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May 16, 2011

A Mother’s Hallelujah

One of my favorite things in the world to do is to drive around my hometown in New Jersey in the summertime with the windows down and the radio up.  I’m not ashamed to sing and (carefully) dance along with the music, even when stopped at a light.  The warm breeze, good music, and no street with a speed limit over forty miles per hour so I feel safe and in control—it just doesn’t get much better than that.

Now that we live in Brooklyn without a car, my opportunities to take to the open road are limited.  But this weekend I had the chance, and with it came something else I love: discovering a new song that really hits home.

When I heard “Better Than a Hallelujah” by Amy Grant, I instantly related to its beseeching sense of hope.  My daily prayer has taken on a new tone since I became a mother.  When I am not thanking God for the gift of my family, I am asking for His grace, for His strength, for His mercy to help me serve my family.  In that vein, check out how the song begins:

God loves a lullaby
In a mother’s tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

Could it be that this song was written just for me?  I have definitely been that woman!

Motherhood, like so much else that is asked of me, can often feel overwhelming, and conversation with God each day, even when I’m too tired to really give it my all, even when I’m not sure I believe it, is the foundation that keeps me going.  Here’s what the song goes on to say about all that in the chorus:

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

I find I relate to this idea differently now that I am a parent, as well.  I have a stronger sense of God as my loving and merciful Father, because I can’t imagine not being able to forgive Jacob for anything he might come to me with.  I love him so thoroughly, so purely, and absolutely nothing can change that.  I want to help him grow, to get him through the rough spots, and, of course, to learn how to enjoy the good things.  If I multiply that sentiment by infinity, I can start to get an idea of how God loves me.

Although the song also suggests a “drunkard’s cry”, a “soldier’s plea not to let him die”, a “woman holding on for life”, a “dying man giving up the fight”, I am so pleased that it begins with a quiet, not-so-dramatic moment with a mother and her child.  It’s a good reminder—for moms and non-moms alike—that the everyday, ordinary experiences of our lives, moments that seem inconsequential, are not to be overlooked as chances for good, honest prayer.  I’m reminded again of the reflection I considered on Holy Thursday, “Jesus doesn’t need our perfection, he only asks for our faithfulness.”

I hope this starts your week off on the right foot.  Where will you find God this week?  Where will you let Him find you?  If you’re feeling bold, leave a comment and let us know!

  1. This made me cry. I feel like such a terrible mother this morning. My youngest wouldn’t sleep, the oldest woke up way too early–crabby and tearful. I yelled, I lost my temper, I swallowed my remorse with more anger. The guilt is overwhelming.

    Thank you for this inspirational message this morning. I really needed this. 🙁

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