Motherhood is something I simultaneously want to share everything and nothing about. In the nearly five years that I’ve been a mother, I’ve grown and learned and changed so much, and so much of that is inner growth that can be hard to see or share. When they say that nothing is the same after you’ve had children- there is definitely truth within that. It isn’t so much that you lose yourself than that you are forced to find yourself in unexpected ways. You have to carve out your identity in the midst of sacrificing yourself and having your heart be changed and stretched. You have to find (or remember) who you are when you’re often so busy serving.
Just as your children change and grow, learning new skills and absorbing things about the world around them, so motherhood presents the same opportunities. I’ve learned just as much as they have (albeit different skills, since I already mastered the art of feeding myself, waking and talking). Changes and challenges stretch us and present blessings in often hard forms. Adding new babies, adjusting to being at home all the time again, moving, and so many other things all present opportunities to give thanks, grow together and learn to depend on God over and over when we realise we can’t do it on our strength alone. So much of it feels so messy, yet so much of it is so joyful.
I know that motherhood will continue to stretch and refine me in the years to come, in many ways that remain unknown and unexpected. I hope to continue to be pushed closer to Jesus with each day, whether mundane or extraordinary, that in the daily tasks and the little adventures that we can grow to be a family which dwells in Him. As it says in James, we can see the struggles that come with having little children as things we are thankful for, as they push us further from our self reliance and closer to the one who holds everything together.
One of the biggest things I’ve been reflecting on and learning lately has been how our relationship with our little ones can reflect God’s relationship with us as his children. When they think they know best and we try to explain that if they listen to us that we have something good in store, I can’t help but wonder how often God looks at me in the same way. When they go their own way or rebel or seem not to hear our advice or instruction, I think of the Israelites and the many times they chose their own path over God’s good. I think about myself and the times I know what God is saying, but decide to try it my own way first, in case it wasn’t actually what He was saying (or what I wanted to hear). God is patient and ever loving when I feel like I’m not enough.
On days when we feel disorientated, alone or like we need some time and space without someone needing us- that’s when the truth really matters. Whatever our role is, at work, at home, relation tionally- and that role feels like it can be all consuming, we need to remember that what we do isn’t our identity. Our identity remains unchanged, our identity is found in the one who created us. You are a child of the one true King, you are Loved.
I’m never going to be the perfect mother, but in His strength I hope to make good choices and be a good one. Ultimately I need Phoebe, Simeon and Amelia to know that while I am going to let them down, in my humanity, that God never will. That while I will always love and support them, in my failings I can point them to the one who never fails, in who they can place all their trust. There are many things we want for our children and many things that society will make us feel like we ‘should’ do, but ultimately there’s only one thing that matters. They are children of the King, just as we are. They are whole and loved and can be sure in that identity, just as we can.