I had the overwhelming thought, most of my life, that I wouldn’t be able to have children.
My mother died of a rare heart condition when I was four and the doctors said because of her heart condition its actually a miracle my sister and I lived to tell our stories. And because of this knowledge about my mother, a tiny seed was planted in my mind, I started living like this was going to be true.
I was never one of those girls who thought about getting married and having kids when I was little. Instead, I played “teacher” and dreamed of going to college and starting a career. And so when I got married two weeks after graduating college, my whole idea of what my future would hold and look like completely changed.
Fast forward to the regional Young Life conference in 2015 when Annie Stiller was leading worship and it was my last year leading Rogers Young Life (though I didn’t know it at the time).
During the last session of worship, I had this overwhelming experience where God spoke to me. And it wasn’t like this audible voice telling me anything. It was more like a feeling – like a feeling of certainty that I can’t completely explain. But the feeling washed over me and I knew right then and there that I was going to be a mother one day. And I started to cry. Because most of my life I just assumed it wasn’t possible for me like it shouldn’t have been with my mother. And before this day I didn’t even realize how much I wanted it. It was like I told myself it won’t happen - don’t get your hopes up and move on. But God doesn’t work like we do. With God, there is always hope and there are always miracles. And his sweet truth spoke to me that day changing the way I looked at my whole life.
And then on May 8th, 2016 Eleanor Joy came into the world and actually did change my whole life. I had no idea what it was going to be like to be a mother. Like seriously no. freaking. clue. I thought a lot about the birth because I wanted to have a natural birth and a doula and I took all the classes. But when Eleanor was actually here and I was in charge of keeping her alive and raising her, I was definitely unprepared. And the truth is – that is okay. How the hell can we be prepared for this kind of gift and responsibility.
And so during those first few months, I doubted myself a lot. I doubted my ability to feed Eleanor. I doubted my body and my skills. I mean come on, I have never been good about separating whites from colors in the wash – I just throw them all together and the whites come out, well, not white. And I can humbly admit I am not the best cook. And cleaning is definitely not my favorite thing. I mean I can do the dishes and make the bed, but when it comes to sweeping/moping the floors or dusting, I most of the time don’t do it. And I’m kind of an emotional wreck. Crying is something I do often, and I’m pretty good at controlling everything. And I have a bad habit of binge watching Netflix TV shows.
And all the negative thoughts came flooding into my mind. Yeah, these are the reasons I probably shouldn’t have been able to have children. I’m not like those other moms who have it all together and bleach their whites and never eat fast food and the list goes on.
But then here I was again, worshipping at our church a month or so after Eleanor was born. And I had forgot that God spoke to me about having a baby until this moment. And again, the feeling washed over me – this time not new truth, but a feeling of God reminding me of His truth – He chose me to give birth to Eleanor. He gave me the gift of being a mom – and it had nothing to do with my poor cleaning and cooking skills or the fact that I’m emotional most of the time. And it didn’t have to do with my gifts or the things I am good at.
In the end, He just gave me a gift because He loves me. And I remember (yes while crying) during worship that day, with Eleanor in the ergo in front of me, that being a “good mom” has nothing to do with the measures I was giving myself. We aren’t perfect. We will probably screw up our kids in some way or another. But the truth is, God is good. And trusting in Him is much better then focusing on all my flaws. Because he chose me in the midst of those flaws and trusts me.
So, stop comparing yourself to other people. Because it is in the midst of our vulnerability and inability and messiness that we find life. When admitting these things and trusting God and opening ourselves up, we are able to live into the life we are called to – no longer with a measuring stick of perfections, but an inhale and exhale of grace.
Eleanor Joy, if you ever read this, I’m sorry that your socks are not white and that you will see me fail multiple times. But know that in the end, you are loved in the midst of my imperfection – met with God’s perfect love for you. Rest in grace. I love you.