Not What You Expect

Motherhood is never what one expects. Just when you think you have it figured out, you realize you still have no idea what you are doing. These little people we are raising are constantly changing and growing. Their appetites change sometimes from one day to the next. Yesterday they loved bananas, today they hate them. Attitudes, sleep habits, and fears can vary from one week to the next. Just when you think they are in a routine, they suddenly stop taking naps and you find yourself scrambling to get them to bed earlier and then they wake up earlier and you just kind of shake your head in bewilderment and make another cup of coffee. What else can a sleepy momma do? 

It’s kind of like white-water rafting. When you look ahead at the churning white-water you think, “Uh-oh, we are in for it.” And then your skilled guide takes you right through it without a splash. Then just as you’ve relaxed thinking you’ve come through the worst…splash! You are drenched in icy cold water! You didn’t even see it coming. 

But we learn, don't we? We learn how to cope. We learn how to wait. We learn how to have patience-at least when we are in public. We learn everyday how to mother better and love deeper. We realize each year how clueless we really were in the beginning. Everyone tried to tell us. “Just wait!” they would declare, “Enjoy your sleep while you can.” or “Just wait until they can talk back!” We heard, but we didn’t understand. Now we get it. They were trying to tell us that this is the hardest thing we will ever do. They tried to make us understand that you don’t just bear the physical scars of childbirth, but the emotional scars of raising another human being into a complete person. They wanted to prepare us for the tears of joy and sobs of grief that line the path of motherhood. 

But it’s hard to explain to someone what that’s like. It’s a knowing that only comes with experience. It comes in the middle of the night when little fevers climb too high, and the whimpers of your sick baby tear at your heart. It comes with the delight of seeing them wobble those first steps and you realize the clock cannot go backward, only forward and faster. It comes during the mundane rhythm day after day, dish after dish, diaper after diaper, tantrum after tantrum that ticks our minutes and hours from sun up to sun down. It’s an understanding we share together, you and I. We give each other that knowing smile, the weary sigh, the roll of the eyes that says, “I know, tell me about it.” And so we are closer to each other because of our knowing. It’s not what we expected, and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

My prayer for us today is that we would remember what we have learned. I pray we will remember that it’s usually the little things that matter most, that showing kindness always goes further than being right, and that the reality that we cannot do it all will lead us to rest in the all-sufficient grace and presence of God. 

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.    2 Corinthians 12:9,10