Family

The Thorns of Motherhood

Blog_ThornsAndRoseFor many years I prayed for the gift of motherhood. Yes, my prayers were answered in due season. Abundantly answered. And I think God is laughing about it.

You see, he knew, way back when I was on my knees, that there would be a time when I’d be too tired to get on my knees after a day of chasing my super-active children. He knew that with my answered prayers would come piles of diapers and dishes and diapers and laundry, and did I mention diapers? And he knew that the journal I used to pour out my prayers would become home to haphazard scribble marks penned by the very ones I prayed into my family.

It’s possible his heart was heavy, too. He knew that once the waiting ended and prayers were answered on one end, a new season of waiting and praying would begin. He knew that with my children would come countless trips to the hospital and multiple therapy appointments. He knew I’d be up nights in the emergency room begging for a miracle when no medicine and no doctor could cure my son.

And he knew I’d be up reading the latest headlines, grieving that my preciously innocent and peaceful children have to grow up in such a hostile world. He knew I’d have to release them again and again into his hands, entrusting to him what he entrusted to me. He knew I’d have to believe against all odds that they have a future and a hope in this war-torn world.

Motherhood is a gift. And yet it bears thorns. Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, was told a sword would pierce through her own soul. Her own precious child would bear the sins of the world, carry them to the cross, and die that we could be free.

Something about the years of praying and waiting has made me all the more grateful for being a mother. I see the beauty, and yet I also feel the thorns. And these thorns help me to treasure my gift that much more deeply, knowing my answered prayers were wrought in pain and tears.

 

Photo Credit: Red rose among the thorns | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

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The Painful Side of Mother’s Day

Blog_CactusFlowerMother’s Day is not a bouquet of fragrant flowers for everyone. For some, it feels more like a fistful of pain-inducing thorns—an unwelcome reminder of things lost. A day meant for honoring mothers becomes a time of remembering the one who was never there, or the one who left to soon. Or it maybe it awakens the droning ache of unfulfilled longing for motherhood.

For many years, that ache was my Mother’s Day companion. Though I was blessed with a good mom who inspired in me the certainty there was no greater calling than motherhood, I was unable to have children in the biological sense. Adoption was always something my husband and I had desired to pursue, so it was no hard decision to journey in that direction. The process, however, was another story.

While the outcome of adoption is always beautiful and miraculous, the process is the emotional equivalent of the pain and exhaustion involved in pregnancy and labor multiplied exponentially and drawn out for years. Despite all the toil and sacrifice, there were times when I wondered if it was ever going to happen. And more times than that I was tempted to give up.

My daughter turns nine this month. Her favorite past-time is playing with her four year-old brother. I sit here now, laptop on the kitchen counter, surrounded by bags of clothes they’ve outgrown. Exhaustion is setting in after a full morning at the laundromat and an even fuller afternoon of dishes, potty training and more. I spent the evening cuddling my son and reveling in my daughter’s smile, knowing God turned all my tears in to songs of joy. My children were worth the wait.

Through all my waiting, I learned that every tear sowed waters the ground for joy to spring forth. And that is my prayer for those who suffer on the painful side of Mother’s Day. May God give you eyes to see through your sorrow, and ears to hear him speak peace to your storms. May you know that our God is the lifter of heavy burdens and the comforter of all who mourn. He is able to sustain the weary, uphold the weak, and repair the broken, turning tears of sorrow into seeds of hope.

Source: The Painful Side of Mother’s Day

Photo Credit: Crown of Thorns, white spiked cactus with little red flower http://www.flickr.com

The Things We’ve Left Behind

blog_rearviewmirrorI admit I was embarrassed to have my friend visit my small apartment. She lived with her family in a large house on the nicer side of town. We’d just moved after years of outreach work in the inner city. Much of our resources had gone to that work, and more recently to the adoption of our two kids. We didn’t (and still don’t) have the material abundance of the typical American family. So I wondered what my friend would think.

In the course of our conversation, she mentioned how lonely she was. Her big house was too often empty, her husband working long hours to cover the mortgage. The kids spent much of their time alone in their rooms, engrossed in whatever new technological gadget excess had afforded them. They had so much, but had lost much more in the process.

When she left, I sat on the couch and looked around our humble dwelling place…grateful. Living with less has afforded us so much more than money can buy. Living simply was a choice we made years ago, not only so we could give more, but that we could enjoy the short time we have together. Having less has enabled us to invest quality time with each other, and with our kids.

