It was as if that day I walked through the doors of the Narnia wardrobe. My black and white days suddenly washed over with a myriad of colors. The two-dimensional life I had been living popped off of its flat matte page and now I was seeing in 3D.
Motherhood took me by a surprise. In a matter of three pushes my heart had escaped my body, and suddenly it was laying vulnerable in the bassinet beside my bed, pumping its own beat to a new rhythm. First, I wanted to stuff him back inside, the distance between us, even though just a few feet, might as well have been the Grand Canyon, compared to the oneness we once had; me and him, him in me, this baby boy of mine.
And now I was a mother…
Unexpectedly, this title did not come with a tailor fit. I was the little girl who had slipped on the way-to-big jacket with shoulder pads draped to the elbow and new shoes that required a toilet paper stuffed toe just to walk to the kitchen. It was awkward for a while, a long while honestly. I didn’t feel “responsible” enough to do this. The emotions seemed larger than I could contain and the weight of rearing and raising was soul crushing… Not to mention the unexpected atrocities, like clipping baby nails and giving a slippery baby a bath and nearly catapulting him across the bathroom countertop… because no one tells you bathing a newborn is like wrestling a greased piglet. The learning curve was steep, and the path lonely because all of these things, they must be processed within the heart of the mother…
I waded waters in the early days of motherhood. Splashing and frolicking went straight to neck-deep-water treading in a matter of a few sleepless nights. Sleep. That’s another thing you will never understand until you live it. The shift from living the life of Sleeping Beauty, all manicured and well-rested, to the life of a zombie…dead tired and miraculously brought back to life each morning… but not in an angelic and holy “Jesus” way, but in a creepy “Walking Dead” manner; all grey skinned, with dark eyes and hair that has a nest of mice living in it. Well. Maybe not quite that extreme, but I am almost close. I have tested the potency of deodorant, Downy wrinkle release and dry shampoo more than I’d like to admit, all in the name of motherhood. But I digress, only so we can stay friends and you won’t judge to harshly.
These are the things that happen behind the holy curtain. The meeting with God place. Coming all filthy, smelling of bleach and baby vomit and sour milk… hand washing one million bottles and talking to God about the bills that need to be paid with the money you don’t have. He meets you there, at the kitchen sink, with soap soaked hands and He says, “Tell me what you DO have Heather.” And I step into a light of gratitude, rattling off all of the things He has so lovingly given me… because the rawness of motherhood has brought me here, to HIM, because I cannot do it alone. I stand there with prune fingers, and wet rag and I begin to list to Him, people, places, healing, blessings, love… that HE alone has provided, and as I spill gratitude before his alter. He answers back to me… this too I will provide, this too I will sustain, this too I will cover, this too I will bless… because I am God and I do not change, TRUST me.
God used motherhood to undo me. He needed me undone, so that He could step in and become my healing place. On those lonely sleepless nights, on those days when we only had so much money before payday, on those days that my babies were sick and I didn’t know if they would be healed… HE sustained, HE filled in the broken places, that for so many years I kept guarded… and now I am so thankful.
Motherhood. It isn’t earned by a degree, or by merit, or by prestige, or honor… it’s a privilege bestowed to us by those who call us Mother. We are sculptors of souls, we love hard and whisper gentle, we protect and command, we lose our minds and find our purpose… we stretch ourselves beyond measure because we love these people of ours, no matter how deep within we must reach, we still do it, because we are mothers.
In the flush of love’s light, we dare be brave. And suddenly we see that love costs all we are, and will ever be. Yet it is only love that set’s us free. – Maya Angelou
Dare we be brave mothers. Dare we let love cost us all we are. Dare we muster up one more ounce of selfless love, even if it means getting water for your two-year old who has gotten out of bed for the 27th time, of for your 28-year-old son who just needs to know you love him for who he is, not what he does. Dare we release the veil of self-expectation and put on the posture of grace. Indeed, we mothers are mostly in need of grace towards ourselves. Dare we lay down our perfectionism and turn our eyes to Him who is perfection personified. Dare we. Dare we forget the 5, 10, 15 pounds we need to lose and look in the mirror and see ourselves as beautiful women, just as we are. Dare we become undone and seek wholeness in HIM alone. Dare we be so brave, mothers, Dare we.
It isn’t for ourselves that we must, but for those little hearts of ours walking around this earth. They are connected to us, watching us, feeling us, beating to our rhythm most of the time.