I don’t remember ever dreaming about being a mom. It’s not that I didn’t want to be a mom, I just didn’t think and plan and dream about it. But somewhere in the deep, dark, unconscious recesses of my brain I must have thought I would rock at being a mom. I mean I babysat a lot in my high school years AND I took Family Studies in University for Pete’s sake. And yet….when my oldest finally came along (after 3 miscarriages and lots of prayer) I was totally unprepared for having my OWN child. I tried to live by the book – Baby Wise or whatever that system was. I was a basket case. My older sister finally told me to forget the book and I’m so glad she did. Motherhood was so much harder than I expected. So much more tiring and I felt like I had no aptitude for it, like those natural mothering skills skipped a generation or something. I doubted and second-guessed myself all the time. I read lots of books and talked to lots of other moms. I think there were two big things that helped me through those first three or four years. One was having a few good friends speak into my life. There was one in particular that I went on regular walks with, talked to on the phone and shared joys and hard times. She was two years further down the road and was such a good listener and gentle advice giver. The other thing that helped was staying involved in our church. Jason and I were still leading pre-marriage and just being out with other people and doing something other than diapers helped keep my brain going.
Devotions during that time were hard and often non-existent. Once the boys started sleeping through the night and I wasn’t crawling to my bed every afternoon for a nap I started to do my devotions while they napped. I will admit I often still fell asleep but having a consistent time was good for me. I began to look forward to my coffee and journal/Bible time.
I struggled a lot during the boys’ pre-school years with impatience. I was impatient with them to grow up and get it and for me to move on to something more meaningful than running after two boys. I struggled with anger and frustration at their childishness. I prayed a lot during those years and struggled a lot without feeling like I saw much fruit. I think a shift began though as I started working through some inner hurts by doing personal ministry. I fasted about my issues and character and spent more time learning how to quiet myself and be thankful in all things. God is still working on me but it has felt painfully slow at times. Yet looking back, I see His faithfulness and goodness in continually pushing me. I think one of His good ways to change me was getting me to home school my boys. Oh boy has that required leaning into the Rock. I had no idea what to do and didn’t really want to learn. But God knew what my boys needed and what I needed too. Home school has changed my relationship with my boys in so many good ways. I think God knew I would beat myself up with regrets and so he gave me home school as a re-do so I would have a chance to develop the relationship with my boys I longed for in my heart, but didn’t know how to achieve in my sinfulness.
Right now I’m learning to lean into Jesus in deeper ways as I struggle to trust God with my boys’ salvation. I really want that guarantee that they will be in heaven! Except there’s this pesky thing called “free will”. So I am wrestling this through with God and learning how to trust Him and what my role is as their mom and what it isn’t! I don’t want to parent out of fear so God and I are having chats during my devotions about that. These days’ devotions are at 6 AM when all is quiet in the house. My cup of coffee is there, my Bible, journal and IPAD. I usually start by listening to a song so that I can quiet and worship. And then I write down things I am thankful for or ask God to show me things I have to be thankful for. Then usually God and I spend a bit of time talking about the pressing things on my mind such as attitudes in our home, a commitment at church for the next day or a worry of mine. Then I open my Bible and read a few chapters and jot down a verse or two in my journal that stands out. I leave feeling peaceful and hopeful for the day. And some days that feeling lasts till lunch and other days it seems to get broken within the hour. But it’s easier to get back to that place when I know where to find it.
And I’m so thankful for the community at Selah and in my Prayer Mentor group and on Sunday mornings at church. I am so encouraged by other women who are walking with me or have gone before me. And I like to serve in these places too because it gets me out of my own head and thinking about others which feels good. I couldn’t do motherhood without these things. They feed me and teach me and encourage me.
So that’s my journey so far. I feel more confident as a mom. But I don’t think it’s because I get it right more often or know what to do in any given situation. I think it’s because I’m learning to listen to Him more, to ask for His advice quickly and to trust that He is covering my weaknesses and filling in the gaps.