Grace, Expectations and Mother’s Day

Women in Leadership //

weekly refill welcome

By Suanne Camfield

Grace has this way of messing with me – all of the time.

Take Mother’s Day for example. It’s looming.

Every year I tell myself The Day is no big deal. And I really mean it. Yet somehow every year, my expectations climb to high (and by high, I mean completely unrealistic) levels: a flawless day with obedient children; a kind and thoughtful husband with impeccable gift-giving prowess; a spotless house overflowing with food I didn’t prepare, served to me in a garden full of flourishing flowers and a 75-degree sun shining down on my newly manicured nails.

And so at the first sign of imperfection-usually at 7:45 amwith the first shriek of “Mom, do we have to go to church?”-my blood boils. I push out a long, frustrated sigh and mumble something along the lines of, “It figures. There’s no such thing as Mother’s Day.”

Ridiculous, right?

Thankfully, it only takes a quick glance in the mirror for a panging conviction to settle in my soul. When did you become such a self-absorbed, graceless shrew? Oh, that’s right – Today.

You don’t have to be a mom (and it doesn’t have to be Mother’s Day) to know how it feels to struggle with unrealistic expectations of people we love, especially when we feel like we deserve what we expected! Don’t they know how hard I’ve worked? How much I’ve sacrificed? Or perhaps even more difficult, is to struggle with the reality that we’re not quite as deserving as we think we are. Ouch.

When I feel the angst of this tension, I cry grace. I beg for the truth of it to wash over my soul-the reality of who I am, equal parts broken and beautiful, undeserving yet worthy of the love of the Father, and the reality of who others are exactly the same as me. Grace requires me to receive that which has been so lavishly poured over me and to extend it, equally as lavishly, to those around me.

I’ve come a long way on Mother’s Day -and let’s face it, every day-because I’ve come a long way in grace. When I’m the first to acknowledge my own imperfections and claim my daily, unending need for grace, those around me are set free from my expectations and I am free to celebrate each moment-and each person I share life with-in glorious, messy beauty.


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About the Author

Suanne Camfield is a freelance writer and speaker who lives in Chicago with her family. She works for Caris (www.caris.org), a nonprofit that defines itself as Pro-Grace®, supporting women facing unplanned pregnancy and transforming the way Christians think about unplanned pregnancy and abortion. Check out their Mother's Day Campaign at HopeHelpHonor.com. Follow Suanne @suannecamfield or Caris at @iamprograce.