To the mama in the school hallway.

I see you in the hallway, mama, in your jogging pants and stocking hat and big winter coat. Toddler in PJ’s behind you and big sister running ahead. You look like you wish you were invisible. But you aren’t. You weren’t made to be. God made you to do exactly what you are doing and you are doing it well. 

Waking up early to pack a lunch that you know will only be half-eaten. Sneaking a kiss from your biggest little who is in kindergarten and is sure that she owns the world. Reminding your smallest little to love the doggie gently as you wrangle coats and hats and boots and mittens to get out of the door. 

I see the look in your eyes as you walk back down the hall towards the parking lot. You wonder if anyone sees you. While your body says you hope no one does, your eyes say that you desperately hope someone will.

Well, I want to tell you, mama, I see you. You are amazing and strong and brave. The thing is, though, you don’t need me or anyone else to see you. The One who made you sees you every.single.minute. And he sees so deeply inside of you that he knows your thoughts and dreams and wishes. And he values you. And no matter what you might think…you are important and you are significant and this world just wouldn’t be the same if you weren’t walking around in it.

I’m glad I saw you this morning, mama, because it reminded me that God sees me too. And on those days when I also feel like I’m invisible, you reminded me that God loves me and is looking directly at me and cheering me on.

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How God speaks to this mama…

When you walk in the door and see a kitchen full of dishes and don’t think you can ever catch up…God puts his hand on your shoulder and tells you that you don’t have to.

When your toddler will only eat cereal bars…God reminds you that it’s the big picture and nurturing his heart that matters, not one meal.

When you run through your day so fast you can’t catch your breath…God is running next to you.

When your heart is heavy for all that other families are going through…God speaks love and truth and grace and reminds you that he is with them too.

When you look at other mamas and think, “I’ll never be…”…God tells you that he doesn’t want you to be anyone but yourself.

When you look at your to-do list and don’t think it will ever end…God reminds you that he doesn’t want a completed list, he wants a relationship with you.

When you look back over your day and think about all of the “could have’s”…God points out to you of all of the “did’s”.

When your kid goes to the bathroom in the bathtub and then freaks out…God laughs with you.

When the babe is in bed and you have two minutes to stop…God sits next to you and helps you slow your mind down and refocus.

How does God speak to this mama?  In the big and small moments in the day…but mostly through this process called mothering.

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What two years will teach you…

Two. years. They say that nothing can prepare you for motherhood, and they are both right and wrong. Life experience cannot, but God does. In ways we both see and can’t imagine, God is working in our hearts to prepare us for what is to come, and He also is walking right next to us every step of the way. Unbelievable highs, unimaginable lows. God. is. there. He always has been and he isn’t going to leave.

Two years ago, I was in this same spot. It was the night before a scheduled induction for our first child. I remember the effort it took to roll from one side to another, and I remember lying in bed telling myself that I needed to sleep, but sleep was the last thing on my mind. When we walked into the hospital that cold, winter morning, we knew that life would never be the same. Several hours later, after two and a half hours of pushing, he arrived. Nine pounds of a long-awaited and prayed for miracle baby.

I wish that I could go back in time and tell myself things would be ok. Feeling like a failure is a good way to sum up my first year of mothering. The blessing and the curse of parenting at this point in time is that we have access to so many resources-books, websites, blogs, forums, mommy groups, consultants. The list goes on. With all of those voices speaking into our heads, we can’t hear our own voice. When we do hear our own voice, we don’t trust it, because we couldn’t possibly know more than all of the “experts.”

Grieving when your body won’t do what it was “made to do” and you have to supplement feedings and eventually give up on nursing. Trying to figure out how to manage reflux and get the baby to gain weight. Watching your marriage seemingly crumble into a pile of anger and silence. Not knowing how to get back to “normal”-and not knowing if you ever will.

Looking back now, I know that the refining fire that we walked through made us stronger. God works miracles and heals marriages, making them stronger than ever. I know this isn’t always the case, and it makes me even more thankful that it is our case. 

Tonight, I was tempted to go down the path of “mommy failure” mentality.  When it’s 9:30 at night and you’re just starting to make muffins for the birthday celebration at daycare for your 2 year old, the Devil has plenty of chances to plant thoughts in your head. You have to admit that we’ve all been there. God speaks truth, though, with a gentle reminder of all you have to be thankful for. So, with each scoop of batter, you think of something you’re thankful for. Scoop by scoop, your heart changes and you see God in this process.

I’m not perfect. I’m not a perfect mom or wife. I never will be. The sooner I accepted that and decided to enjoy the process instead of fighting for a perfect product, God stepped in and brought healing and joy.

Two years ago our lives were turned upside down. Sweet baby boy, you are such a blessing and changed our lives in ways we couldn’t imagine. God made you for a purpose, and we are so lucky to get to walk alongside you as you figure out what that purpose is.

This mama’s heart shows its wear, but it is fuller than you could ever imagine.

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