“Mommy” My three year old said, as I was washing the dishes, “Can you clean my toes?”
“Sure.” I replied. I picked up a wet towel and turned around, not imagining in the slightest the sight that would great my eyes.
Pumpkin pie. Everywhere.
Trying to control my voice I asked, “What did you do?!”
My son grinned at me. “I stuck my toes in my pie! Pie everywhere! Pie explosion!” Reuben made to fling his feet back on the table. “Mommy, can I paint with pie?”
“Um. No...” I said as I set to work cleaning the table, the floor, the boy. As I wiped pumpkin pie off my sons toes I belatedly noticed his sister under the table. Crawling around eating pumpkin pie crumbs. From the floor.
Great. 10 month old already eating sugary pie. Oh, well.
I cleaned my son and had a conversation I'd never fathomed. We don't put our toes in pumpkin pie. Or food. We eat food. With our hands. Or that fork I gave you. Then I cleaned the floor, changed Reuben's clothes. Changed Rebekah, who had pie on her as well from crawling in it.
Just another day of motherhood.
But there are worse things than pumpkin pie explosions that muddle up motherhood. Little boys who try to change their own poopy diapers. Heaters that break, husbands that come home late. Sickness that spreads through the whole family, while an exhausted mom takes care of runny noses when she just wants to sleep. Meals to make, laundry to wash, and a never-ending list of emotions and mental stresses to deal with.
Tragedy. Loneliness. Even death. We mothers have wounds so great hidden in our hearts it is sometimes amazing that we function. Betrayal after betrayal comes our way from many different sources and yet still we must go on, mending clothes and wiping bottoms. A mother's job never ends.
So what, do we throw in the towel? Is it all for naught? No, dear mother. Even in the midst of the storm God is there, walking with us, holding us and holding our children.
So, I'll be honest. Becoming a mother broke me. My son didn't sleep. He cried all the time. My life was a mess. I was a mess. An alone, miserable mess.
But that changed. I have bad days now, but I no longer live in that place of anger anymore. And now I have two! Two children that have violently (yet beautifully) sprung from my womb in what can surely only be an act of God. And we are thinking of more. Will there be three? Egad. Someone lock me up, before we start imagining a forth!
What changed is my heart. That first year of motherhood I tried to do it all on my own. I was angry a lot. Angry at my baby for not sleeping. Angry at my husband for not helping, for not seeing that I desperately needed assistance. Angry at my body for holding onto my pregnancy pudginess. Angry, angry, angry.
I felt like I had no time for myself, no time for my friends. My existence had shrunk to “smelly milk supplier” and I resented the title change that had come without fair warning.
I would like to describe the change. Because I am no longer angry. I am no longer resentful.
I have learned that Motherhood is a beautiful thing, not a burden. Yes it has its sorrows. Yes it is exhausting and irritating at times. But God gave me two kids to mother. He didn't give me two babies to stifle me creatively or destroy the intimacy of my marriage. He didn't give me two wonderful lives because he wanted to ruin my life and ensure I stayed fat forever. He gave me two babies because it was his will that I become a mother and glorify him by raising those he saw fit to bestow. Somehow, impossibly—I am a mother for His Glory.
For some reason that realization set me free. I am doing Gods will as I mother and raise my babies. I am fulfilling the great plan of God as I spoon prunes into my daughter's mouth. My role in Christ is being realized as I rock my 10 month old Rebekah at 1 am, my eyelids drooping and my limbs limp with exhaustion.
God made me a mother. It isn't a derogatory role. It isn't an inconvenience or an annoyance. It is the very will of God!
With that in mind I began to pour myself out to God daily, seeking his guidance and his will in my role of mother. My anger is gone. Instead, awe resides in its place. I take up my bible as my guidebook, making sure to read it daily. I surround myself with godly women who mentor me. And little by little the joy unfathomable has opened to me, until I am drenched in the very essence of God. Not my will, but His. Not my dreams, not my aspirations. All cast before Him.
It is scary, but nothing has ever felt more right.
This is how I have learned to love being a mother. Well, most of the time. When my son isn't sticking his toes in his dessert.
Don't get me wrong, I am still a sinner saved by grace. I still have a long way to go. But I am seeing myself more through the eyes of God instead of the eyes of the world or the eyes of another. God's will, God's purpose will be my vision—not greed, not some idea of raising well-behaved children, not any ideals of a perfect body, a perfect home. I'll keep my eyes above and take up my cross and follow Him.