I lined up the pancakes two by two, they lay still upon the warm cook top. I stood back to see how many breakfasts it would make and I was a little surprised. There, in the middle of a messy kitchen batter-filled morning, God lined up truth on my Mother's Day.
My heart fluttered a little bit back to an African mother I fondly call the "bug lady".
Sigh...you know my heart sighs a lot. I'm still trying to figure out why. I think it's impatience really. In this season of motherhood, God is teaching me some holy patience. It was on that morning that the bug lady's memory kept bugging me.
Really. Okay, with all this hitting my heart, where exactly do I start?
Reality pulls me back to explaining the line of pancakes. I just spent some extended time with my daughter, her newborn Clarke, and my little man Avery (Clarke's big brother). Avery's favorite breakfast feast is pancakes. To help ease into morning feedings for my daughter's children, I lined up some of Avery's breakfast favorites, pancakes and chocolate muffins.
While doing this simple task of motherhood, God surprised me with thoughts about the bug lady. And all this happened on Mother's Day, when I was mothering a mother.
The pancakes are made and neatly tucked into the freezer for moments when only pancakes will do on a Colorado morning. Enough said. There are no rewards in making pancakes by the dozens except that it's done.
It's for the love of pancakes that I sigh. I'll do anything short of sin to help someone be a great mother. I learned that from the bug lady in Swaziland Africa. That hot day, as she was eating bugs (no joke) she surprised me with her sacrifice of motherhood.
Yes, that day my heart sighed a little too, in the surprise of sacrificial motherhood at work.
Let's journey back on that day in the middle of no-pancakes rural community of Africa. It was that day I looked motherhood face to face to understand that mothering happens where God plants us, His compassionate filled hearts, yes, even in Africa where mothering is so needed.
My friend Beth and I bumped into motherhood in a big way as we were greeted along the way, the long way, the dusty way to her CarePoint to meet and greet the kiddos. The boys and girls ran alongside the car the entire length (what was probably one-fourth of a mile) to bring welcome smiles and joy to our arrival. At the small cement-block building stood the greeting committee, comprised of three cooks-caregivers-teachers-mothers. They were eating bugs.
Yes, they were eating bugs.
One said they were "delicious", the other said so "nutritious", the last said "I like the way they crunch on my tongue." I kind of threw up a little in my mouth. Why in the world would they be eating bugs any day?
It's their choice, but I think they really prefer them fresh crawling out of the ground. It's so amazing how God prepares your heart for truth. It's their choice as mothers to like bugs and find them delicious.
They choose to eat bugs so that food that they prepare will go farther for those they mother.
And there you have it, and my heart is sighing again and surprised at the motherhood of the "bug lady". What really surprised me most about her was the surprise of sacrifice. And God reminded me of sacrifice on this particular Mother's Day on a snowy (yes, it snowed on May 11 in Denver, Colorado) Mother's Day.
You should have seen the look of surprised when I asked her the question "What would this community be like if there was no Children's Cup CarePoint?" The shocked look on her face, would've indicated she just swallowed a bug whole. Her surprise at the question made me gulp hard like I had just swallowed a bug whole. I immediately thought I had asked a question that was culturally inappropriate.
Her response revealed her mothering. Her response showed her compassion, her response broke open her passion. What surprised me was her sacrifice was bleeding a bit, and it melted my heart. The memory of what bugged me that day was the depth of her response.
She replied, "They would all be thieves!" Her motherly heart showed in her surprise, her motherly reply broke open my heart's sacrifice. The depth of her heart peeled back a layer of mine, as she swallowed hard the daily sacrifice of motherhood for a motherless community. Her nurturing influence was beaming for those whose mothers were stolen by life's circumstances.
She surprised me with her sacrifice to motherhood. I fought back the tears and gulped again. I lined up the pancakes to tuck them away in the freezer. Mothering in any language only requires one word that leads to the sacrificial surprises of life.
Her love to mother those who needed mothering surprised me that day in Africa, a holy kind of love that loves especially knowing there will not be anything in return. A kind of love that covers so many needs in a dry, and what seems a little Sahara-like and barren of love, a love that completes the missing pieces of their little and young lives, a love that wholly fills those empty places in their bodies, and a most holy giving till it hurts kind of love that heals.
A love matters and the surrender in giving it completely is the batter of sacrificial love. It's not about being that one great mom that makes a mark in time for outstanding service to the world. It's about sacrifice, it's about making pancakes for someone because you love them, it's about those surprisingly holy moments of how to mother better, putting your own needs aside to mother the motherless.
It's all about mothering wholly, in the most holy way, to those of us who are thieves.
It's about receiving Love to share love. Love that simply mothers in no other way but eating bugs and making pancakes on a snowy morning.
That's when lovely motherhood can surprise you and make your heart sigh.