Truthfully, I was never one of those gals who longed to become a wife and mother. I was never hostile to the idea. But it wasn’t the stuff of my daydreams. Traveling the world and climbing the corporate ladder, kicking buns and taking names? Those were my daydreams.
So when I found myself married much younger than anticipated, and pregnant a second later – it took some warming up to the idea.
But as my body stretched and grew and opened to receive my child, my heart also streched and grew and opened to receive her. And though the responsibility of the subsequent 18 years didn’t quite register, I knew this for sure: if I was going to be a mom, I certainly was going to be the best one.
Why stop at one kid? Surely I would be mom enough to procreate a soccer team. And speaking of soccer, of course my children would be involved in as many activites as we could fit into our schedule. (For their development, you understand.) I would meal plan and cookie bake in a perfectly kept house. My children would mind their manners, and I would happily cart them around town with honor roll bumper stickers on our car.
And then the 9 pound weight of motherhood was placed onto my chest one chilly January day.
Reality hit. And it was a far cry from the super mom I had already made myself out to be.
Reflecting back on my life (and fully understanding I’m at the ripe young age of 27), I find that I’ve only really pursued that which has come easily to me. You heard me right. I’ve always considered myself a hard worker. But only in those activites and subjects at which I naturally excelled. Please don’t hear this statement as a braggy one! It’s a confession of my pride and feeble attempts at self-sufficiency. I have found ways to self-preserve by playing to my strengths – and pretending my weaknesses didn’t exist.
And that’s the rub, isn’t it?
Motherhood forced me to come face-to-face with my own personal weakness. Mothering does not come naturally. It is the hardest job I’ve ever done. (And by the way, it comes with the least amount of affirmation. My children don’t necessarily give me yearly reviews or preformance-based rasies.)
I can honestly say, to this point, nothing has ripped my pride away quicker than being a mother. I’ve found myself more times than I can count hiding in bathrooms or laundry rooms, crying out to God for strength to make it through the next hour. Friends, I think that’s where we are meant to be. Aware of our need, and aware of Who supplies our every need.
Mothering forces me out of my sweet spots and into the hard places. It has pushed me to the edge of myself, and then a bit father. It means I have to face the difficult, and the only way through is through. (Because, no matter how many times we joke, hospitals don’t issue return recepits for babies.)
I can’t leave you here, sweet readers. I have to tell you that God is in the stretching. He supplies joy when you feel there isn’t any. He brings you through the bad days; and, in fact, He allows the bad days to happen for your good.
How do I know? Because three years on the hardest job in the world, washing dishes and listening to my two toddlers play in the floor, these thoughts came to me. A little glimmer of hope. A little bit of clarity.
Mothering doesn’t come easily, but He does.
Photo credit: Lindsey Frantz