Mom-questions, Imperfections, and Beautiful Music

I just finished doing two things—reading today’s entry in the classic devotional Streams in the Desert and reading a list of 27 profound questions from moms in an Atlanta-area Mom To Mom which I will be visiting later this week. They have asked me to do an informal Q&A time with them and have submitted some questions for me to think about ahead of time.

Wow, do they have good questions! They have given me plenty to think about. I certainly do not have all the answers. It’s humbling even to have them asking me these questions. Asking me—imperfect mother as I was (and am) and “bear of little brain.” (Isn’t that what Winnie the Pooh used to say? Do any of you still read Winnie the Pooh stories to your kids?)

As I was pondering these questions, a quote came to mind: I’m just “one beggar telling another beggar where to find food.” And it struck me that that’s what Mom To Mom is all about. As teachers and leaders and mentors and fellow-moms, all of us try to share as much wisdom as we can. We can share what we have learned from our mistakes as much as our small successes. But most of all we’re one mom telling another mom where to get help and find food.

Which takes me back to today’s entry in my devotional book. The story is told about the great violinist Paganini finding himself on the stage ready to begin a big performance only to discover that his invaluable master violin had been stolen and replaced with the inferior one he held in his hand. Here’s what he said to the audience: “Ladies and gentlemen, I will now demonstrate to you that the music is not in the instrument but in the soul.”

Not in the instrument, but “in the soul.”

This story penetrated my heart on two levels. First, with the reminder that mothering is really all about the soul. All of our tools and strategies and great ideas are helpful. But what matters most in a mom, what profoundly impacts our kids, is who we are at soul level.

Then, looking at this story through a slightly different lens, it struck me how God is playing the music; we are merely the instruments. And He, the Master Musician, can play beautiful music even through us, imperfect instruments that we are.

That takes some pressure off us, doesn’t it? It also underscores how important it is that we keep in tune with the Master Musician, the One who orchestrates our lives and the lives of our children. As imperfect as we are, He can make beautiful music through us. Even when we don’t have all the answers.