Mother’s Day is coming! This will be my twelfth Mother’s Day. Usually, my Mother’s Days look like, the family gives me cards (the kids are always hand-made, TC’s are always from papyrus, my favorite card store), we go to church, I get a carnation, we go out for lunch. Sometimes, if I’ve dropped enough hints, my husband will “surprise” me that one thing I’ve been putting off buying but wouldn’t voluntarily spend money on. I think this is a common flaw with Mamas, we’re so used to giving that when we’re invited to receive we strain and buck against the yoke of love.
Today, I want to look back over the best gifts I’ve ever received that created shalom, a sense of peace and harmony in my soul. They all have expressed self-less love, healing words, or thoughtful care of me in the throes of mothering. Isn’t this what Mother’s Day gifts should do? Shouldn’t they return the love, care, and comfort we pour out the other 364 days? I think so.
So here are my top ten gifts of Shalom for Mama.
1: Breakfast in Bed:
This is a Mother’s Day staple, but it’s a beautiful statement of shalom. When my family brings be breakfast in bed, it feels like and invitation to rest and receive nourishment from my family. Here’s a wonderful list at Spoonful of fifteen recipes you can make with the kids while mama catches up on her sleep.
I’ve mentioned these here before. I’ve had these PJs for five months now and they are still my favorite pair. They are beautiful after many, many washes. The fit is wonderful, which keeps me comfortable and every time I wear them I know they’ve helped create shalom for women rescued from modern-day slavery in India. Last week, I wore the Freedom T-shirt with the motto, “Made With Hope In India By Freeset™ for International Princess™ Project.” on the back to Starbucks to write. Just when I was hitting a groove with my words, an Indian woman walked up to me and asked, “Excuse me, can you tell me about your shirt?” Usually I’d be annoyed by the interruption, but I was so excited to share my new favorite product. I took her to the website to show her all the work they do for women coming out of and trying to find life after living so long in the darkness of the sex trade. She was so impressed she said she would check out the site and buy something. So, this Mother’s Day, why not honor Mama’s heart selflessly care for your family, by supporting the International Princess Project and the way they care for hurting women?
We, Mamas whisper truths into our babies ears’ every day. “You are loved, my dear”, “You can do better, be braver honey, make smarter choices”, “Jesus loves you”, “Mama loves you”, and so many more. Countless times, I’ve pulled a child into the crook of my arm simply to tell them something real, true, and honest. “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” This gift is actually on my wish list, but several of my story sisters have shared them on facebook and they’ve all mentioned how powerful it is to wear their shalom.
4: Pay for a class she wants to take for personal growth.
So much of motherhood, is pouring, pouring, pouring, pouring. We’re constantly taking in new ideas to then pass them on to our babies. Before I became a Mama, I could care less about sneaking purees into my kiddo’s meals, but now I’m scanning the baby food aisle, saving coupons, and super fooding mac and cheese with cauliflower baby food. God made us to be more than learned mamas. He knew we’d be mamas, yes, but he also gave us passions and interests. God gave us connections with his creative heart, just because he longs to share something deep and powerful with us. One year my husband gave me a writing class, a blog design, and a nudge to start writing. And the rest is history :). So why don’t you invite your that special mama to sit down with a catalog from your local community college or adult education center and offer to pay for one class. She will be a more well-rounded, settled Mama when she has freedom to live her passion.
5: In that same vein, take her out for coffee and just ask her, “What are you passionate about?” or “What makes you come alive” and then listen.
Afterwards, pray for God to open doors for her and if you feel so inclined, write your prayer down on pretty paper and send it. That way she can always go back and remember for one afternoon someone cared enough to pour into her. I have a friend who has made it her own goal to ask me this every so often. It’s a wonderful reminder that God wants to use all of me—not just the Mama part.
7: Send Mom, “Surprised by Motherhood” by Lisa-Job Baker and/or print, mount, and frame one of these lovely printable quotes to decorate her home.
This is along the same lines speaking words of shalom, wholeness and healing over Mama. Lisa-Jo’s book is a Mama’s coming of age tale. As a South-African woman-child, who lost her mother at eighteen Lisa-Jo vowed to never have children, yet Jesus in his great patience and wisdom walked beside her towards a man who loved her something fierce and next to her in a new role (one of many she filled) of “Mama” where He could show her the Father’s ferocious love for his daughter. Lisa-Jo’s words are poetic, oftentimes heartbreaking, always Shalom soaked. The truth in her story made me whole. While listening to her read, healing occurred in the deep places where my own hurts around motherhood hid behind lies. Seriously, I think I fell in love with both Jesus and my family anew after listening to, “Surprised by Motherhood”. If you decide to give the printable only (which is free), may I suggest you give a donation in the name of your intended Mama towards Lisa-Jo’s fundraiser to provide a welcoming center and kitchen for the Maubane Community Center in South Africa? You can give on the widget at Lisa-Jo’s pure charity site.
