Surprised by Motherhood – A Look Back

Lisa-Jo Baker My friend Lisa-Jo Baker is having a book baby today.  And if you’re a mother, know a mother, want to be a mother you need to read it.  Her words are going to wrap you in the biggest superhero cape and ease your fears because she is going to remind you that you’re not alone.  You can order you copy here at Amazon  

“You are not failing. You will sleep again. You are not the only one who thinks she’s doing it all wrong.” 
                                                 — Lisa-Jo Baker

I have worn motherhood for the better part of twenty years. My once-girlish figure bears the years of nurturing babes, and my hips wear the years of holding toddlers too tired to walk another step. I have wiped off noses and changed enough diapers to fill a landfill. My laundry basket has been and continues to be a never-ending pit, where the more I put in the machine, the more the piles overflow. 

You’d think that by now there would be nothing about motherhood that would surprise me.  That I could by a t-shirt and have it screened with those  puffy letters that say “been there, done that.”  You’d think that I could stand on a lectern and act all professional and experienced and teach a mother a thing or two about mothering, my own are 17 and 20, that for sure puts me in the range of expert, no? 

I. Couldn’t. Be. More. Wrong. 

This mothering thing, it still shocks me.  Daily.  Daily I’m amazed and terrified and yes even ashamed about my role as a mother.  Looking back I can recount the moments that, if I could, I would erase from their minds. I could tell you the way my temper rose molten lava hot, or how I slammed the front door off its hinges because I just needed to run away.  

I could tell you about the time I held my nine month old daughter inches from my face and screamed “stop it, stop it, stop it” to her tear stained, chubby cheeks, because it seemed like she’d been crying FOR DAYS!  I could tell you about the time I slammed my hand down so hard on the restaurant table because my son would. not. stop. interrupting. I slammed my hand so hard that my coffee spilled all over. 

I could spend, blog post after blog post telling you about all the ways that I failed as a mother.  I could write until there was no breath in me and I would fill pages and pages with my inadequacies. I could.  But I won’t. 

I think all of us who wear motherhood look back and wonder whether or not we can have a do-over. A mulligan. We look back and wonder how our actions, our words and even our anger has shaped our children’s minds.  

Would you believe me if I told you that motherhood first surprised me in the past 2 years?  It was when I first read Lisa-Jo’s words over here  that I realized the redemptive power of God in my mothering. Here was a mother who bravely spilled her guts about how hard this mommy gig really is.  Her words filled in the blanks for me, helped me to understand that God redeems EVERY part of my story.  She reminded me that I am “mighty because I mother.”   

God is showing me how, even now, in this season of my life He has called me to love on my children and He is showing me that, all of what I thought I had done wrong,  He has made whole.  And that even today, in my “empty nest” years He is giving me new beginnings and new adventures in my motherhood.

I laid my head on a pillow, every night for twenty years, and wondered whether or not the next day would be the day when I’d get it right. Whether or not the next day would be when the house sparkled, the toys were picked up, and all that came out of my mouth was dulcet and calming. As I laid my head down, I wondered if other moms dreamt the same dreams as me.

They do.  They are.  They have.  

And here’s the most powerful thing that God has shown me in all of the years that I try and get this right.

Everything that I have left undone, will leave undone – He’s got it covered.  By the grace of the cross He has covered every moment of my mistakes with redemption.  

Although it’s been years since I carried these babes under my heart or in my arms or over my heart, there is a simple truth I know with every stretchmark and every fortified sagging part. Through every trial and every triumph this truth remains: I will always and forever carry them in my heart.

1 Comment

  1. marewayne

    Your post really touched my heart.Thank you for sharing.

    Mary from NH

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