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 thinkers.

We students.

We writers.

We poets.

We wanna be degree holders.

We leaders.

We women.

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.