With the celebration of Mother’s Day so recently in my agenda, I’ve been noticing The Lord gently stirring me to consider what I celebrate about motherhood. I’m always thanking Him for the fun days and praising Him for the sweet, goofy little ball of energy He gave me just 15 months ago. But I realized that I’m much slower to approach Him with a grateful heart on the challenging days (and we all know there are lots of those in the toddler stage). Yet it occurred to me that maybe the hard days, the tiring days, the days when we wonder what God was thinking when He called us (and it truly is a calling) to be mommies – maybe these are the days that He intends for our good. That maybe the poop splattered on the wall, the carrot puree smeared on my forehead, the puddle of milk (with toys floating on top) on the coffee table, and the smell of a dirty diaper hidden somewhere in the car are His blessings in disguise. Maybe these things are worth celebrating, too. Because it is in these moments of greatest weakness and fatigue that He scoops us up, slows us down, and refines our souls. I am realizing a little more each day that it’s not on the perfect days that I feel His presence the most. It’s on the challenging days that I am overwhelmed by His goodness and grace.
As we prepare for the birth of our little girl, I’ve been using Jacob’s nap times to work on packing our hospital bags. As I folded flowery nightgowns and a frilly pink dress for Ella’s bag, The Lord reminded me that He has answered our prayers. Funny how a little pink dress could suddenly bring the faithfulness of our God to the forefront of my mind. A few days before Thanksgiving, we were informed that my risk of miscarriage and inadequate growth was very high due to a hormonal deficiency. I remember how we were advised to cancel our holiday travel plans so that I could begin a rigorous 60-day medication regimen to help sustain our baby’s life. I remember how we begged The Lord for the life of our baby and spent Thanksgiving day feeling blessed that I was still pregnant. Six months and 18 ultrasounds later, we rejoice in her incredible growth and health. I couldn’t even finish packing her bag because of the tears of gratitude that kept coming. I know that the months ahead will be exhausting as we adjust to life with a newborn and one year-old, but my prayer is that on the most tiring of days, when I feel like I just can’t do it, I will see my Father’s hand molding me and shaping me into the mommy He wants me to be. Isn’t that what this motherhood thing is really about anyway? I am realizing more and more that this busy stage of life is about perseverance, answered prayers, and the refining of our souls to become more like the One who made them.
I know that motherhood is my calling. It’s a gift I prayed for and looked forward to. And I love it. My favorite part of waking up in the morning is pouring a cup (or two) of coffee and hearing my baby boy’s sweet sounds on the monitor. I adore spending my days with him. But there are also days when we start out with not-so-sweet sounds on the monitor and when the world seems so upside down that not even an outing to Target can fix it. The glitz and glamour of being a stay at home mommy has this funny way of wearing off sometimes, but I’ve learned that these are the days that my heavenly Father’s hand is undeniably evident. He teaches me more and more about Himself when I seek Him in my weakness. Anyone with several young children knows that there are lots of moments of weakness to be had, but also so many of joy. In my exhaustion in keeping up with a speedy (and I mean really, really fast) 15 month old while 32 weeks pregnant, I looked up at the magnet board that Daryl built for me and my eyes fell on the craft Jacob made for me at church recently. It’s a bright blue piece of paper with a smiling sun in the middle and it says “Mom, you are my sunshine,” underneath. Oh the privilege of being sunshine to a sweet one year old boy. Suddenly my tiredness didn’t matter and all I wanted to do was love on my baby and take delight in his every move. And I began to understand more about my Father’s love for me and this sacred, crazy, beautiful role He called me to.
The naps that seem too short and the nights that seem too long – these are blessings because they are the things that refine me. The exhaustion, the uncertainty, the fear of failure we moms know all too well – these things force me to my knees in prayer. I would have never seen a challenging day as a blessing before, but I’ve found that these are the moments and hours that The Lord fine tunes my heart; to love more when my soul is weary, to just smile at the half eaten/partially fossilized animal cracker plastered to the carpet, to give more grace when the bowl of spaghetti makes its way off the high chair tray for the third time, to find joy in the silly messiness of motherhood. There really is so much joy! There’s laughter and sweetness and adventure mixed in between the hard things. These days are fleeting, and I don’t want to forget a single moment.
So as I pry a petrified Gerber puff off of my favorite sweater, I’m reminded that the slobbery fingers that put it there belong to a little boy who stole my heart the moment he was laid on my chest in the hospital. He was entrusted to me by the God who called me to be a mommy. And on top of that, he gives me pictures that tell me I’m his sunshine. I’m so excited for the arrival of our daughter. I know that our lives and schedules and routines will change and that we’ve got months of sleepless nights ahead of us, but I also know that the God who called me to this place isn’t going anywhere. He purposefully placed me in this exact season of motherhood and He’s waiting for me to seek Him daily so that my precious babies will begin to see less of me and more of Him. That my mistakes and failures and weaknesses will point them straight to Him. There’s nothing greater I could ever ask Him for. I pray that Jacob and Ella see Him through me daily, even if it’s through the challenges. That diaper smell in the car? It really is a beautiful thing because it’s a reminder that we’ve been given priceless gifts in our children and in our roles as mommies. I’m so thankful for His blessings in disguise.