All the babysitting, teaching, working with young people, books read, and articles considered could not have prepared me for what it would take to care for and nurture a child.
The never ending journey it would be.
The way my heart would indeed walk outside of my body from that first cry on.
I would not realize the complexities...how I would strive to make them feel like one in a million and engrain in them what a special, unique creation of God they are, all the while trying to teach them the world does not revolve around them. Not to mention the other thousands of intricate lessons that are part of the mosaic of character we are trying to help them piece together while they are under our wings.
I would not realize the extremes...how I would experience the greatest of joys and the deepest of frustrations, give out boundless energy and sometimes feel exhaustion all the way to my bones.
I would feel the delight of glowing teacher's reports and various accomplishments, but also remember the humiliation of dragging a tantrum throwing toddler out of the store (with a full cart of groceries and carrier bound infant in tow).
I would know love like I have never known, love that would actually draw me closer to God and help me understand Him better, but a love so deep that it would make me ache at times. When you love someone to their core, when pieces of you take on lives of their own, your souls become intertwined. You feel their hurts. You pray like you never have before.
I love being a mom. I love my children. They are the greatest gifts God has ever entrusted to me, and the time I have spent investing into their early years has been worth more to me than any worldly possession or dream. We have had some of the best times together. Magical memories made. Joy in simplicity. Laughter that comes straight from the belly.
We have also had fussy days where I have gone ahead and cried right along with them. Days where I felt like throwing in the towel. Days where I was convinced I was a failure.
Grace has covered me. It has filled in those gaps.
When I meet God in the mornings, I am more equipped for what the day may bring. I still fall short, but His Word is there to help me rise up. To teach them His precepts. To build their character. To help shape their hearts. To wrap them in love. To draw boundaries that will protect them.
To not grow weary in doing good.
We spent the Saturday before Mother's Day at the beach as a family. As I looked at some of our snapshots by sea, lyrics immediately came to mind.
Moms, listen to me.
We're gonna make it.
If today is bad day, go ahead and have a good cry, say you're sorry, and move onward. If today is a good day, laugh with everything you have. Enjoy the moment. No matter what today is, give your kids a hug and tell them how much you love them, how important they are to you, and how you wouldn't trade anything in the world for the gift of being their mom. Those words are water to my children's souls. I can see it in the way their eyes glow when I tell them.
And no matter what tomorrow holds, find a few moments to draw strength for your journey from God's Word. We can't do this in our own strength. But we can do anything He has called us to do in His. Spend some time with a friend or two, friends who love you where you are and who nurture your faith and motherhood journey. We don't want to try and do this alone. We need each other. Don't give up. We are in this thing together.
Leaving you with a quote my dad shared in his message Sunday morning...
There is no more influential or powerful role on earth than a mother’s. Stay at it, dear lady. Never doubt the value of your calling. Without your positive supportive partnership, the family could not survive.
Charles R. Swindoll