Mommy – Something I’ve wanted to be for as long as I can remember. After all, isn’t it all snuggles, smiles, laughing, and playing Lego? I mean, I’m sure the poopy diapers aren’t that bad and can’t my husband take care of any puking episodes? Let’s just say I’ve learned (and am learning) a thing or two, and many of the naïve ideas of what motherhood is, were discarded long ago. It’s much better and much more different than I assumed. With every child I’ve encountered struggles beyond my ability to handle, as well as joy that I couldn’t have imagined.
Baby #1 – Mr. Smarty Pants Aiden, who came rushing into the world with a very short intense labor that made me feel scarred for life! That was the moment my preconceived ideas flew out the window. The nurses assured me that I was in fact his mom and left me to take care of him. Through the many ups and downs of nursing, short nights, anxiety about making life perfect for him, scheduling naps, feeding, and bedtime, I learned to take the very practical day-to-day things in my life to Jesus. I realized that no book could tell me how to raise my son, though they had many great ideas. Only Aiden’s Creator knew exactly what he and I needed and I realized how much God cared about those “little details”. I started doing listening prayer about the practical stuff and became more sensitive to hearing God’s voice in the moment of need. Hearing Him, acting in obedience, and seeing the results grew my faith and filled me with joy. It’s a lesson I still seek to apply in my daily life, in relation to my kids, and in my relationships with others.
Baby #2 – Sweet and Sensitive Aaliya. Being stuck in fear about going through labor again, I opened up to someone I trusted during this, my second pregnancy. She encouraged me to take it to prayer and ask Jesus to remind me of the great things that came of my labor with Aiden. It was a process, but I truly believe that Jesus walked me through my fear of going through ‘that’ again and I was able to feel confident going into labor the second time. It still hurt! Aaliya has always been very sweet and extremely perceptive and sensitive. At about 3 months old a ‘little switch’ went off in her brain which turned into about 2 ½ years of extreme anxiety in her. She was terrified of being with other people and would experience severe panic if I even left her in another room with someone besides me or my husband. Within that time period, I often wondered what I was doing wrong. Was I not tough enough to let her cry? I knew this wasn’t the case because the panic she experienced sometimes lasted another 20 minutes even after she was in my arms again! Was it spiritual warfare we needed? More prayer? More sleep? Did she need chiro? A different diet? Over time I learned to let go of my ideals and my ‘need’ for answers. I learned to trust God’s plan for her and accept the inconveniences that came with that. I learned to be thankful for the ‘small’ answers to prayer we received and the small steps she took. She’s 3 ½ now and a very different child. We’ve experienced the joy of watching God work an absolute miracle in her over time.
Baby #3 – Joyful Emmett. He’s my ‘easy’ baby – though I’m a bit nervous as the toddler years approach. He’s joyful, content, and has a wonderful, goofy personality that constantly makes me laugh. My greatest challenge in this stage is simply managing the busy-ness of being a mother of three. With every child I’ve learned to either move a little faster or just sit down less! In His faithfulness and love, Jesus has continued to grow me in capacity even in the times of greatest overwhelm. There have been plenty of opportunities to let go of my ‘need’ for perfection and embrace a little bit of chaos. Most of the time I find that this ends up being more fun anyway! ‘Embracing the chaos’ or simply letting go of my overly high expectations may sound easy and for some it probably is, but it has been a discipline for me and I’ve only been noticing recently that it is starting to take root. The truth is, kids aren’t perfect. Neither am I for that matter.
I’ve made so many mistakes along the way and everything I’ve learned I am also continuously learning at a deeper level. It’s hard, but if I were to shrink back and quit it would be a disservice to myself, my husband, and my children. Jesus has given me 3 beautiful kids as a blessing and also as an opportunity to grow and mature in my love for Him and others. If I don’t accept this calling daily then where does that leave me? What have I gained? I want to live in such a way that my children see and experience God’s love in me. In the difficult moments it’s hard to be grateful and say, ”Thank you,” but looking back all I can say is, “Thank you Jesus for all you’ve done!”