To all the mothers, the wanna-be-moms, and the I’d-rather-climb-Kilimanjaro-than-become-a-mom-thank-you-very-much-women,
You might not have grown up thinking you wanted to be a mom.
You might have dodged clichés like barefoot and pregnant as wild as any schoolboy dodges bruises and humiliation in the helter skelter of dodge ball.
You might have prayed desperate whispers on your way to grad school for a future and a hope where your degree defines you and not your uterus. And with a pocket weighed down by student loans who could question your determination not to waste what $350 a month buys a brain?
You want what you’ve learned to do to outlast how long it took to learn it.
I know. I carry the same pocket change.
And now I also carry a baby on the other hip. My third.
I have all the bruises you can imagine that come with wrestling this life lived in the in between. But I have not dodged the hard questions. I am not lost. Give me your hand, sister.
You will walk a thousand miles between this crib and this rocking chair before the sun comes up on a birthday cake with more than one candle on it. You will open the pages of a book – a friend that has made the long trek between your childhood and your womanhood with you – and discover that someone has practiced their lowercase letters in it.
Unexpected graffiti will show up everywhere.
Your walls, your clothes, your car, your carpet, and most painfully – your heart.
But there are no mistakes.
There are no accidents where life is concerned. Every beginning is sacred. Every beginning is good.
“In the beginning God created…”
Endlessly, hopefully, painstakingly he creates – waiting, willing, inviting us to join Him.
We wanna be degree holders.
There is no book knowledge that can prepare you for the act of creation or how brave you will become.
There is nothing that can put into words the discipline your excellent mind is capable of when your body is faced with the seemingly impossible math of delivering a human being.
There is no frame for the pieces of your brain you will lose through the toddler years.
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” 1 Corninthians 1:27.
Mortal words cannot capture the majesty of co-creating life with Christ. It is humble, yes, and messy and hard and will have you waking up one day wondering what happened to your eyes.
But it is also an anthem. A thousand, thousand voices raised together across the centuries in the wild chorus of motherhood that soars over all you thought you would be and transforms you into all that Christ believes you can become.
The stretching doesn’t end after the first nine months.
Nor does the joy.
And then you wake up one morning with barely room to roll over in a bed that’s taken in strays overnight and a small, tulip mouth exhales into your face. The day is still a whisper and suddenly your body can’t contain the hugeness of your Spirit. Cupped in a tired mattress with someone snoring on the other side, you will live the cliché of the priceless moment and it won’t feel cliché at all.
And when the baby cries and you get up and swing her to your hip and catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, it will all be there — the who you were as well as the who you’re becoming.
And I promise, it will be very good.
This piece is my contribution to the Mother Letters project. The best antidote for tired, scared, worried future-moms or current-moms or just-don’t-want-to-be-mom-today moms. You can pick up a copy over here – I can’t think of a better Christmas gift for any mom. And nope, I don’t get paid anything to say so. It’s just the truth.
And oh how brave we HAVE become. This post resonates with me! I’m just beginning to put words to my transformation from a run-away-from-motherhood-mom to an eleven year veteran longing for no end in sight! Mine’s titled, “I’ll Never Get My Life Back.” And what a glorious feeling that is!
I love your heart and this vulnerability that reminds us all we aren’t alone and the road ahead is better than the one behind.
Thank you again.
I’ve had many of the same feelings, allowing a degree to define me. My story is a little bit different in that all I ever wanted to do was be a mom, but God didn’t have that, or even marriage, in the plans for me until my thirties. So I became accustomed to devoting myself to a career and having the respect that saying, “I’m an engineer,” gives you. People don’t respond the same when you say, “I stay home with my kids.” And I’m ashamed to say that has bothered me a lot. But as I wrote about tonight, I’m realizing more and more that I’m surrounded by precious moments with my beautiful boys and I don’t want to forget a thing. Who I was and who I am now are becoming a new thing, better than anything I’ve ever been before.
Lisa -Jo, what a glorious ending! Yes, motherhood is truly something ethreal. I am a new empty nester, having raised two boys. What I find so hard is to step back to the sidelines to allow the future daughters-in-law to have first place in their lives, not knowing what a mother-in-law are supposed to be or to do! That is another episode in this interesting story of motherhood; a one I am not sure I want to experience. Thank you for sharing.
Last week has been the second time I have joined the Five Minute Friday community and I am having a ball of a time! Thanks!!!
I could so relate to this post Lisa Jo! And yet, having been a mom for almost 8 yrs now, I can’t believe the way that I have been stretched and changed and challenged. My entire life path has been rearranged. And I rejoice in that.
… and there’s no accomplishment that you will embrace in your life that even begins to match what you will embrace and create and achieve as you mother well.
nothing else will even begin to come close.
