Motherhood has not turned out to be the way I expected, which is perhaps the most brutiful thing that has ever happened to me.
I quickly realized the number one lesson of motherhood, “I am not in control,” when nearly seventeen years ago, in late July, two weeks after my due date with my firstborn I found myself being induced by a woman with fingernails, then laboring for three days and eventually being frantically rolled in for an emergency c-section due to the fact that my baby’s heartbeat had substantially decelerated and there was concern that if she was not taken from my womb immediately, she may not survive. I remember the room quickly shifting around me as a peaceful conversation with my midwife abruptly ended and I was suddenly surrounded by what felt like a dozen medical people telling me to get on all fours so that they could maneuver my body to try to get the baby’s heart to beat again.
I remember praying, “Oh God, please help. Help me. Help me. Help my baby.” And I have been praying that ever since, it seems.
Grace’s traumatic birth was my entrance into motherhood. The words of a mama in the film, “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” ring true for me. As she is being told she needs to have a c-section, she cries, “BUT I HAVE A BIRTH PLAN…and it is TYPED.” Exactly.
I had more than a birth plan…I had a life plan.
I thought that if I did certain things, I would get certain results, but it turns out that I am not raising robots, or scientific experiments that obey mathematical laws. Reading to your child every day does not guarantee they will grow up to love books. Hiking with them regularly does not guarantee they will have a love for the outdoors. Taking them to church and teaching them about my Jesus doesn’t guarantee that they will follow Him. Of course, I have influence as a mom. My choices matter and will impact them, but not in some A + B = C kind of a way. And that’s the part I can’t control: The RESULTS. And when I focus too much on my “results agenda,” I lose sight of what I believe my role to be…
I am raising unique human beings, two girls that are each one-of-a-kind, dreamed up by God, knit together in the secret place (one in my womb and one in the womb of another). They each have a unique soul. They are not ME. They are not reflections of me. I am not in control.
I believe I was chosen by God to be their mother, just as much for my formation as for theirs. This is comforting. We grow together. Far be it from me to think I have any more to teach them than they have to teach me. Seriously. I mean it. Here’s the thing, mothering them has shaped me more than anything else I’ve ever done in this life.
I get to pour myself, my heart, my insight, my time, and most of all, my unconditional love into them, giving them the wings to fly, to make their own mistakes, their own choices.
So I continually seek to let go of my agenda, and embrace the emerging paths of my daughters. I love fiercely. I speak up. I tell them what I think. I model my values. I cry out to God on their behalf. I sing to them. I listen to them. I hold them as long and as often as they let me. I seek to pour life into their souls with my words. But at the end of the day, I have to let them decide who they will be. I mother them by being myself. And then I follow their lead.
The antidote to control is surrender.
Help me! Help me! Help my babies! Thank you Jesus. They are yours, not mine. Have your way…
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