I started walking with Jesus at a young age, and I thought I understood His love for me, but becoming a mother showed me how much more there is to understand.
Our home is full, busy, and very pink thanks to two daughters: 6-year-old Abigail and 2-year-old Ella. Whoever told me I would forget the pain of pregnancy and childbirth was a big liar. The adjustment of life with an infant felt like a far greater challenge than adjusting to life as a married couple. I can sum it up in 3 words: loss of freedom. So-long weekly date nights and the easy life of planning weekend get-aways. The sleeplessness and crying (sometimes the baby, sometimes me) left us grumpy for about 18 months. I mean, we adored Abigail and she brought plenty of joy, but it was a tough adjustment for two independent souls. We finally found some balance and got happy about our new routine somewhere around her second birthday. We took Ella’s arrival much more in stride, though Abigail really wanted to send her back at first.
Like so many mothers, I’ve wondered if I’m doing it right. Do I work too much? Are they eating enough vegetables or too many processed foods? How long before they realize their birthday parties will never be Pinterest-worthy? Do we talk about God enough? Am I leaning on technology too much for entertainment? Can swimming count as a bath in the summer?
But I’m far less concerned with doing it right these days.
I’m o.k. with this whole motherhood thing being perfectly imperfect.
- The dishes aren’t always washed.
- Laundry is mostly done out of urgent necessity.
- Toys are everywhere.
- Coffee table decor = crayons and coloring books.
Much like marriage, parenting exposes the deepest parts of me in need of redemption – my impatience, selfishness, and desire for control. I expected to be challenged, and I knew I would love my children, but I was not prepared for the depth of it all, or how it’s transformed my faith. God consistently shows up in the unexpected moments of motherhood to help me know Him more.
Here are just three of the many takeaways:
- God carries us. Abigail and David have a humorous morning routine: Abigail grabs her backpack off the hook on the way out the door and then sets it down on the floor as she says, “Daddy, it’s too heavy. Can you carry this?” And sometimes she throws in, “and me too!” And you know what, David does. Every. Time. When we go to God because everything is too heavy – He carries us.
- God delights in helping us. Not once have I felt burdened by helping my children learn to walk, talk, color, or eat on their own. In fact, I find great joy in helping them do new things. Somehow, I believed God is burdened by my inadequacies – like maybe He lets out a heavy sigh every time I ask for help. As a very imperfect earthly parent, if I find delight in helping my children learn, how much more delight does my perfect heavenly Father feel?
- Being God’s child comes with safety, belonging, and protection. Before the girls, I didn’t really understand the miracle of becoming a son or daughter of God. God doesn’t just let us slip in the back door. When we become His through the grace and mercy of salvation, it’s fully and completely. We become coheirs with Christ. We have His name. There’s no sending us back or whishing we’d never come. We never have to feel like an outsider or an inconvenience because we belong. Just as we protect our children when they are afraid, God pulls us close when fear creeps in. Just as we joyfully provide for our children – not just what they need, but so often what they desire – God lavishes good gifts on us to turn our hearts toward Him. Just as our children feel safe and secure in our embrace, He is our safe place.
Abigail just finished kindergarten and loves creating works of art to share with others – her enthusiasm and zeal for life remind me to take time to feel alive. Ella loves to play the piano and snuggle – she’s very “two,” which makes me all the more grateful for God’s patience during my own grown-up tantrums.
While I hope to teach my children some important things – like how to go potty, tie their shoes, and show kindness – I’m pretty sure they are really the ones teaching me.
Did you know motherhood for me didn't start with Abigail & Ella? There's more to the story! Read it on this guest post.
Join the conversation by commenting below: How have the children in your life taught you about God?