I never knew how much my mom loves me until I had a child of my own. I remember holding my sweet, tiny 4-day-old Emalynn feeling as if someone pulled my heart from my chest and covered it from head to toe in a ridiculously over-priced, perfectly coordinated pink Ralph Lauren Polo hat, outfit and matching blanket (but of course) and placed it in my arms. I was rocking her and singing her a lullaby and sang the words “I’ll sing you a luv-a-bye that all your dreams come true”…and I just started sobbing. In that moment I had an epiphany. My dreams for her…just as my mom’s were for me…they are mine…not hers. I want only the absolute best for her…but it isn’t up to me…it’s is up to her to find out what God has planned. I can’t do it for her. For a “do-it-myself” kind of person that realization was tough to swallow and for the first time I understood how my mom felt when her dreams for me didn’t exactly happen.
As Emalynn and Maxwell and Jackson’s ever so definite, unique and decisive personalities have emerged and evolved since…well…in the womb really…I realize more and more how my role as their mother is so vital. It’s my job to teach them and point them in God’s direction and support them each and everyday. I feel like I am constantly sending up another prayer and just giving them back to God every…oh…60 seconds or so. Maybe that’s an exaggeration but it really feels like it sometimes. Yes I am like that person on Facebook that constantly instant messages God…thankfully He is always online! My children really belong to Him. He is constantly telling me…”Trust Me…” But I am SO guilty of taking back that worry of whether they will turn out okay and be healthy and safe and protected from injury, illness and harm. I have bad days and I worry that my children suffer from my suffering. And I have doubt. Doubt that I’m not being the very best mom I could be…no…should be. I fail all too often. But when I fail it’s because I keep taking it all back and not giving it all to the Lord. WHY do I keep doing that? Argh!
I think it’s because I take this motherhood thing to an uber-serious level. From the moment I found out I was pregnant for Emalynn my life was changed that very instant. Most new mothers gradually shift from being self-focused to child-focused from the point of two blue lines to labor and delivery. But I had to stop living a very dangerous lifestyle instantaneously…cold turkey. And what better motivation than our baby? Saying my life would never be the same is an understatement. God yanked me out of darkness in the most soberingly sweet way. But I cannot cling to my children as my rescue. I must cling to the One who made them, Who sent them, Who orchestrated the rescue…not because He had to…because He wanted to…a blessing of grace and mercy I will never understand.
Finding my identity and only worth in being a wife and mother is very dangerous…almost as dangerous as drugs, obsessive exercise and compulsive shopping. It can, and has for me in the past, become an idol. I can strive to be the quintessential wife and mother…a sort of Martha Stewart/June Cleaver colamity…but that isn’t what God wants. God made me with my strengths and my weaknesses. OCD…yeah, I’ve still got it…and I have to fight it everyday. Chronic pain…yup it’s still here and I am constantly battling it. And taking that worry back whenever I feel like it? An all-too-often occurence. God is the One I have to be living for because if I place my worth and my trust in people alone, no matter how wonderful they are, I will be disappointed. He has to come first in my life or I will crumble the way I have so many times before.
The world tells me I have to teach my children about global warming and political correctness and have them in every sport and activity available. God’s Word tells me I must teach them His commandments. The world tells me I need to be an example to my children by being tolerant of sin. God tells me to be an example by being obedient and love Him and put Him first in my life. The world tells me I need to be woman hear me roar. God tells me I need to step back and let my wonderful husband take the lead as the head of our household and support him however he needs me to. Can you see why motherhood is so blasted hard? We’re bombarded with ideals of perfection that are the exact opposite to what God tells us. It’s never been harder to be a godly mother with media all around us telling us how we should be, who is doing what and how come we’re not? It’s time to take a stand for something as moms…and what better thing to stand for than the Truth!
As we approach this Mother’s Day I’ve been wondering…what have I learned since becoming a mother? I’ll be blatantly honest. Being a mother is wonderfully exhausting. Being a mother is the hardest and most rewarding job I will ever have. Becoming a mother is what saved me from certain self-destruction. I have never in my life been harder on myself…but I’ve never in my life been filled with so much love and joy. I have never worried more but I have also never trusted more. I have heard from the Lord more through my children than I ever thought possible. Seeking balance is a constant struggle…just when I get it, something throws it off again. If I focus on all that needs to be done, I will surely miss what is happening before my very eyes. If I only see the difficulty, I won’t see the blessings right in plain sight. I must allow God to give me vision for my sight because what I have planned just doesn’t compare to what He does. I cannot be their only protector, defender and caregiver because I’m just not that strong. I cannot be their only wisdom because I’m not very wise. I am responsible for teaching them to love, trust and obey God and I have to keep doing it myself. I will never arrive no matter how old my children are. None of this is really what I have learned at all…it’s what God has graciously revealed to me through making me a mom. While I understand now how much my mom loves me because I know how deeply I love my children…it is still only a tiny glimpse at how much God loves them. His arms are a safer place for them than mine.