James 1:2-4

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journeyand cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing. James 1:2-4D

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Revelation of the Mothering Kind

We just celebrated Mother's Day 2013 and I've had a bit of a revelation about my Mothering and Mothers in general that I wanted to share.  I've been looking at all the posts on Facebook the last few days about mothering and many shared about the reality of how hard and demanding it can be.  I've been listening intently to what my friends have been saying about their own mothering issues and also contemplating my own mothering experience so far.

Being a Mom is rewarding but honestly it is a really hard job. Some how I must of missed that memo!  For most of the seventeen years I've been a Mom, I kind of believed a lie that I think other Mom's do sometimes also, that I just wasn't a very good Mom, that I was a failure and I was messing my kids up big time. People would tell me I was a good Mom, but deep down inside I just didn't believe it.  With all the struggles I've had with my parenting, let's face it three children all diagnosed with some form of identifiable developmental disability, I've often felt defeated and deflated and honestly, disappointed.  I guess the truth is I have always felt kind of inadequate for the job.  I felt like I was some how letting my kids down.  I now see that perhaps I took on a false sense of responsibility way beyond the call of Motherhood.  I often blamed myself for my kids struggles and failures.  Turns out I've found that a lot of Mom's do this.  We base our self worth on how well or not well our kids are doing in school, whether they have the right friends, we worry about things we shouldn't instead of just letting them be who they were created to be. We forget that the best way for anyone to learn is through natural consequences and that its okay if they mess up or don't get it right all the time.  They are just being human and doing the best that they can.

Recently, a friend of mine was making some suggestions to me about a few things with my kids and I found myself getting all defensive and upset, like I had to defend why my kids are the way they are.  He said to me, "Laura, its not your fault you know?"  I said. "Huh?"  He said, "It's not your fault, your doing the best that you can, it's not your fault."  My first response inside my head was, "Well of course it is, whose else is it, I'm their Mother!"  He said , "Laura,  repeat after me, it's not my fault."  With tears rolling down my cheeks, I half heartily muttered, "It's not my fault."  He made me repeat it three more times, and the last time he said, "Now say it like you mean it."  Wow!  In that moment in time something shifted in my spirit.  I realized I was carrying a lot of  unjustified guilt because I wasn't a "perfect" Mom and didn't have "perfect" kids.      

I've come to the realization that yes our children are some what a product of our parenting, especially when they are little, and that for the most part I've done a really good job with them, in fact I've gone over and above many times.  I've done the best I could.  There is no such thing as perfect and there are many things that just aren't in our control as parents.  They are who they are and they are going to say and do what they do because they are unique and special people, existing for a purpose, created just as God made them.  The Bible says in Psalm 139:13-16  For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret,  And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me,  When as yet there were none of them.

Here's the truth!  Long before you and I even became the parents of our children God was thinking about them and planning a life for them.  Who they would be, how they would carry out their days.  Amazing!  Our job really as Mom's is easy,  we just need to love them, teach them and be their guide along the way as they travel the path to adult hood.  And even once they are grown we still have a part to play, maybe not in such an in your face kind of way, but they will always be our children.  

Before my three children were born I miscarried a child at 16 weeks.  It was referred to as a missed abortion.  I remember as a first time Mom how much I hated that term.  The baby had died inside of me around 14 weeks and did not abort on it own.  Hence the term, but I still hated it.  I didn't want to "abort" this baby.  How terribly sad that period in my life was, and how much I longed for understanding and purpose for why this had happened to me.  During my time of grieving for this little one that I never got to hold, I came across a poem written by the philosopher and poet Kahlil Gibran titled On Children.  

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

I remember my ah-ha moment back then, that our children don't really belong to us, they are born through us and our job is to just love and appreciate them for what and who they are.  To guide and direct but also to bend a little as the poem suggests, so your own wants and desires don't get in the way with their purpose and potential.  Even that little tiny bean of a person growing inside of me who only lived for 16 weeks had a purpose.  I know for me it was the first time I really experienced grief and remember experiencing huge spiritual growth because of that experience.  It also brought my ex-husband and I closer and allowed us to experience death together.  As painful as losing that baby was, his short life served a great purpose, and some purpose that I may not even fully comprehend yet.

I posted the following on my Facebook page today:  There's no way to be a perfect mother but a million ways to be a good Mother.  I get it!  I pray you do too!  May you continue to experience rich blessings along your pathway.

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