If you would have told me four years ago that being a mother would be one of the hardest things I ever did, I wouldn't have believed you.
Those who know me best, know that I am a perfectionist. I am also a fixer and a do-er.
And before I had children, I viewed motherhood like I did everthing else...If it can be done, then I can and I will do it. And not just do it, but do it very very well.
Did you catch that? The "I can" and "I will" part? I didn't really leave much room for God or His grace did I?
In a nutshell, grace can be defined as God giving us something that we don't deserve.
At 21 years old, pregnant just four short months after her wedding, I really didn't understand grace at all. I knew that God had graciously saved me as a teen, but I never expected him to keep giving me things that I didn't deserve. And I surely didn't think that I had need to ask him for help....Why ask someone for help, when I could do it all myself? oh, little did I know...
I wish I could say that my sanctification happened as quickly as my salvation did.
Have you ever seen a gem when it is first extracted from the ground? Yeah, me neither. But I do remember from my historical geology class in college that gems are usually rough and dull. It takes much preparation and specialized knowledge of the particular rock to convert it into a smooth and shiny gem.
I think we as Christians are very much like those rough gems when we are first saved...rough, dull and dark. Thankfully, Jesus has a special knowledge of what each of us needs in order to be converted into salt and light of the earth. For some of us, the process takes longer. Sanctification is not an easy thing. Our sinful flesh fights against it.
And for roughly ten years after the Lord saved me, my flesh fought extremely hard againt sanctification. Fortunately, the Lord knew exactly what I needed. He knew that I needed to be brought low to my knees and realize that I can't do it all. The truth is, I can't do anything apart from Him. And though He has let me go through many hard trials to realize how much I need Him, the thing that has made me most humble and brings me to my knees almost everyday is this:
Being a mommy.
Motherhood has been the biggest part of my sanctification process. There are just so many things that are out of your control when you have children. And that was such an unknown world to me. I had always lived with the mentality that you get out of something what you put into it. So naturally, I expected that my children would be perfect if I was the perfect mom. It didn't take long for God to start pounding that notion into the ground.
With Josiah, I expected the labor and delivery to go exactly as I had planned it to. 26 hours and 35 stitiches later, it didn't.
I expected him to nurse every 3 to 4 hours like the books told me he would. he didn't...no, try every 1.5-2 hours until he was three months old.
I expected him to eat all the wonderful baby food that I made him myself instead of buying the jars. he didn't...all he would eat was bananas and guacamole.
I expected to be able to keep a perfectly clean house, cook the perfect meal, and be the perfect wife and mother. hahahahaha
And then Eli came along...some different expectations...but the same results. What I expected, usually didn't happen.
But the thing that threw me the most and still brings me to my knees every single day is this...
I expected Josiah to start talking at the age when most babies start talking. he didn't.
Although he has made a lot of progress, he still isn't there. And I'm not going to go into all of the details or my theories, but I will say this: As a mom, I have tried everything within me to get him to talk. Reading to him, talking to him, speech therapy, doctor's appointments, special diets, etc.
God has taught me so much through Josiah. The thing that he has most taught me is this: HE is in control. When all my striving proves to be in vain, HE takes me by the hand and says to me, "Why are you afraid? Oh, ye of little faith." and "My grace is sufficient for you..."
and then I say, Lord, it is well with my soul...
...oh, such undeserved peace that he showers on me when I'm on my knees saying, "Lord, I can't do this..."
...and oh the love that I feel when he says back, "My child, I know...but I can..."
...beautiful grace...beautiful, hard motherhood...
I am so thankful for my boys. And for my little girl that I haven't even met yet. They have brought me closer to God than I ever thought possible. And they have also brought me more pain and joy than I ever thought possible. And God has showered so much grace on me. And I don't deserve any of it.
It's beautiful,isn't it? How God and grace and joy and pain all walk hand in hand. Yes, even pain. For the pain and heartache and trial teaches us to reach out to God and press into the grace and joy that can only be found in Him.
Happy Mother's Day