A Mighty Work: The Beginning, Part 1

I took a walk to the sea-salt water with my daughter today. She is 9 months old. And a year ago, when I first learned I was having a daughter, fear overwhelmed me. Because I had deep dark scars and mothering a girl terrified the still-broken parts of me.

We walked along the road. Mercy riding on my back in a carrier, gravel smacking together under my boots; the soft sound of mud too. Dirty drips of water squeezing between blades of spring grass.

It was a perfect evening for a sunset walk. And my soul padded along to the pace of my steps, perfectly present in that moment.

Life happens in the now, a friend of mine said. Right now, this very moment, this is your life, your next breath is the future, your last breath was the past.

I drank in the moments. The feel of a baby against my body. The way I could tell how she looked back and forth at everything. Is there anything more sacred to watch than a child delighting in newness?

I thought about my healing. And how sick I felt over the repeated jargon we use describe the immensely spiritual and emotionally painful wrestling with abusive people. Abusers, toxic people, narcissists…it all falls so horrendously short.

Soul-stealers I thought. That’s what they are. Like the dementors in Harry Potter.

Yeah. Soul-stealers.

We turned a corner. And Mercy spun as best she could to watch a black cat laying flat in a patch of sun.

Down the hill. And there we saw the water, heard the hum of boat engines, laughter from across the water.

I walked to the edge, you know, where land meets shore? It’s always such a reverent moment. Like even the dirt doesn’t dare get too close to the sea, it keeps to the edges of the sand and watches in awe at all the happenings of a small beach. Earth contains the sea, cups it into the deepest crevices and lets it fling itself into the depths and shows it all the deepest parts of itself. The sea knows things about earth we never will. Earth and sea. They are intimate friends.

And there we stood, Mercy and me, drinking in the smell of the salt stuff in the air on our skin, the way the birds were settling in for the night. It’s all for you to enjoy, whispered the Holy Spirit. That voice I’ve come to love and crave.

This is what I know: there is an unspeakable joy present in the lapping of water on a shore.

We turned to walk home. Already, the sun felt lower, cooler.

And Mercy sung softly in her little baby voice and I knew she felt it too: God, here with us. It has taken me a long time to learn how to welcome God into the everyday walks. He hovers, ever-present in the air around us, like a bright-winged eternal friend.

And then I smiled, because I just knew deep, deep down, something in me healed…

Fear is rarely release all at once. It is the daily, momentary surrender that changes us so. And it is the daily, momentary choice to refuse to hate, to turn your face to the Son and let him carry us.

We are not just persons. We are souls. And if souls be pained, then they must be healed by an Eternal Healer.

And to be healed we must let him heal us…

The Meaning of Motherhood: Honest Words to Myself

I’m writing this for me. I’m preaching to the choir. I need this today. Because, I need to remember that motherhood was never intended to be picture perfect or even halfway presentable most of the time.

•••

Motherhood is hard hard draining exhausting work. X 100.

God gives us these little people and we hold them and hug them and those first tears we cry when we see them are just the start of the beautifully messy life unfolding before our eyes.

The spit-up and the diapers fade to fits and coloring on walls and before you know it they’ve lost their first tooth and you’re having conversations about the possibility of actually digging up treasure and they are sounding out words and asking you how babies are made. (All that happened to me this week, by the way.)

Some days I don’t even make it to bed because I fall asleep watching Friends on the couch with a bag of chips half eaten beside me. (My life is so glamorous…)

Today, I really need to remember that mothering is supposed to take a ton of energy. It’s supposed to be hard some days and really terrific other days. And it’s all OK.

And I need to listen to my friends when they tell me to give myself grace. Because productivity doesn’t equal value when it comes to personhood. And a messy home and a GIANT pile of laundry doesn’t mean anything except that we actually live here. Right?

Today, I need to take a deep breath and remind myself that God’s mercies are new EVERY morning. And they were new THIS morning…when I woke up tired and short on motivation. I need to remind myself that it’s OK to be tired and human.

It’s just OK.

And it’s ok for YOU too…

So, today I’m giving myself grace. I’m not gonna be lazy, but I’m also not gonna be so hard on myself. And mostly, I’m going to remind myself that my Heavenly Father sees me and knows me and this family he’s given me…

they are a treasure…

even when I’m exhausted and way too hard on myself.