Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lamentations and Mercies for Mommies

Have you ever read the book of Lamentations?  If not, read it!  In a very bizarre way, some of it really reminds me of motherhood.  Occasionally, if I am being honest, being a mommy can feel a little like I’ve been taken captive and forced into servitude by a group of small people who often don’t seem to speak the same language as me, but who have huge expectations and demands from me.  I mean, verses like, “…she who was a princess among the provinces has become a forced laborer” (1:1) and “All her majesty has departed…” (1:6) and “The adversary has stretched out his hand over all her precious things…” (1:10) sound a lot like my life!

You see, somewhere in my childhood, I formed a picture in my mind of what it would be like to be a mommy.  It looked something like this:  motherhood would be always fun, always cuddly, always clean, always simple, and always easy.  There would be easy-to-solve problems that would all end in a sort of Cosby-meets-Family Ties kind of way.  My children would live to please me out of their great admiration and love (of me).  I would have always bathed obviously and be dressed very fashion-forward (in my unaffected-by-child-bearing-body), and would have ultimately learned how to tame my curly hair.  My space and my things would stay mine unless, of course, I was feeling generous. Things would be so ideal that even the little trials of daily life would be humorous and cute, bordering adorable. 

Not only is that cheesy, ridiculous, and completely false, it’s nauseating! I apologize for the “quease” factor.  But for one reason or another, as I grew up, that ideology never really changed, which is probably why I was shocked when reality struck.

Do you remember how much you wanted your babies before you ever had them?  I do.  Every month I waited to see if I was pregnant.  I wept when I wasn’t.  And great tears of joy came when I was.  I felt the weight of the blessing that they would be. 

And in that moment, there was no greater joy.

Then I threw up.  Then some months later on, I labored for them and delivered them.  I watched 2 of mine stay in the NICU. 

And I finally felt the excitement of taking each of the 3 of them home…what massive joy!

Then she/he would.not.stop.crying.  My boobs were constantly needed.  There was poop.  There was spit up.  There was pee on my bed.  There was more poop. 

And there was rolling over, then crawling, then walking…so much joy!!

Then there was baby food.  And stains.  There were snacks.  And there were crumbs.  There were just SO many crumbs.  And there was laundry.  There was just SO much laundry.  And there were books to read.  There were just SO many books to read.  And they were stupid books. 

And then there was a first word…such a sweet joy!

Then there was the rest of the housework.  And dinner needed to be made.  And groceries needed to be bought.  Somebody got a fever.  And we were out of coffee. 

And in this moment, I can’t feel the joy.

What an ebb and flow!  Mothers have an immense (no exaggeration) job.  It practically takes a genius to do what a mom does…really…to manage all that she manages takes some real intelligence and gumption.  She is a supreme juggler.  She wears many hats.  And if she tells the truth, sometimes, she feels like a captive in the beautiful mess of her life.  And then His mercy flows in, and joy comes.

“This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope.  The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I have hope in Him.’” (Lamentations 3:21-24)  There it is, y’all.  Right in the middle of an entire book of pitying in their circumstances, the people rejoice in Him because His mercy is new everyday and because His lovingkindess isn’t ever going to fail!  Woohoo!!!

So, momma’s, take heart.  Today will end.  And tomorrow will come.   It will be a new day.  Look for His mercy.  It will be there and it will be new.  Don’t let a day pass without looking for that breath-taking moment where God gives you that glimpse of His never-ending love…because it is there.

And, momma’s, don’t miss the chance to show His mercy and love to your babies, your adorable little captors.  Because each wipe of a snotty nose, spill, or bottom, every cuddle, every book read or song sung, every dust-busted crumb is a demonstration of God’s great mercy and love in the life of your child.  Motherhood is not about being held captive, it’s about serving.  Serving Him by serving these others in your home.  And though I know we know it, our motherhood is far more than mere home management.  It’s a mission field.  It’s being a missionary to a new and unreached people group.  Our very own people group.

So, sweet sister, “[do not] lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Gal. 6:9)  And if you’re starting to feel weary, as any mere mortal might, remember, we serve a great and mighty God Who always leads us in triumph, Who does not grow weary, and Who gave us our babies. Rest there, my friend. 

Though motherhood may be entirely different than I ever thought, I realize the great calling that it is in my life.  Motherhood, thankfully, is not for wimps, it’s for those brave enough to entrust their children’s young lives to the God Who knit them together.  What a relief that He cares more for them than I ever could! 

Let me take this last moment to tell you one more VERY important thing.  My kids rock!  And being their mommy is one of the greatest joys of my life.  The reality of motherhood is hard, but so amazingly rewarding.  My babies are such precious gifts, and I am in no way at all trying to say I wish that my life looked any different than how it does right now…even with the massive pile of laundry waiting for me to fold it!