Though I’ve tried countless times, I simply cannot write a short blog on motherhood. I blog about once a year. That's all the Lord seems to give me. Maybe it's because my lessons learned are long and slow in the process. So when asked to describe what I’ve learned in motherhood, I feel like it's been so complicated that few would want to hear it. So if your game, you can hear the “long story.”
I had other plans for my life at 19 and 20. I mean, everyone else told me I was going to be a singer and I (not having a strong sense of self, coupled with a huge propensity for people pleasing) went with it. I loved singing and loved giving praise to God- that’s all it felt like to me at the time. But time and the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I also loved attention and succeeding at something.
Though I didn’t understand it fully at the time, I went through chemical depression at 19. I had paranoia, I was in a distant country with dark spiritual forces at work. I spent the next 3 months of ministry in a state of intense fear and sorrow. I figured out how to cope with this new “normal” by just going numb. Wondering if I would ever “feel” close to God again. God allowed 17 years, 2 children and a series of tragedies to bring me back to a stronger version of that young girl. Throughout the years I fought the idea of being a mom. I even overheard people say I probably wouldn't be a good mother. I thought I just didn't have "the mother gene." I loved my husband. I loved travel and though the recording industry hadn't worked out for me, I didn't like the idea of so many things out of my control.
Finally I acted out of obedience to a leap of faith that I believe God was calling me to. The Lord gave me a sense that my experience with my first child would be difficult. And THAT was a grace.
Caius' name means rejoice. He is the most intense, excitable little man who drinks in the Word of God with a voracious appetite. It reminds me of me before my depression. Caius has SPD- sensory processing disorder. He senses everything far more intensely than normal so life is quite a ride. He was diagnosed at 4 1/2 so we spent a lot of his first years being annoyed and frustrated with his inability to cope. We didn't understand. All the parenting books just didn't work. We wanted time as a husband and wife. We wanted time as a family with his younger brother that wasn't constantly filled with conflict. We wanted our "idolized" view of family and life. I wanted peace and quiet to write music. We wanted more than 2 hours of sleep strung together.
Once we had a diagnosis and were educated about SPD, Mike and I went through a grieving process. We realized that our son had been trying to please us. He'd been trying to rejoice as his namesake says- and simply couldn't succeed without help and time. He couldn't live up to our standards.
And in this God began to open my eyes. To begin His healing work in my life. For I realized that my son’s inability to live up to my standards was exactly how I had seen God for so long. This is how unable I am to live up to God's standards. How I miss the mark. I am sick. I am born with a condition that I cannot escape. And seeing God as this frustrated Father that I just couldn't please, this was one of the catalysts for my depression those many years ago.
This analogy pressed hard upon us as we came to a deeper, richer place of acceptance of what we can and cannot fix for our son. Of what we could and could not change about our reality. And here's the beautiful thing, God allowed this struggle (which our son can “grow out” of) and other tragedies in these years to free us. To reveal deeper issues emotionally and even physically which would have remained buried for decades had He not lovingly "stirred the pot". We can see His goodness in giving us this struggle.
You see, motherhood has brought me back to myself. I was drifting into shallow waters and I was so afraid that becoming a mom would make me lose myself (in the bad kind of way). But God knew that I was already a watered down version of myself. I am emerging from the dust of these last 6 years refined and redefined. I am now a culmination of who I was before depression 17 years ago. And only my Abba can make a 36 year old woman stronger yet weaker, wiser yet more teachable, older yet younger, responsible yet free spirited and a big hearted yet light hearted woman. I didn't think those things could coexist. Then again I didn't think sorrow and joy could coexist together either.
And this is motherhood.
Oh friend, fellow mama- if I could just look you straight in the eye and speak these words to you. That your story is long and God is never absent from it. He is weaving. Always weaving. He is patient. He is intentional. He never wastes a talent. He may be jealous for them. And if not another person appreciates them- "waste" them on Jesus. Pour them out like an expensive perfume.(John 12:3)You are His and you have nothing to prove. He never wastes a tear. He counts them all and keeps them. (Psalm 56:8) And you CAN have joy no matter what is happening in your life or your loved ones' lives.
Imagine your soul is a room. The only 2 that can enter are you and God/Jesus. If you are socially dependant like me, you may have spent years trying to drag in other people's problems, choices, heartaches and opinions of you. Maybe even their very persons (like your child) into your own soul.
But you can't. They have their own. And you waste such intimacy with the lover of your soul if you are trying to bring all the stuff and people outside...inside.
It's just you and God in there. All the other stuff should bounce off the walls of that room. He is enough. He is good. So good. And the more you risk trust in Him the more He will come through.
I decided somewhere along this motherhood journey that to surrender is better than to live with guarantees. I can "white knuckle" my way through motherhood and try to control as much as possible- thinking that will guarantee safe, godly children. Or I can invite a deeper surrender- and I bet my life, when difficulties come, the eyes fixed on Jesus- safe in that room where there is no one else. No children. No husband. No career accolades. No talents or false sense of self. Those eyes will see His glory. That woman will see with an eternal perspective. And she will- as my sons name reminds me daily-rejoice.