May 14, 2017
So, this being-a-mother thing is not what I signed up for. That being said, I suffered for many years with a debilitating condition called Idealism. It snuck into my heart and then took over my brain, causing nauseating side-effects like thinking I had read all the right books to have perfectly behaved children as well as ones instructing how to mold and shape the perfect family. I had it bad, folks. I put my oldest daughter through mommy and daughter matching dresses. We had family photos at the prescribed intervals. We had family game night, with organic homemade pizza, ending with Anne of Green Gable’s snuggle time.
And then life happened. God decided to give me what I needed instead of what I wanted. And honestly, if most moms knew what all being a mother to their children entailed before they got pregnant, they might have stuck to dogs. I had no idea I would have to bury a child, and with it, part of my heart. I had no idea I would have all day sickness instead of morning sickness. I didn’t know I would have to be on bedrest for all of my pregnancies. I had no idea I would have to give up sleeping in a bed for YEARS so that I could be up in the night with my chronically sick kid and so Hubby could be rested for work the next day. I had no idea that I would have to watch a little person vomit as often as I have or that I would know she was struggling just by the look in her eyes or listening to the sound of her breathing. And the peanut allergy thing has turned me into a whole new kind of crazy! In public, I can literally NEVER relax because so much is out of my control, and that is the nature of life-threatening allergies–you must control exposure to the allergen, because it is very possible you won’t get a second chance. Tell me that isn’t enough to make the sanest person wack-a-doodle! We even have gotten a rat for her “therapy” animal, because that is the only animal she can be around for short periods of time without turning into a giant hive. You know you have given up control when you have OCD and you let your allergic, immune compromised daughter get a stereo-typical sewer dweller just because she can hold it for 10 minutes a day, giving her so much joy. I even have to clean the darn thing’s cage! NOT MY FAVORITE!
But God, in His wisdom, gives us children to make us better version of ourselves. They are natural sand paper to the rough edges we bring into parenting. They are the pin that pops the proverbial idealism in us. And although it is not comfortable, it is good. A lot of the basis of my idealism was in making myself look good. When He gives us children who don’t fit in neat, tidy little boxes, it takes away our ability to control. No matter what I do, I will not have a child with perfect health. No matter what my friends, M and M do, they will not have neuro-typical children. You cannot “control” chronic-illness away. You cannot “control” food allergies or asthma away. You cannot not “control” chemical imbalances or autism away. The beauty that comes from those ashes is dependence on the Lord. In His wisdom, he knew that having a medically complicated kid would take me to the end of myself and cause me to lean heavily on Him. And in my heart of hearts, I really did want my mothering and my family to be about God getting the glory, but my pride kept sticking its big, ugly head in the way. I am dependent on God for direction to the right medical professionals, what food is triggering her mast cell and eosinophilic issues and for wisdom as to how much exposure to her million and one allergens she can take before she turns into a snotty, wheezy, puking pumpkin. I cannot manage all this on my own and that is good.
Another heavy issue I ponder this Mother’s day is my reminder to myself that my daughter is not actually mine. She is the Lord’s. He created her and I believe with all of my heart that He has a purpose for her life, however long that might be. That includes the pain and the struggle and the fear we all go through. God is good, though, friends and He doesn’t allow pain and discomfort for no reason. He WILL use this in her life. But, I have to tell you, I would not have picked these circumstances for her or for us. But God can see things I can’t. He sees the big picture and I only see what is in front of my nose. But there are promises we MUST stand on, and this one is a BIGGIE. I preach to myself in those moments when she is weary of feeling bad or left out, that she belongs to the Lord and He will use this for good. I preach to myself when I am weary from lack of sleep or heart-broken over all the things I see her missing out on, that my God DOES NOT WASTE PAIN. I preach to myself when I have to send her to a social event and I have no control over who has peanuts, that God is in control and nothing happens that He doesn’t know about. He loves my daughter much more than I do.
So, no, motherhood isn’t what I expected it to be, but it is better, because it is making me better. I care so much less about how things look to others. I know the children the Lord has given me and I focus on His leading and guiding for mothering my girls. I have to trust God in so many, many situations because I can’t find an actual bubble we would be allowed to keep Little Miss Sparkle in. When I was controlling every little detail of life, there was little need for me to trust the Lord. I trusted in myself. I also know, somewhere deep in my heart, that I don’t know the end of my daughter’s days, but I can only do what I can do and I have to rest in God’s sovereignty and goodness in determining that end. Mothering my children has made me more kind and sensitive to others who are struggling, especially those who have children who struggle everyday. I believe it is God alone who can sustain a mom to care for the needs of children with chronically wacked out immune systems or diseases or disorders. It is a” hard” that might lessen some days, but it doesn’t ever stop. I am also thankful for the “grace glasses” mothering my children has caused me to wear. I know I have said it before, but I would scream it from the mountain tops if I could just get to a mountain. We don’t know what people are going through. I am thankful that I am learning to give grace because I need that same grace. And most of all, it is the desire of my heart, for God to get all the glory in my mothering, for that is what really matters.