When Julia was born, I was just a young girl of nineteen and I had no idea what motherhood even meant. I knew it would be diapers and crying and sleepless nights…but I didn’t anticipate the wonder.
I can remember watching Saturday Night Live in our tiny apartment and I would get her out of bed just to let her sleep on my chest. I loved every second of motherhood in those early days. She was an easy, laid back baby and I felt love and contentment I’d never, ever known before. Yes, there were diapers and crying and sleepless nights and I’m sure the passage of time has made me remember it all through rose colored glasses but I knew I’d been given a good gift.
And what’s funny about it is that finding out I was pregnant…it had been a shock and a point of stress. I’d been living the wild life for a while and my mom and some members of our church had gathered together to pray. The prayer was: “Whatever it takes, whatever it takes to get her to stop living this wild life and get back to what she knows.”
Within a week, I was telling my mom some pretty crazy news. She was forty, just like I am today.
I worried. I worried that I wouldn’t be good at being a mom, that I wouldn’t make my parents proud, that I wouldn’t ever get to do anything that I wanted to do.
And then, this thing I’d been worried about and frightened of happened and I counted it joy. Because it was. Julia was. Mothering her gave me purpose and confidence and made me want to be better and I started the slow journey to being better.
But that’s how it works. We don’t just wake up one day fully healed and fully actualized and fully walking upright with Jesus, sinning no more.
I screwed up lots. I made mistakes lots. I did the wrong thing, lots. But my heart was open to Him in a new way and that part has not changed in 20 years.
I had two more babies and while the day to day got more harried and busy and messy, I still loved it all. I loved my babies, loved motherhood, loved Jesus. And I kept trying to be better. Sometimes I did well and sometimes I failed so loud and so hard that my whole world shook.
And the truth is…that hasn’t changed. I still fall down, I still fail and I still love my babies. And God is still faithful.
Because God knows how to love well. He knows that sometimes He has to let me feel consequences and sometimes He has to offer grace unmerited. He knows that I will turn my back on Him and act like a selfish brat and sometimes I get too cozy with Poor Me and Discouragement and that whole crowd. He knows that sometimes I don’t believe I have what it takes and sometimes I believe I can do anything. He knows that sometimes I’m going to try too hard on my own and sometimes I’m going to try and fix things and that He’s going to need to be there to pick up the pieces.
He knows that sometimes, He’s going to offer me something amazing and I’m going to balk.
And I know that He is never anywhere but right beside me, within me, before me and behind me.
We all know Jeremiah 29:11 and we quote it so much that the words lose their meaning. But it’s truth.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Not disaster, but good.
And then there’s Romans 8:28, another one we can all quote and know and still not know.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
All things…my failures, my mistakes, my sins…He redeems.
And so I’m thinking on all of that this morning as I’m looking down at my sweet Nora, as I get Lila and Claire ready for the day. I think of how God has taught me more and more about love with each one of these precious six. How He has shown His hand on my life and on theirs. How He is teaching me how safe it is to trust Him and love Him. How He has shown me what Love looks like.
He has plans for me, plans for good things, for a hope and a future. And He will work all things together for my good, and He will guide me to His purpose and plans for my life. Because I am His.