When the Lord Gives and Takes Away: MY STORY OF MOTHERHOOD

Me with 2 day-old Andy
This has been one of those weeks. A week smothered in nostalgia. In just 4 days I will celebrate 10 years of life with my oldest. And simultaneously 10 years of me being a mom.

10 years.

I cannot wrap my head around that. 10 years of repeating myself so many times that words, at times, have lost meaning. 10 years of almost never going to the bathroom alone. 10 years of showering in under 3 minutes because, shhh, was that the baby? or someone falling down the stairs? 10 years of watching my children grow, learn to speak, to walk, to read! 10 years of hearing myself called, “mom”. First by others and then by those who made me ‘mom’. At first, so sweet and then, For the love, if someone says my name again, so help me!

10 years.

Conversely, tomorrow is one year since we learned at 12 weeks pregnant that we would not be a family of 6. It is the day we learned through an ultrasound that our baby had passed away at just 7 weeks and I would soon be miscarrying.

One year.

One year since that horrible, gut wrenching moment when I knew that my baby was no longer alive. One year of questioning and pain. One year of crying. And one year of heart-twinges each time a new baby passed by.

One year.

Oddly and obviously, both milestones grieve me. I grieve for the time that has passed. For the things, I took for granted. For the years I will not get to “do-over”. I grieve for the life I will not have the privilege of knowing or raising. A child we will never have the honor of meeting in this life. A child we will always love yet sometimes struggle to make real.

10 years. And one year.

Ten years of joy mixed with sadness. More love than I thought possible. More pain than I thought feel-able. I recently wrote something for a friend’s baby shower that I thought I would share here. In this space. It has come to mind often as I've processed this week.  

When I was asked to prepare a short devotional and scripture for this morning I must be honest. I was a bit worried. This task always makes me nervous because I have found that people expect something happy, hopeful, inspirational. And if I’m being honest I’d have to say that parenting has very rarely left me either happy or inspired.  Don’t get me wrong – being a mother is one of my greatest joys. My life has a fullness that it previously lacked. However, a close examination of my “inspirational” or go-to parenting verses led me to one conclusion. Being a parent – particularly a mother – is hard. 

Verses like, Romans 5:3-5 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Or Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” And no devotional would be complete without Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

  You see, my own journey of motherhood, brief as it has been, is riddled with periods of pain, complication and trial. From premature birth to bed-rest to chronic illness to apparent incompatible personalities.  In just 10 short years I have learned more about myself and my ability to feel pain (and possibly anger??) than in the almost 27 years before.

  Oh, that reminds me of a scripture I forgot.  2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

  I share all of this “positivity” because I am desperate for you to know that the One Who got me through – the One to Whom I cried out – was the only One Who could truly help. Don’t get me wrong, our own mothers, our friends, and good books are invaluable and I have leaned on my village. But in the middle of the night when things can seem their darkest my greatest comfort and truest strength came from the Lord.

  You see, no matter how “great” the parenting advice you get it’ll only be right half of the time. To one child the “swaddle” is of comfort to the other it’s a strait jacket. One will adhere to and even long for a feeding schedule while another eats when they want. One will cross every boundary just to see what’s on the other side while another will sit back, not daring to move for fear of breaking a rule they haven’t been told of yet. 

  So really, the only thing I can say with any certainty is this: You will be stretched. There will be times when you will be more afraid than you have probably ever been. And you will question every decision you make. But hear me when I say that God know us. He loves us. And when we let Him, He more than equips us.

  Being a mom has shown me that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. That my capacity to extend grace and mercy CAN BE limitless. But that this capacity – this power – comes through His power. Oh friend, we are excited for this journey you are on. And I’m sure I speak for everyone here when I say that the Lord uses motherhood to both utterly refine and utterly bless. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to cry-out. One thing I have experienced is that it is He Who has brought you here and it is He Who longs to walk with you through it.

“Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:28-31

As I ‘walk’ through this week, I am reminded of God’s goodness. Both in His giving and in His taking-away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Loving and praying for you all, today.


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