It is my day off, and I’m supposed to be cleaning the house; but the water-pump broke down, and there isn’t a drop of water in the house. I also know it’s going to be a crazy hot day because it’s the middle of summer in a country where summer is the only season.
So, I cleaned up as much as I could without water, ignored the overflowing laundry bin, packed a beach bag, put the little one in a sling, waited at the bus stop for over an hour for the public transport, and now I’m sitting in the back of a tuk-tuk with the little one asleep on my lap on the way to a small coastal town… and I’m thinking of you.
The mommy who has just been through the crazy experience of giving birth, the overwhelming emotions, the swollen breasts, and the realization that life as she knew it will never be the same.
I think of all the mommies of newborns and toddlers who are counting the minutes until daddy comes home so she can hand over the baby and finally go to the bathroom in peace for ten minutes.
I think of the mommy who slept on a chair in a hospital room next to her sick baby, exhausted, but not willing to leave her baby’s side to go home.
I think of all the second and third-time mommies – experiencing all of the above – only this time, while also caring for a toddler or two.
I think of the special mommies of children with disabilities I’ve met in the years I worked in hospital and pediatrics. They always impressed me that God really picked them out from the best of the mommy bunch.
And finally, I think of the mommies who have gone through it all and watched their little ones grow up to become mommies (and daddies) themselves. I also think of those who have endured the sorrow of outliving their children.
Sometimes, it feels like the very same thing that makes us all mothers also isolates us from each other. It is ironic that the past year felt like the loneliest season of my life, even though I probably never had more in common with other woman across the globe:
- Feelings of pride and joy
- The discouraging realization of our personal selfishness
- Extreme exhaustion that goes bone deep
So much about ourselves can be revealed by such tiny human beings.
When I finally reached the beach, I saw my little one throw his hands up in the air in pure delight, running fearlessly toward the water as if he knew he could swim. I grabbed him to coat him with layers of sun block and put his hat on before picking him up. Then, wrapping my arms around him, I carried him into the deep water to enjoy it with him.
Then, it hit me. I heard the whisper of my Heavenly Father saying, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
And somehow I knew that the reason this season has been so hard is because I’ve been trying to do it myself. Like a stubborn toddler, I was trying, but simply not capable, to do everything on my own.
The thing about growing up in faith is that instead of becoming more independent you simply become more aware of how much you need God.
I may be a mommy now, but I will always be His child. The only way to be restored is to find my rest in Him, to be nurtured by His Word, and to draw close enough so that I can hear His heartbeat.
The only way I can run fearlessly into the unknown and live abundantly in the moment is if I know that He is right there next to me. He will pick me up when I fall, and He will hold me up even when the waves come crashing down all around me.
He will also take delight in my attempts to do things that other people might view as foolishness, because He knows my heart, and He loves to watch me learn.
And yet, sometimes, it feels like the only reason I’m aware of His presence is because I hear the same firm “no” I repeat so often to my child each day. Little did I realize that it was a warning to also stop me from doing something that would end up hurting me if I did not learn to listen and obey.
He rebukes us because He loves us and cares for us, though we prefer to avoid his displeasure and welcome grace. We often forget how much we need correction if we are truly His children.
”For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” – Hebrews 12
He rebukes, but He also guides, protects, and carries us in so many ways we take for granted or are completely unaware of. Just like my little one who has no idea why I put sun block on him and keep carrying him away from the water and into the shade, we fail to understand God’s goodness in all that He does for us.
I pray that in the middle of whatever season of motherhood you may find yourself in, you will know you are not alone. I pray that you will run into His open arms and find your rest in Him, fully knowing that you are loved far more than you will ever be able to love your own children.
Another child and mommy