Oh this: “There is no book knowledge that can prepare you for the act of creation or how brave you will become.” This is truth about motherhood. Beautiful words contributed to one of my favorite projects – I love how God uses the internet to encourage :)
I get this. And as a too young mom, I thought I needed a degree so that we could survive on our own one day. Little did i know God had a bigger plan and I didn’t have to do it alone. I lost myself too young and have spent years trying to get me back, wrapped up in a degree, only to realize I am the me I am supposed to be. But I am still trying to figure out who that is ;)
thank you for writing this out. I am in the category of not yet a mom, but also being scared of the idea of becoming one. i watched my mom with my 8 other siblings get completely worn out trying to love us and care for us in an abusive situation, and I don’t want to become her. Jesus is giving me strength to be excited about the prospect of becoming a mom (my DH and I have been trying for 7 months now), but I’m still scared.
thank you for giving me hope!
Lisa-Jo, This is so beautiful and so lovingly expressed. I love your poetry and your gentle fairness to the moms (or not-moms) whose paths have taken them in other directions. It can be tricky for us passionate lovers of “tulip mouths” and “whispery” mornings to extend empathy to women driving feverishly in the other direction, but you do it with grace. On behalf of my friends in that camp, I thank you.
Loved reading this today, the day I do another brave thing and register for classes at the University after 13 years of motherhood. And though most people think I’ve done it backwards, kids then college, I’m grateful for the knowing first of what books could never teach me. I’m grateful to fill a brain biased with the already-important things of life and love and not being so young anymore. Beautiful words. Thank you.
Thanks for such a honest post. I’m not a mother yet but I do believe that motherhood is the most amazing job you could ever had. Watching children grow up is phenomenal.
Lots of unexpected tears with this one. My eldest turns 10 tomorrow and yes, she made me brave. Thank you for these words.
Yes, and …
you will lose yourself. If you’re like me, you’ll lose everything you thought made you a good mother. And you will wake up in the morning and say, “Have a good day,” and go to bed at night and say, “Sleep well,” and hope that somehow your kids can still feel your love.
I really appreciated reading the line, “But there are no mistakes.” God gave me each of my children on purpose.
I have a step-daughter who has down syndrome and right now I am at a loss with her. There is huge disconnect between us. However, this issue isn’t with her. It’s with me. The woman in the mirror. The mommy who isn’t all that excited to be called by that name.
But God doesn’t make mistakes. So I’ll cling to that today.
I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago and I’m certain it was Godly direction. I’m new to the world of being a full time mom and your words have given me the encouragement to know that I can do this and that it will make me better, not diminish me. This post did wonders for my soul. :)
Thank you for sharing your journey!
This is lovely and inspiring. Is there a resource you can point me to for expectant fathers facing a simlilar fear?
Thank you thank you for this. I’m in the middle of some deep thinking of how to “balance” things with work and home at a precarious time for my family in an organization that has a different interpretation of “balance” than most people understand, and it’s easy to lose the fact that being a mother was just as important a decision–no, for me, MORE–than where I went to grad school. :) Happy thanksgiving!
this post took my breath away. thanks.
So inspiring….each word and each sentence spoke so deeply to me. Thanks for sharing….it made me tear:) God Bless
This is such an encouragement. I am a school counselor, and I really struggle with that at times. I feel such purpose there, there are so many little bodies to love and hug, but then I wonder am I stealing time from my children? Am I giving too much energy and love away? I don’t know the answer. I feel like i am where I am, placed, for a reason, and I am just trying to go with it. It is hard at the end of the day.
Yes, who I am becoming is very good.
…and then before I could write any more I had to run off down the hall toward the closet that was opened unexpectedly by a toddler now running around with baby powder. Chasing her down while sounding like a turkey as to not have a crying fit, but rather a good laugh as I took it from her hand. Don’t worry, it was closed. Phew. Then before I walked away I wiped her nose with my finger because that seemed easier then going to the bathroom to get toilet paper.
Alas, who I am becoming is very good. :)
Just saw the first picture on this entry again as I was commenting on this morning’s post…
Your photos are as halting as your words.
My own tulip mouths are now stunning, curvy people who fuss over hair and shoes and get occasional pimples (horror!!)
But they still have tulip mouth hearts– Praise God– and I will always see them like the beautiful little child that is the first picture on your post. The eyes of my heart thank you for sharing these precious photos.
Yea, there’s something so innocent in those baby lips – makes you want to bottle it up!
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this post! As a 21 year old mother of a 2 month old, I have struggled with accepting the wonderful blessing God has given my husband and I in the form of a beautiful, healthy baby boy. Some days my heart is bursting with joy while other days have me taking hour long showers while I pray God gives me the courage and strength to be the mother He wants me to be. Thank you for this encouragement! Being reminded that I will always see “the who you were as well as the who you’re becoming.” helps give me peace in God’s plan for me. :)