I opened my eyes in the morning light of my tenth Mother’s Day to find the littlest one had crawled into our bed in the early hours of the night and curled up into the curve of my hip with a sleep-clenched hand resting on my face.
Lyla, she turned 10 just a few short months ago – went and spun my heart in bewildered circles with how fast time really does go.
She laughs when I ask her to stop growing, to become small again.
Our lives looked so different – he and I were so different.
We were at the very tender beginning, still wondering how many babies we would have, still figuring out how to relate to one another as husband and wife now that we were also Daddy and Mama.
Our families, both immediate and extended looked so different – I never could have imagined the great gaps that would be left where people should have been.
I thought mothering would look like the ideal picture in my mind that had grown large since I was small –
but that’s just it…my picture of mothering was based on my own ideals and dreams.
There’s a little one who pulls up her chair beside me in the tutoring room Monday-Thursday. She always has something left over from lunch, and as she pulls out her sheets of homework, she’ll pull out something to nibble on too.
She has my heart – I’m sure she doesn’t realize this,
her mothering hasn’t turned out the way she thought it would either.
This small one, she had curled up beside her mama just a few short years ago, curled up for a nap in the early afternoon pressed up against the one whose heartbeat she had known since her very beginning…but when she woke up, her mama didn’t.
Medications were unknowingly mixed and turned lethal.
And this daughter was left without a mother.
She came in one afternoon a few months ago and plopped her backpack right beside my feet. Started pulling out her homework and as she laid it on the table, she turned her eyes on me and asked,
Can I call you Mom?
My own four had been running in and out of the room, homework done and freedom calling and shouting my name over every little thing.
The juxtaposition of both situations made my breath catch.
When was the last time she had even said the word, Mom? And here were my children yelling it freely and without thought.
I wrapped my arm around her and told her how much I loved her – how much I wished that she could. I told her how everyday I looked forward to her showing up, how my day was that much brighter when she came around the corner and sat down beside me.
I told her that I could never be her mama, but that I could always be her friend.
It made me think of my own family, my own small four – how where there has been lack, God has always been so faithful to provide.
It may not look like what I imagined and dreamed about all of those years ago, before there was Tony and the life that we’ve made…but we have never lacked love.
A decade into this journey where all four of my children are under my roof and I don’t know what the future will look like for all of us.
I know what my dreams and my hopes are for each one –
I know that I hope they will always love and follow Jesus, that their faith will be strong and grow…
that, should they become mamas and a daddy themselves, that their marriages will be ones that are grounded in the beauty of the gospel…their love for the other would be deep and faithful and lasting.
That the faith that we are sharing with them now would be passed on to the next generation of grands that we don’t yet know.
I can hope these things and pray for these things,
but I can’t guarantee it.
The world around me, with all of it’s statistics and foreboding predictions would have me believe that hoping for good is foolish, to prepare for the worst instead.
But just when I begin to worry, just when I begin to think that maybe the darkness will win out in the end over my children, I am reminded of the verse that begins the recounting of those before me who had faith and hope in the sovereignty of God alone:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
The further in to the chapter one gets, the more it becomes apparent that faith *doesn’t* guarantee all we hope for and dream about…the final verses of the chapter talk about their successes and victories, yes, but just as quickly we read about mocking, flogging, imprisonment, torture…
What I need to be reminded is that hope should lift our eyes off of ourselves and what is right in front of us and cause us to realize that what, or really, Who
we are hoping and longing for is Jesus. What pushed all of these men and women listed in the 11th chapter of Hebrews to remain faithful to God?
It was the promise of Christ.
My heart that loves my children fiercely is slowly learning to see their hardship and struggle in a different light.
Learning that when my heart breaks over their pain, that this is a tender mercy as well. That here, when everything feels like it is falling apart around them, that Jesus is showing Himself to be all that they need. That He is greater than this moment, this temporal pain…and He is even greater than the joy that threatens to overwhelm.
So, for the ones who made me a Mama,
May you know how deeply you are loved, despite my daily failings and fumblings.
May we enter into these days together firstly and fully recognizing that this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!
May you be bold and courageous when others are mean and unkind and when you hear gun shots across the street, because sweet ones, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
May you face the future with hope and joy regardless of what the outside circumstances are, because in Christ, God always leads us in triumph.
The four of you are the joy of my heart, even on the days when I feel so overwhelmed…over and over you point me back to the feet of Jesus and make me see my deep need for Him and feel such deep love for each one of you.
As we press into each other learning from and growing through the good and bad, may we be found pressing into Christ together, for He is our refuge and our strength.
With all of my love, always,