day as into some storms, raging both outside of us and within us, but we are not alone in our boats. The Lord of the storm not only reigns over this pandemic, he reigns over us.
The celebration, rest, and reassurance we most need this Mother’s Day is this, momma: Jesus Christ is in control, and he cares, deeply, for you. He wants to change your heart. Peace, be still, and believe that he is at work doing precisely this.
This article originally appeared on Revive Our Hearts on May 7, 2020.