Now when Jesus heard (about the beheading of John the Baptist), he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.
Matthew 14: 13-14
I read these words and listened to them being read by my pastor this morning in church and something about them struck me: Jesus had had an overwhelmed mom moment. He needed some alone time and he went to a deserted beach to find a minute to himself. He was probably teary and emotional from stress. He was sad and depressed from grief. He was in shock and shaking from the blow. A dear friend had been murdered senselessly and he was feeling grim and burdened. He didn’t have time for bawling children. He couldn’t spare a single brain cell for a tantrum right now. He certainly didn’t have the courage or the capacity just then to kiss boo boos or make an elaborate lunch for urgently hungry tummies.
How many times have we as moms faced such moments? A hundred times? A thousand? More? I need alone time often. I need to sit on the beach of my local reservoir and watch the water birds dive for fish and hop along the little sandy shore. I need to hear tiny waves lap at rocks and gusts of breezes stir in the prairie grasses that grow so prolifically there. I even enjoy watching the speed boats stir up their mighty wakes that slap at the beach like angry fists in a boxing match.
Sometimes I escape to Barnes and Noble for a magazine run and a venti iced latte. I bring my treasures home and hole up on my comfy chair in my bedroom and read quietly for an hour and hope the kids don’t disturb me. Or, if I have no escape money, maybe I just sit on my front porch and escape to my journal. My point is, I need alone time—frequently.
Jesus had it even tougher than we moms. I imagine he understood how we feel. His kids were ALWAYS having tantrums. His kids were ALWAYS sick. His kids were ALL special needs. His kids were ALWAYS in trouble. And his kids did way worse things to each other than breathe on each other from across car seats. 40 days in the wilderness was probably nowhere near enough of a women’s retreat for Jesus.
Yet, we don’t hear about Jesus taking all that much more alone time than that in the Bible. When he did manage to escape to a deserted beach, his wailing, sobbing, bawling, snotty-nosed kids came after him. He got a precious moment or two alone to grieve and then it was over.
I might have lost it. I might have had a meltdown myself. I might have yelled, “Mommy just needs five freaking minutes to herself, OKAY???” Or maybe not. You see, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Maybe, just maybe, I would have pulled myself together for the sake of my kids. Maybe I would have called on God to give me just a little more strength to kiss those boo boos, soothe those sad tears, dole out some medicine to the sick kiddo, and make a nourishing lunch. I’m no Jesus, but I am a mom and I am powerful. I can pull it together when I need to. I can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me.
Of course Jesus did way more than kiss boo boos and reach into his Costco supply for lunch. He healed their diseases without antibiotics. He soothed real, tangible grief after John’s passing (after all, many of the followers knew and loved John the Baptist and were grieving too). And he took 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes and turned them into a feast with leftovers for 10,000 men and an uncounted number of women and children (gee, thanks for counting us, Bible!).
But there’s a touch of Jesus in every mom, isn’t there? There’s a certain capacity to heal, to comfort, to nourish, to not lose it when we’re at our lowest. We need to recharge our batteries now and then. We need alone time. We need self-care. But when our kids need us more than we need that self-care, we can rise to the challenge. We can be Christ-like in our mothering. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Note: A Jesus Moment for Moms is a corner of my blog for Christian moms, though I welcome moms of every religious or non-religious tradition, of every color, of every stripe or pattern, of every background. JCSpeck.com is for everyone and A Jesus Moment for Moms is only a small part of it where I can express myself spiritually. I am deeply passionate about liberal Christian ethics and social justice. Comments are welcome, but there is no room for hate or prejudice here. If you are interested in liberal Christianity or Evangelical Lutheranism, here are some excellent resources:
Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong PeopleNot Counting Women and Children: Neglected Stories from the BibleThe Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read ItSojourners
These are affiliate links for products I know, love, and trust. If you click on them and make a purchase, I will make a small commission. You are under no obligation to do so, but know that if you do you are supporting a stay at home mom and her hard working family.
You can also check out Pastor John Petty’s church (my home parish, All Saints Evangelical Lutheran) HERE.
Nadia Boltz-Weber is part Lutheran pastor rock star, part bad ass body builder, part advocate for the downtrodden, part outspoken ally for the LGBT community. Check out her church, House for All Sinners and Saints HERE.
Jim Wallace is an Episcopal priest, outspoken political and LGBT activist, and is Editor in Chief of Sojourners Magazine (see link above). He has written many books, marched in dozens of protests (including Black Lives Matter and The Women’s March), and regularly appears on television including Fox and CNN. He served on President Obama’s White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and was former vice chair of and currently serves on the Global Agenda Council on Values of the World Economic Forum.You can get a list of his books, read some of his many articles, and send Jim an email HERE.