I’ve been a mom for almost six years now. Six years and three kids. I don’t think there’s a conversion chart for “number of years mothering to lunches prepared” but it seems to me like there should be. It would be nice to quantify those years somehow without having to actually apply my math learnin’ from way back when. Aint nobody got time for that! I have lunches to make.
All that being said, I have only just now actually arrived at “mom level” for lunch packing because, I recently made a very significant purchase on Amazon. Bento boxes. My pinterest failing self bought some bento boxes for my children and I basically feel like I have now arrived at professional mom status.
I mean, things were ok before. We would get invited to the park or the pool for playdates and I would bring along lunch plus snacks plus the trillion and one other things that you have to bring when you go places with kids. My little loves would be happily fed but embarrassment would begin to creep over me when it was time to pull it all out of the lunch bag. All the other kids would sit there in the grass with their organic, nut free lunches perched on their little laps contained in neat, shiny, compartmentalized, BPA free bento boxes.
My kids? Well, they’re digging their little fingers into sandwich baggies like a bunch of chumps. Baggies were fine when I was growing up but now they seem to result in crumbs coating kid’s hands as they reach in, squished sandwiches because the baggies certainly cannot protect mere bread and turkey from the crushing weight of a banana or thermos, and terrible environmental faux pas like extra plastic use. Not to mention the game of “chasing the empty sandwich baggie as it blows away.”
Mid way through this summer, I finally got the message. If I was gonna be a mom who had my stuff together, I needed bento boxes. Stat!
Now that I’ve finally elevated myself and my children to this accomplished state of existence, things are…relatively the same as they were before.
I still have to pack a lunch and they still eat it. Different packaging, same result.
In all actuality, it really doesn’t matter what the lunch looks like, just that I feed my kids.
In all actuality, our job as mothers isn’t always about making things look pretty and nice but about providing our kids with what they need to grow and thrive and impact their people.
This hit me hard when I was reading about when Jesus fed the 5,000.
“When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, ‘It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!’
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’” John 6: 5-8
Here we have throngs of people hanging on every word of Jesus’, to the point that they don’t even want to leave to go grab some food. Now, I’ve often wondered why more of them didn’t think to pack a lunch, some crackers, an apple maybe, but, alas, only one little boy did.
Scratch that. I’m almost positive that his mom did. I would bet my bento boxes that there was a woman with a heart full of love that sent her boy there prepared.
She was probably a mother of strategy. The kind that plans ahead for her sons needs both physically and spiritually. She probably sent him there that day, hoping, praying that he would fill his mind and heart on the words of this man that walked on water, confounded the Pharisees and raised the dead. She probably longed for his life to be changed and his heart to be turned so she did what any mom does. She planned ahead. She probably knew that kids learn best on a full stomach and she didn’t want him to have any reason to want to leave so she packed him a lunch.
She packed him a lunch and miracles happened.
“Jesus said, ‘Have the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.” John 6: 10-11
It was a simple act. One that every mother does time and time again but in the ordinary service of motherhood, she provided the makings for a miracle.
It wasn’t just the food that she sent, though. It was the boy. The boy with the heart to give and share and speak up when needs arose. The one that had empathy enough to sense the wanting of those around him and who had kindness enough to offer what little he had.
She probably packed all those goodies deep inside of him too, fed him those lessons like they were food.
In her mothering, a miracle was teed up.
School will be starting soon. Lunches will need to be packed, back packs loaded up, and hearts prepared. You, Mama, will do it all. It might seem ordinary, you might feel like at times you fall short or go unseen but never forget that the things you give your kids, both the tangible and intangible could be setting the stage for a miracle to happen.
Every hug you give plants a seed in their hearts that will grow large and full like a tree, bringing comfort and shade to others around them. Every lesson in sharing will result in bridges built and love given. Every moment of instruction will produce righteous action and yes, every lunch could provide food for the hungry, an invitation for the lonely, or simply a moment of food filled friendship.
It doesn’t matter what you pack it in, just that you pack it. Bento boxes are nice but it’s what inside them that nourishes and fulfills. Sure, the frills look good but it’s what we place in their hearts that invites the divine.
Feed their bellies, feed their hearts and watch eternity show off with the results.