8: Stand by your mom by helping her find shalom during the rough of motherhood by sending her, “Open When” Letters.
This one is my favorite gift to give friends going through tough times. This Mother’s Day, why not sit down and write a few cards for mom to open at certain times. You can write full on letters, have each one of her children write a letter for a certain circumstance, or simply put scriptures in each, “Open When”. Here are some suggested times mom may need to be encouraged and could use an “Open When” card:
– open when you’re hiding in the bathroom from the kids
– open when you need to be reminded how much we love you
– open when you need to know God sees you
– open when you wonder, “should I be doing something more with my life?”
– open when you need to laugh (kids jokes are always wonderful here)
– open when you need a hug (seriously, have the kids do this one, maybe take pictures of them with their arms wide open, or them holding sign that say, “we love you mom”
– open when you need a break (maybe include a gift card to her favorite coffee shop and instruct her to redeem it to dad or a friend so that she can take advantage of it properly).
There’s so many more…why don’t you post in the comments what type of “open when” card you would so love?
I’ve only known of Myquillyn Smith for a little less than a year when I joined her “31 days” link up. Then I heard her on Tsh Oxenreider’s “The Art of Simple” podcast where Myquilllyn’s, known as “The Nester”, passionately encouraged us to love our and beautify our homes without the HGTV perfection pressure I think stifles our God-given creativity. I know that too many times I look around my apartment and think, “Bleh!” or I shy away from a home project because, “I’m not that girl”. Since listening to the podcast, I’m inspired to our little public housing apartment into a place of peace and rest for my family. I just ordered my copy so maybe a review will be coming soon, but I’m excited to share my thoughts and maybe future projects inspired by this book. I love resources that empower me to be creative, content, and confident—the “Nesting Place” has been such a resource and this book would be a wonderful gift of shalom in the home for your Mama.
10: Give her a day alone in the home.
Last Friday, my husband had a pastor’s meeting in Connecticut, the kiddos had school (of course) and since I cleared my schedule as much as possible when the death cold set in, I had nothing planned for Friday. It was glorious. I’m always tidying up the home for my family. I wash dishes so that we have something to eat on, I wash clothes so that the babies do no run a muck naked, I dust because allergies are the worst and we enjoy uncomplicated breathing. I do so much to keep up my home, but it always feels like chaos. I think the messiness of mamahood is expected, but I also think we need space to enjoy our homes in the still, quiet, emptiness of a day laid bare without chores or company. I think we as mamas need to learn hear the creak of the stairs and observe the way the light shines just brilliantly through the kitchen window at 11:38. I think we need a few hours of stillness in the house we’re so used to scurrying around. I needed to know that my home was a safe place for me too. Not just for my kids. Not just for my husband. Me too. I needed to find the healing nooks of my home. Maybe your busy mama needs that too. Maybe she needs freedom to just be home. I’m in a season where my kids are in school most of the day, but my husband works from home, so Friday was a special gift. If the Mama you want to bless has kids in school most of the day, bless her by picking up the children after school for her and giving her until dinner to just be home. If she’s the mama of toddlers, take them away for the day. You can get so creative with this one. Maybe send her flowers and her favorite meal delivered so she can have both beauty and nourishment. Maybe email her a home blessing prayer that she can walk through and pray, connecting with her house and her Savior. Maybe you can make a little basket of her favorite crafting tools, leave it on her doorstep with a note that says, “make something lovely today.” There’s so many ways…but the biggest is to help create that opportunity by arranging childcare and/or taking her babies for a bit.
I hope these ideas help you in the coming week to bless the Mamas in your life. One more tip: if you order something online and you know it won’t come by Mother’s Day, you can always print out the picture, write an encouraging note in a card, and slip the picture in. Just make sure when they send the gift to her, you ask them to omit the receipt or send the receipt to you separately. I’ve done this several times and it’s always so fun when my friends text me that they’ve received a love bomb days after the holiday.
Seeking Shalom for our Mamas,