I vividly remember the first time I put real thought into being a mother. My husband and I were sitting on the sage green sofa in our apartment in Charlottesville, Virginia towards the end of our first year of marriage. I was 28 and he was almost 32. We had just returned from dinner at the home of our friends, the Longs, who had two boys under the age of four. We had been spending a lot of time with them, as they were the only people we knew when we moved to UVA.
I had watched my man revel in playing with their boys--the deep guttural laughter they inspired in him, the glimmer they brought out in his eye, his dimpled smiles as they played. I had enjoyed their 'spider monkey hugs' as little pajama laden arms and legs wrapped tightly around me. Suddenly, I could begin to imagine us in that position.
My husband agreed.
After ten years of post-graduate training, he was in his final year. There was light at the end of the tunnel. Our next move would hopefully be for our 'permanent' job. We were "ready." (Hahahaha)
It would be a few months before we discovered my PCOS and several months after that before I conceived (thankfully not years like so many others). The single biggest surprise of my life came in December 2003 when I was informed that I was going to become a first time Mama three-fold. But there have been many, many surprises of motherhood since then.
After all that I had read about the countless discomforts, I was shocked to discover that I LOVED being pregnant. I could not keep my hands off my stomach. I loved knowing my people were all snug in my womb---no crying, no demands, just close & secure--and I didn't have to share them with the world yet.
I have heard motherhood aptly described as having multiple versions of your heart walking around outside your body...but I failed to realize how powerfully protective I felt of them in utero. Each drive to Atlanta for ultrasounds was terrifying for me. I knew I would be indelibly changed if something happened to these tiny little developing beings that I had yet to meet.
I vividly remember how strange it felt to meet those little 2-3 lb people who would forever change me. They were in many ways strangers that day...precious gifts that each day has removed a bit more of the packaging from to reveal the amazing individuals inside.
Even at their worst my children are gifts that reveal profound truths about the deep love of my heavenly Father, my dire need for Him and the stripping and reshaping my sinful heart needs.
Becoming a mother has undoubtedly been the most frustrating, exhilarating, humbling, awe-inspiring, challenging, sanctifying, draining and simultaneously fulfilling experience of my life. It has given me an understanding of my own mother and grandmother I hadn't previously grasped. It sounds so very cliche--but it is a sisterhood, this role of mother--that cannot be easily captured in words.
Despite our best intentions, there is absolutely no way to do things perfectly. We all just pray hard and do our best. We take the sloppy kisses, treasured refrigerator art and unsolicited expressions of 'I love you' as payment in full for the sleeplessness nights, worried prayers, vomit stained household items, stretched out skin and all the other sacrifices that have been required along the way.
I am so grateful to God for the opportunity to have this job--even on the hard days. The Lord has used this role like no other in my life. He is still very much at work, slowly chipping away at my selfish nature, refining my desires, prompting me to trust Him fully with what I love most in this world while challenging me to not let my family be an idol--but instead a vehicle for His glory.
I am blessed beyond measure.
Let's remove the Hallmark expectations and pressures from the equation and choose instead to make this day about something deeper: the beauty of God's design for women.
Thank you to my friends (real life and online) who walk this journey with me. I believe God is glorified as we encourage each other, sharpen one another and spur each other on towards greater love and good deeds.
A very blessed Mother's Day to you!