I never could picture myself as a mother when I was younger. It wasn’t anything I longed for or dreamed about like some girls. In hindsight, it’s quite humorous as I became a mom at barely nineteen. Totally naive, and with a few wild choices, I stepped into a world I could not fathom. And yet I heartily believe those choices brought about the best fruit of my life. Providence? Goodness.
My girls will say at times, “I can’t believe you had six kids.” I know; I can’t either. But I sure can’t imagine my life without them now. I am a firm believer that we don’t always know what we need, until it comes to us. Baffling how we can live so uninformed about our own good.
As selfish as I am now, I’m certain I would be more so without baby birds flocking to me. I would likely be the most neurotic soul alive, honestly. Children have a way of remedying idolatry, long as you don’t erect them as idols in your place. I think we’re all looking for purpose, and I see that a huge part of my purpose came about through saying yes to motherhood (even with fear and trembling). Plain and simple: my kids were/are good for me.
I was eleven days into mothering my firstborn when total terror struck.
“What have I done?”
I’d been so caught up in playing dolly with her in a prolactin-induced high, that I hadn’t yet considered the gravity of my decision. But that afternoon, washing potatoes in the kitchen sink, it dealt me a sobering blow. I had just introduced a perfectly helpless soul to a world of hurt. A life of hurt (and most of it probably coming from me). Great. I made it eleven days before realizing I had already doomed her to destruction, simply by including her in the human race.
What you should know about my situation is that when I became pregnant, it was not ideal, or intentional. Not by me, anyhow. I was eighteen, unwed, and only knew the father for the 4-5 months prior (but married that kind-eyed boy 5 weeks later). I was a party girl, and was using drugs. I had no business doing any of what I was doing, but I did. I was just one of many girls who find themselves in a similar situation. Today I’m thinking of them, and their fears and regrets. I had the same. I understand the thoughts that race through panicked minds when they see double lines on a pregnancy test. It is absolutely life altering, and that’s because there is an actual life now carried inside of yours.
The lens of fear is cruelly skilled at shrouding and distorting. None of us has night vision, and I assume that’s because we were designed for light. The only thing we were made to do in the dark is sleep. Deeply. But I know that’s now how it works most the time. We stagger around running into things and then wake up with bruised proof of our stumbling. Just because we can’t see a way in the dark, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. There is a way, but it requires dawning light to behold it. And in the meantime, an assured trust that we can walk it out when our morning comes. I didn’t know how I was going to make a go of my situation back then, but I simply put one foot in front of the other as the path was illuminated. And yes, even in the brilliance of day, I still stumbled. And. I. Still. Stumble. Walking is for the brave. Running is for the zealous. Standing is for the stubborn. We do it all, at some point or another.
Twenty plus years into this, I still feel at square one. Pretty well convinced I know less now, though I’ve learned a thing or two. I know I’ve laid down my life in a selfless way at least six times in my 40 years. I don’t care how awful you are: allowing life is a sacrificial act. That’s not to pride ourselves but to acknowledge the holy deed it is. I didn’t know then that becoming a mother would pull my tent pegs so far, I thought my heart might explode. I wasn’t even aware of the capacity within me to love like that. Not until it came to me, disguised as the worst case scenario. We just can’t see these things in full bloom, not when it’s wasteland as our horizon. But there is life there. Good there. Holy there.
I am an imperfect human, raising imperfect humans, doing imperfect work on an imperfect planet with more imperfect humans. Sounds foolproof. The proof of fools, anyway. Fools who simply can not see but when we do, are slack-jaw by our dismay and disbelief.
I have to say, the greatest theme I’ve found within God’s bewildering workings, is that He is often in the unsuspected. I can no longer say, “That’s not God.” No. Over simplistic. God is in it all: the shock, the devastation, the horror, and the pit. I, for one, am crazy glad for that, as most of our stories can be summed up with, “…it was all for good.” We were made for good endings.
Bestowing upon me, wretched (wo)man that I am, six little lives that transform into larger-than-life lives… I once was blind, but now I see. He is simply brilliant. It is good for me. And I like to remind them that being stuck with me as their mom is good for them, too.