My oldest just turned 18 years old.
How in the world did my first-born become 18? It’s seems like just yesterday I was reading that book called What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I read that book cover to cover about 10 times. People used to tell me that you really can’t prepare someone for childbirth and motherhood. You just have to experience it for yourself. It’s really true. There’s this unspoken language that mothers speak and at times it’s hard to convey in words the joys and trials that come with being a mother.
Just like children, no two mothers are alike. We do it all differently while always wondering if we are doing it right. I was way too overprotective with my first-born, eased up on my second, and now need to remember to not be so entirely relaxed with my third. Motherhood is one of the best gifts God has given to me. I have learned so much about who I am through my children but I’ve also learned who God is because of them.
When I struggled as a new mom wondering if I was using the best baby techniques and reading all the latest parenting trends… God was there encouraging me along the way and reminding me that women have been raising children throughout history without the latest stroller or baby monitor.
As my husband and I had to discipline and set boundaries for toddlers that would test our patience and brought me to tears out of frustration… God would remind me that parenting is hard work but love is about saying no sometimes.
When I had to put my kindergartener on that bus on the first day of school, I realized that my tears were about how I was going to make it all day without her, than she would make it without me… God reminded me that He is always watching over us.
When schedules get crazy and I feel like I am losing myself in the craziness of life and all my personal ambitions seem never to be attained because it’s not about ME anymore… God reminds me that this time is but a moment and He called me for such a time as this.
Realizing that I am not such a sweet mother because I get angry with the kid that hurt my child’s feelings… God reminds me I am a sinner saved by grace and I need more compassion for the bully 10-year-old.
When less hugs and kisses are replaced with friend time or leave-me-alone-time… God reminds me that His love, too, is always there amidst the shadows and times of dry communication.
When another birthday comes around and I feel both sad and proud about how fast my children grow up… God reminds me that each year of my child’s life is a gift and a reflection of the love He has for me.
We live in a world that makes motherhood out to be this difficult sacrifice where women give more than they receive. Perhaps there is an aspect of that in the day-to-day. However, after 18 years of being a mother, I am realizing that I have gained so much more by embracing how God has changed and molded me because of my children. I am who I am because of these precious gifts God has given me and while I am molding them, I realize how God has molded me in the process.
Motherhood is a measure of God’s love for me. Sometimes I get so fixated on being the mother I need to be at each stage of my child’s life that I forget how God is using every joy, test, and trial of parenting to mold me into His image. If it is a sacrifice, then it is reaping wonderful benefits when I take the time to realize how much God has changed me through these God-given blessings.
Thank you Lord, for blessing me with 18 years of motherhood. Teach me how to be a mother now in the adult years of my child’s life. Continue to watch over me as I make mistakes as a mother. Continue to mold me as I mold them. I am beyond grateful for the life lessons I am learning as a mother. 18 years and counting…