To the world next year will be my first Mother’s Day.
But there is a four-month-big child inside of me who I will mother for eternity whether our eyes ever meet here or not.
So today is my first Mother’s Day.
Not only does God use nine months to grow a baby, but He also uses nine months to begin growing a mother. Each day I feel more growing pains from the pubescent phase of motherhood.
By no means do I compare myself to those who are already in the trenches. I have not felt the sleepless nights. I cannot conceive watching my child fail and grieving his hard lessons. I do not know the feeling of a teenager’s rejection. In many ways I am still green with anticipation of all that is to come. But in other ways God is beginning to reveal glimpses of the life of motherhood.
The other day we went to pick up baby’s crib. We drove for a while on a divided, country highway – nothing but trees and land on both sides. As we approached a bicyclist on the right John got over into the other lane. My mind took me to a place six or seven years forward from now.
“Are you going to teach baby how to ride a bike?” I asked him.
“Of course I am”, he said back to me.
My mind then went in reverse to when I learned to ride a bike. I remembered what is required in gaining bike-riding-ability – falling, falling a lot.
“Well, don’t let baby fall, o.k.? Because I don’t want baby to get hurt. I don’t want to see her fall.”
“You’re going to have to learn to let go”, he replied firmly, “or he’ll never be ready for the world.”
And there was a sting of pain in my chest. I don’t want my baby to fall.
I look ahead and know in my mind that the falls are coming. Some will be from baby. But some falling will come from me.
Just last week I sent my first “I’m a horrible mother” text to my best friend. I had forgotten my lunch at home. I didn’t take my vitamin that morning. And I started off the day with some coffee – just a little – but still I drank some coffee.
Already I am falling.
Guilt sets in.
I turn around to see if I’m really going to hit the ground, and there Grace stands with His arms wide open waiting to catch me.
I experience motherhood the way it was intended.
This world is falling, and I am in it, so I am going to fall too. There is nothing within me that can keep myself from that. However, God within me can. Grace braces my fall.
No, I will not be a perfect mother, even though I so desperately wish I could be. But, if I was a perfect mother, then why would my child need a perfect Father? How would she know Grace? Grace that came to earth to catch our falls?
I was chosen to be my child’s mother – every bit of me – my strengths and my weaknesses I was chosen. Through all of me God will reveal Himself to my sweet child. And over time my child, too, will learn to look behind and see who is there to catch his fall.
This is motherhood. Not trying to prevent the falls, but looking behind in faith to see Grace there to catch me. Then teaching my child to do the same.
Wishing each of you, whether you are a mother now or God has motherhood planned for you in years to come, a happy Mother’s Day, and pray that each of us begin to look behind and see Grace catching all of our falls.
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