So I know that some of you out there were born to be mothers. It was natural. It flowed out of you because it was part of who you are. I can think of several people I know that fit that description. I, however, was not one of those people. That doesn’t mean, however, that I didn’t desperately want my child. I did. In fact, my husband and I tried for over 2 years before Emme was conceived. We wanted her desperately. After we had Emme, I started to realize how much of a full time job being a mom actually was. It was exhausting at times, but looking back now, each of those moments was worth it.
I woke up this morning and went and grabbed her from her crib to get some snuggle time with her since daddy went to church this morning. Her face is angelic. It brings tears to my eyes just how angelic it actually is….especially when she sleeps since its the only snuggle time I really get with my wiggle worm. But I will be honest, not every moment of motherhood is utter perfection where you hear angels singing the hallelujah chorus. There are and were a lot of moments where I wanted to cry….thinking what did I do. There are moments where I am angry because I think why in the world is this child doing this. There are moments where I was so full of worry and anxiety I have had panic attacks. Let me repeat again, I was not a born mother. I became a mother with the help of a God who never left me and who has been by my side every moment of my life. He has known me, and while most of you know me as strong, joking Amanda, there have been moments in this journey of motherhood where I felt like I couldn’t take another step because of the anxiety of not being a good mom. How’s that for honesty? But what I have come to realize is every mom has those moments. It’s normal.
But I’ve found an ever present time of need in a God who has always helped the insurmountable become surmountable, and I found help when a friend of mine, Brady Novotny, shared a story about a person who had experienced anxiety. It led me to a book called At Last, A Life by Paul David. Extraordinary book for any of you struggling with anxiety. I didn’t understand all of it at first, but the light goes on day by day. Funny thing is everything it tells you is exactly really what the Bible says. It tells you not to worry. To understand that you feel what most people feel, but you are overfocusing on it. It explains though that anxiety simply is adrenaline running through your body. It causes crazy thoughts that get you off on an unneeded tangent, and that those thoughts, however scary, aren’t real. To any anxiety sufferers, did you know that? You don’t have to take captive the scary thoughts because they are just caused by anxiety. And truthfully, everyone has scary thoughts, but how many of them actually come to fruition? Honestly, none of the ones I had/have, did. So stop fighting anxious thoughts and instead let them go. Get back to focusing on life.
Okay, so that must’ve been a necessary tangent for someone, and it does it good to get off my chest, for any of you that I had fooled that I was the perfect mom, that I am not. Anyway, not born a mom…right….that’s where I was. So the other day, I was giving myself a mom night off, laying on the couch with Joel half awake half sleeping while Emme played by herself. For those of you who were wondering, it’s okay to give yourself a night off as a mom and just let your kids play…now back to the story. Emme was playing and the whole time she was saying mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy…and it was music to my ears. At that moment, 13 months after her birth, I knew all the moments up to that point had helped me become her mommy. I was proud of that. Tears spill from my eyes now as I remember it. It was at that moment that I embraced being her mom. It was at that moment that the sacrifice financially of quitting my very perfect teaching job made sense and put to rest the thought that I would ever regret not working full time. Because at that moment, I knew I had become what I was most fearful that I would never become…I had become her mom. It wasn’t one moment. It was a myriad of moments…it was waking in the middle of the night to feed her, it was elbowing Joel to do it at times. It was changing dirty diapers and being so frustrated because she wouldn’t hold still to learning to sing that children’s song for the 100th time to help relax her to make it easy. It was learning to let her run around the store for 15 minutes, so I could get back to finishing up the shopping once she was done. It was learning that as much as I wanted to force her into this mold of when she should sleep or eat or drink from a sippy cup instead of a bottle that she was going to get there on her own time. Its laughing when she runs to me for her milk in the morning like I have starved her and she is dying for it. Its learning that that I more I try to make her not do something the more she wants to do it. It is teaching her to pick up her toys and holding her hand to help her put them away. It’s listening to her nonsense babble in the morning and having a conversation with her anyway. It’s telling her at night that she’s a good listener and a person who loves people and God and watching her become those very things. It’s all the moments. It’s doing all the things that make you feel strange or anxious or even forced at first, but they become natural. So don’t worry if you weren’t born a natural mother. You can still be everything your child needs when you depend on God to help you.
God doesn’t force us into a mold. He helps us learn along the way. And we do learn…even if it takes a long time. Trust Him. He is good. He is faithful. He will take your barrenness and make your womb leap with joy. I read this from Joseph Prince this morning, and it is so fitting. “It tells us that the chastisement for our peace fell upon Jesus. (Isaiah 53:5) The word “peace” here in Hebrew means completeness, soundness, health, safety and provision. In other words, all these benefits are yours today because Jesus has already been punished at the cross for your peace. That is why you can start rejoicing. So God wants you right now, in whatever area you are barren, to start rejoicing as if the fruit or yield you want to see has already come. He wants you to start thinking, speaking and acting as if the barrenness is no more.”
Not only can you rejoice but you can start acting like you aren’t barren. God has provided richly for Joel and I as parents and financially since we have come down to one income. He is good. Funny story. Yesterday, I was buying a gift for my grandmother and found a little something for me. I had a few merchandise credits to the store I was at, and I knew we had a credit on our store card. So I bought both items with my credits. When I came home I found out that what I put on our card was exactly the amount of the credit we had. I don’t care what you think….I think God is good. 🙂 Trust Him. He has everything you need, and don’t put a timetable on it. One foot in front of the other. Letting go of worry. Because worry about the past, present, or future, does not help you live. It steals from you and doesn’t need your time. You can become the natural mother you were born to be. You can become the natural anything you need to be in your life. Just trust God, let go of worry, and take the steps, even if they feel strange at first. They will start to become natural along the way!