Saturday, May 10, 2014

this glorious calling

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year... Mother's Day.


This time last year - the day before Mother's Day - I was about to do my very favorite thing in life : give birth.









My water broke on the morning of May 11th, but Hayden decided to wait a full 24 hours to make his entrance into the world... or maybe God delayed his arrival, because He knows how much Mother's Day means to me. Whatever the reason for a prolonged labor and delivery, I did receive this little gift from Heaven on my favorite day of the year...






Eleven children later, birth never loses its beauty to me. There is a palpable grace in the air when my babies arrive- I always wonder if our room is filled with hidden angels, ushering in our little one with silent smiles and offering praise to God for the miracle of life.





I don't take lightly this gift of motherhood.

And as a mama who has given birth in my twenties, thirties, and now twice in my forties... I realize what an amazing role I've been handed throughout my life.







I distinctly remember the day I became a mother, 26 years ago last March.

I remember staring down in wonder at my sweet baby boy, exhausted and thrilled and awestruck that this little person came from inside of me.

I was so grateful and so in love...but I remember too, that feeling of being completely overwhelmed at the responsibility represented in that little bundle lying in my arms. Having babysat so many little ones for half of my life, it instantly dawned on me that nobody was going to fill in any gaps from here on out. If I didn't bathe my baby - or change him, or feed him or clothe him - nobody else was going to do it for me. He wasn't going home at the end of the day to be cared for, and returned to me in the morning, freshly changed and ready for the day. The magnitude of that level of care pressed down on me, causing me to pray harder and longer and more fervently than I had ever prayed before in my twenty short years  : I was responsible for a human life. I might get a lot of things wrong in the future, might fail in a million areas, but this one had no room for errors. This one I had to get right.








But you know what I've realized over the years?

I can fail.

I can mess things up : speak too harshly, remind too loudly, cry too often, praise too rarely...

I might forget a tooth under the pillow (or two, or three !!), burn a dinner, buy the wrong birthday gift, embarrass my kids in front of their friends ...

There will be times when I totally drop the ball and give into self-indulgence, ignoring a request for mommy-daughter time because I'm too tired to think straight and just want to curl up in bed with a good book...


Other times I might lie awake in bed remembering all the careless words spoken, all the "why-didn't-I-just-take-the-time-to-listen-instead-of-lecture" moments, chastising myself until I fall into a restless sleep...

There may be countless phone calls to a worn-out husband, begging him to "tell me what to do with this child, because he's driving me CRAZY!" and then hanging up and starting over again...



Oh yes, I can fail, and fail big time.



But I've also found that there is grace.






We falter and we fail as mamas, we learn from our mistakes and then we make new ones and learn from those as well.

We have days when we try so hard and go to sleep at night wondering if it's all worth it, and if anyone even notices all the little sacrifices we make.

We have moments of questioning it all, and questioning ourselves in the process, ten, fifteen, a hundred times a day.

We have seasons- sometimes prolonged seasons - when we want to throw in the towel and go back to the time when life was simpler, and the greatness of our lives was not measured in spilled milk and dirty diapers and forgotten teeth under the pillow...



But we find grace.




We find grace in our times of trouble, and we realize that in our weakness, God's strength is made perfect.

We learn to rely on His help and His ability to grow and nurture and heal - both us and our children.

We fall down and we pick ourselves back up again, and we realize that tomorrow is a new day, and although we may do this a thousand times in a life time- this failing and learning and leaning into God - that of all living creatures we are blessed ...




.... because we are mothers.



We aren't perfect, we aren't saints, but we love and we are loved...






... and this is enough.


Happy Mother's Day to all those who have entered into this glorious calling ....




xoxo


8 comments:

SammE said...

What a lovely post. Thank you! My two boys are adopted, and then I welcomed two more as step-sons. :) They are stair step kids, all of us living together with our dogs and our music. My oldest was a Mothers' Day baby. His birthday is today! I wrote to him telling him about the feeling the day he was born, that he was somewhere in the world, ready to become my baby. And the CAS worker who lived down the street telling me that day that a little boy had been taken into care. That was all she said, but I knew she was letting me know that my baby was on his way. :) I treasure these memories, different from your birthing ones, but just as precious. the awe-filled experience of being given a baby to love and raise still amazes me. Nobody had to do that for me. Being mother to these four boys is the happiest most fulfilling part of my life. Mothering is what I was meant to do. Happy Mothers' Day to you! :)

cara said...

Thank you for your encouragement through this post Patti! Beautifully written!!! You are one of the amazing mamas I know! I hope your Mother's Day is truly blessed tomorrow! I still remember reading about your Mother's Day blessing last year. Hard to believe that it has almost been a year. Much love to you and your beautiful family! xoxo

cathy said...

Beautiful, dear friend...
Happy Mothers Day

xoxox
cathy

Faith Kopp said...

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO MY SWEET, AMAZING, SELFLESS, GOD CENTERED CHILD. Thank you for all our grandchildren. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

MamaV said...

Aww, I loved this! I love being a mama :-)

cindie nunez said...

this line, (Eleven children later, birth never loses its beauty to me. There is a palpable grace in the air when my babies arrive- I always wonder if our room is filled with hidden angels, ushering in our little one with silent smiles and offering praise to God for the miracle of life.) broke me and I sobbed thru this entire post..... thank you for reading my heart and speaking to my fear of failure and reminding me of grace. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!! would it be ok if I posted that very last picture to my pinterest page?

Patti said...

Happy Mother's Day , and thank you for reading :) and happy pinning ;)

Tesha Papik said...

Love this sweet, inspiring post! Happy Mothers Day!!!