Every other Thursday night, I have on my Google calendar an event from 8-10pm.
It’s titled: WRITE … DON’T IGNORE!!!
I ignore it. Every single time.
Clearly, it’s working.
So a friend of mine called me out on it. She asked me to add her to the invite, so that it popped up on her phone too and she can ask me about it every time.
Accountability… so annoying.
So, I’m writing. That’s a good sign.
Over the last couple months I’ve made some discoveries about myself. It’s interesting, that same friend above recently told me, “I heard someone once say, we think we have children so that we can grow and develop them, but they actually end up growing and developing us.”
Motherhood hurts. That’s what I’ve discovered. Like so when we’re kids and we have growth spurts and it can physically hurt our bodies, motherhood hurts. Growing hurts.
If you look up the word Motherhood in the dictionary, it’s literally defined as “the state of being a mother.” Thanks, Dictionary.com. Helpful.
If I was in a Spelling Bee, I’d be like, uh, can you define it further please?
“The state in which you feel or think you are the worst at everything, and in which every flaw you’ll ever have is exposed. Example: ‘She feels like she is not enough. She is in Motherhood.’ Synonyms: failure, lack of success, defeat.”
Ohhh! Easy. M-o-t-h-e-r-h-o-o-d. Motherhood.
Yes, it’s a state of discovery. The discovery of all the crap.
But, here’s the good news about discovery. Discovery leads to new learning. Discovery leads to development. Discovery leads to growth.
At least, that’s the hope.
I have a lot of growing to do.
I have a lot of brokenness I need to break into and let the cracks be filled with the superglue that is God’s grace.
We are in a new year and perhaps many of us, now in February, have already given up on our New Year resolutions. To be honest, I don’t make any in the first place. But there is always something in me that takes a deep breath and has this optimism for a “fresh start.” That, perhaps, this year will be different. I’ll make changes and I’ll be better.
I realized, with some people’s help, I need to take care of myself better. Not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Self-care… the antonym next to Motherhood in the dictionary.
I just finished a book called The Broken Way, by Ann Voskamp, which was brilliant and I’m still recovering from all that I read. It is essentially about living an abundant life even in our brokenness. And she gave me so many life-altering words, but the ones that have been rattling my brain like a constant blow to the head have been these:
“There is no growth without change, no change without surrender, no surrender without wound – no abundance without breaking. Wounds are what break open the soul to plant the seeds of deeper growth … For a seed to come fully into its own, it must become wholly undone. The shell must break open, its insides must come out, and everything must change. If you didn’t understand what life looks like, you might mistake it for complete destruction.”
If you didn’t understand what Motherhood looks like, you might mistake it for complete destruction.
To come fully into your own, you must become wholly undone.
“Our most meaningful purpose can be found exactly in our most painful brokenness.”
Yes. Motherhood can tear open some of our most painful brokenness. To love this much is to open your heart to pain. It can cause complete destruction. It opens our wounds so deep we fail to see, on our own, how we could ever really do this. How we could ever be enough. How we could ever be our best selves our children deserve.
But God never meant for our brokenness to have no meaning. He never meant for us to go at this alone. And he gave us His infinite grace to prove that.
“Grace embraces you before you prove anything, and after you’ve done everything wrong. Every time you fall down, at the bottom of every hole is grace. Grace waits in broken places. Grace waits at the bottom of things. Grace loves you when you are at your darkest worst, and wraps you in the best light. Grace seeps through the broken places and seeps into the lowest places, a balm for wounds.”
A balm for wounds.
Have you ever put Neosporin on a cut? It can burn, but you know that it’s doing its job. It’s beginning the healing process. It hurts, but it’s good.
My son deserves my best self. He is everything to me and I love him so much… So much it hurts.
It hurts so good.
Motherhood hurts so good.
Life hurts so good.
“Grace is grace when it gives us what we’d never ask for but always needed, and moves us to become what we always wanted. But hardly ever the way we wanted.”
Yes, hardly ever the way we wanted. Have you noticed that? We grow the most, change the most, learn the most, usually through painful experiences or hard lessons.
Usually through the fussiness of a one-year-old.
This past year, almost year and a half, I have never been more stretched or more challenged. I’ve never been more self aware of my emotions, my flaws and my weaknesses. Parenting brings all of that out of you, whether we like it or not. And I have not.
But I’ve also never been more aware of God’s strengths.
And what’s been most fascinating, most apparent, is how much more I see God in all of it.
I see His holiness and His mercies.
I see His love and protection.
I see His miracles in the monotony.
I see my brokenness… breaking.
Through His infinite grace.
Yes, motherhood can hurt. But the beauty of it is that God designed it in a way that offers an open invitation to His grace. An open invitation to cling to Him through all of it. So that when it hurts, it hurts so good. It hurts so that it changes you, develops you, grows you.
And sometimes God will show you the good in the smallest of things. In the quiet moments, the monotonous moments, the ordinary everyday moments. These can turn into the most Holy ones…
I was sitting quietly in the dark, nightlight on, giving a bottle to Brooks as he lay across my lap. The sound machine playing white noise in the background. I had a long day, I was tired and felt defeated. I was not my best self. I was impatient with Brooks. I yelled at Brooks. I was lazy with Brooks. I was in the midst of praying to God about how overwhelmed I felt and how I couldn’t possibly be enough for this…
Lord, am I enough?
And just then, in the ordinary of the bedtime routine, I feel a little hand touch my arm, and begin to caress it like someone would when consoling. I look down and see my boy looking up at me. He takes the same hand and touches my face, begins to pat it like a friend would pat your back. He smiles, pushes the bottle away and curls up into my shoulder. His hand now clenched in my hair behind my neck as he falls asleep in my arms… and it hurt so good.
I squeezed Brooks a little tighter, smelled his hair, and thanked God.
And gave Him one final thought…
Okay, God, I’ll add some Synonyms to Motherhood: Holy. Miraculous…