As I drive by the large yet empty homes that fill our streets, I can’t help but wonder…what have we left behind in search of the American dream? We think bigger and more equals life. Yet we’ve lost much life in the process. It seems the more we acquire materially, the more we lose relationally on account of the time it takes to maintain our possessions.

Sometimes I’m tempted to think my life is less because we have less. I have to remind myself to remember all we’ve gained in the process. And should we ever be granted abundance, I pray I never come to the point of forgetting what’s truly important.

“Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:7-9)

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Rear-View Mirror, Mirror, Car – Free Image on Pixabay …

Time, Precious Time

beyond_meltingsnowIt’s easy to take things for granted—like snow in the wintertime. Out here, it’s as expected as the turning of the calendar from December to January, to February. Expected, but not guaranteed. Just like the precious time we have with our children. The more I realize how quickly the snow melts away, the more I want to treasure each moment before it, too, melts away.

 

Photo Credit: File:Звуки тающего снега.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Before the Snow Melts

Blog_MeltingSnowIt’s fascinating to observe how different the perspective of a child is from that of an adult. Take snow, for instance. For a child, it means endless hours of fun. For an adult, it means endless hours of shoveling.

When it snowed Thanksgiving weekend, my kids begged my husband and me to take them sledding. Exhausted from the busy school year and ready to relax for at least one day of break, I suggested some lower-key, indoor activities. “It’s not even winter yet,” I reasoned. “We have a few months of snow ahead of us. Plenty of time for sledding.”

I didn’t expect it would only snow a few times after, and hardly enough for sledding. The one time we had what seemed to be a sufficient amount, I was the one telling my kids we had to get outside “before the snow melts”. We got to the hill and they made it down only a few times before they were sledding on grass and caked in dirt.

As I look through our winter pictures spanning the past few years, I see how time is like the snow—so quickly melting away, the kids growing with each passing year. It won’t be long before they’ve outgrown sledding and are complaining about shoveling. Makes me want to hold all the more tightly to these innocent years.

It’s easy to take things for granted—like snow in the wintertime. Out here, it’s as expected as the turning of the calendar from December to January, to February. Expected, but not guaranteed. Just like the precious time we have with our children. The more I realize how quickly the snow melts away, the more I want to treasure each moment before it, too, melts away.

It Ain’t Always Easy

It’s easy to love your kids when they’re being sweet. When my daughter tells me she loves me “more than all the stars” and my son tells me I make him “shoooo happy” and they both shower my face with kisses, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to love them back. But there are days. Days when big sister doesn’t want to share and little brother won’t stop screaming at that impossibly ear-piercing pitch. Days when little princess decides she doesn’t have to listen unless it involves cookies, and little prince decrees the toilet his new waterpark.

It’s easy to love your new puppy when the little furball first comes home and showers you with love. But just wait until she showers your carpet with something else and chooses your best shoes as her new favorite toy. And that cute little stray kitty you found in your back yard? She’ll hypnotize you with those dilating pupils but one day she’ll hack up a fur ball at four a.m. or help herself to that dinner you spent hours cooking.

And what about Prince Charming? He holds the door for you, and you’re walking on air. He holds your hand, and your heart melts. He looks in your eyes, hanging on your every word, and you know he’s a keeper. Then kids come along and doors are forgotten, and who has a free hand to hold? And you pour out the depths of your heart only to watch him turn up the radio to catch the next play of the game.

Love is not easy. Anyone who’s had a pet, or a kid, or a relationship of any kind…KNOWS. The secret is out. If you care enough about someone, you’re in for some hard work. There are times when love is as easy as downing a chunk of chocolate cake, and times when its like scaling a rocky cliff. There are times when you flow in love, and times when you choose to love.

But as much as love is hard, it’s also something else. WORTH IT. For each moment I endure of quarrelling kids, there are thousands more of smiles and hugs and kisses and fun. I’ve cleaned up after my furry friends more times than I care to count, knowing how much joy they bring to my kids and warmth they bring to my home. And my Prince Charming? He’s still my prince, and he’s still charming. He’s also my friend and teammate and encourager and so much more. Beyond the hard work that is love, there are priceless blessings and countless times of saying, “So glad I stuck with it, no matter how hard it’s been.” And it’s been hard. But it’s so worth it.

Source: It Ain’t Always Easy

A Blessed Mess

blog_stable

A farmer who wants a harvest doesn’t need a clean stable. The ox that helps him bring in the harvest will do more than make a mess of the stable, but with that mess comes blessing.

 

Photo Credit: Barn – Free images on Pixabay