#MotherStories: Becoming #hopelesshoper

I truly can’t remember when it was that I became a #hopelesshoper – the kind of hoper that cant help herself, hopelessly hoping even when it means you’ll get hurt. I think it happened sometime between getting married and the last fertility treatment. I mean, I stood at that altar facing a man I’d only really started getting to know 10 months before. And in knowing him, loving him, #newhope sprang (or springed??) to life on my dream of #motherhood. 🌸

You see, I’d knelt at a different altar 3 short years before with a heart in full surrender, believing with my whole spirit , mind and body that answering a #calltoministry meant giving up my dream of being a mother. I was certain in that moment on my knees that in honoring what I knew God wanted for me I was giving up one of my most long held dreams. 🌸

But here I was, a near Seminary grad, marrying a farm boy from Alberta, and together already #dreamingofbabies 🌸

That day we both thought that our obedience – how we had lived to that point – assured our dream of being parents wouldn’t be long off.
Hope. Dreams of family.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”

Psalm 37:4

#MotherStories: Still the Beginning

I’m struggling to write the next #motherstories installment. How do you talk about something that happened so long ago yet still feels so fresh in my heart? How do I take apart the complexities of infertility, miscarriage, of going through the grief of unrealized dreams and intangible losses? How do you do that when so many struggle to tolerate expression of open ended loss when “you should be over it” or “you have such a good life now…you’re so blessed…” and I know that I am but there it is. 🦋

There it is #likeastone on my chest at times I’m not prepared for it. 🦋

Believe me I’d like nothing more than to #justgetoverit. I’d love nothing more than to never wonder #whatmightvebeen. I’d love nothing more than to just live blissful surrounded by #mytwomiracles, a wonderful husband, a beautiful home, a good life. 🦋

But if there’s anything I’ve learned from trying to be the best momma to my kids, it’s that your body remembers #trauma … remembers loss …remembers even when you’re willing your self to forget. It’s still there and part of #livingwithit and the repercussions of all that’s happened is allowing myself to remember and feel and acknowledge that, in spite of the good place, in addition to the blessings, there’s stuff that’s been pretty brutal on the heart and being heard, being fully known is a part of the healing process. 🦋

#MotherStories: On a Wedding Day

May I say something somewhat controversial about #mothering today?  It’s a thought that goes back two decades to my wedding day, a story I’ll get to in a minute.

What if being a mother wasn’t the most important job on the planet after all?  Oh it’s important, so much so.  But what if God made the family because He wanted us to have a place to belong, but that it’s just as important to nurture the people around us, as it is to raise the ones you are privileged to have in your own home.  

This #motherstories project is all about figuring out how I got here, and what God has really been doing in all the circumstances that brings me to this point.  Because honestly, the twistiness of it all doesn’t make much sense.   And all that’s happened can make me question my #enoughness as a parent and as a #pastor, since I struggle to mom every day, and I can’t even talk about how it feels to let go of the call in my life to be a local church pastor.   I’ve not untangled that messy knot yet, but I do wonder if all along, and even though God has answered my prayers to be a mother, that there’s something bigger at play, that being a mother is important but not at all costs. 

It begs the question if, for all of us at some point, it isn’t really about being a mom at all. I know so many great women with so much to offer, and a deep desire to be a mother, who’ve never gotten the privilege.  Why is that?  Why would God disallow them this honor?  

Maybe it’s not about being mother, but about a willingness to be ‘other’, to reach out to cultivate Jesus’ words and deeds into all we God places in our lives, whether they live under our roof or not.  God gave us the perfect example of this in the  Matthew generations, by including outsiders in the royal line, and by encouraging the Jews who worshipped together to live out the mission of Christ, to reach out to everyone, not keep the Good News to themselves.  

This ‘othering’ mission is nothing new, hopefully, to any of us.  To care for someone outside, to invest in others out of obedience, to walk beside is a certain call on all Christ followers.

I can go all the way back to a specific moment on our wedding day, a true day to rejoice in a new family formed.   We served communion to everyone, and while our friends and family were served, we looked out at the faces of all who gathered, from all over the world, to celebrate this day with us.  Not only were all 15 nieces and nephews a part, but you remember the kids I talked about being the nannyish-kidsitter-kind of person for? I saw many of their faces in the crowd. And other kids, from the youth group I worked with, many faces I didn’t expect because these were young people away at college, came distances to celebrate with me this day.   It’s indescribable what it meant that so many had made the effort to reach back. These ‘kids’ were my joy to pastor. These ones helped me focus the nurturing gift into ministry.  I needed them as much as they needed me, and I see now that the time I got to focus on being ‘other’ to them prepared me for every future mission God has put me on, including becoming a mother through extraordinary circumstances.  God did that.  God made that happen for all of us.

#MotherStories: Other People’s Kids

The fuzzy head of my #littlesweetpotatoboy was snuggled on my shoulder, breathing heavy, sound asleep.  On the phone was one of my insurance company clients.  We were working on a time sensitive case that was going to court soon. 

Earlier that day, LittleGuy’s day care had called, he was running a fever and “could you come pick him up?” I checked in with my boss, canceled appointments, packed my briefcase and headed out the door. 

Ah.  Sounds like a typical scenario in the life of a working mother right?  But this child, he wasn’t mine.  I was not LittleGuy’s mother.  I was “just” his nannyish-type-kid-sitter person who took care of him and his sister when parents were away.  One year, I even received flowers near Mother’s Day in honor of the role I played in their lives.  God’s good that way, giving us what we need even if He has to get creative. 

 At that time I was hopelessly and mostly happily single, a career woman, content except for the deep desire in my heart to be a parent someday. And here I was, grace upon grace, in love with and loving someone else’s kid.  He wasn’t my first, wouldn’t be the last before I ever became a mother in my own right.  There was my roommate’s son, who felt like mine sometimes, and my (then all)  gorgeous nephews who would run #helterskelter into #CoolAuntT’s arms and spend whole weekends with me so their parents could have a break.  Changing diapers, waking up with little boy breath on my cheek, making mac n cheese, going to the zoo, so many memories with all these littles who I have been so privileged to know and to love (all but one of the original five are parents now themselves!)

And it didn’t end with these littles. This love spilled out led me to one of the most pivotal decisions in my life, to pursue a #ministrycall where doors opened to love on teenagers, and eventually their parents, and others in our various parish assignments.

For many years, my #motherhoodcalling was honored by others when they asked me to be a significant #other in their child’s life.  And I am so grateful for it.  When God calls us to something, He doesn’t leave us hanging and wondering why He isn’t providing for us. 

And lesson learned, you don’t have to have kids to fulfill a nurturing role in the lives of another person, to be important to a kid.   I’m glad I didn’t wait for the day I was a parent to start loving kids as my own.  I’m glad God calls us all to #loveoneanother and then let’s us sort out what that looks like.  

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

1 John 3:18

(Pic is of my nephew Ryley and me on the day of my graduation from Seminary, circa 1999)

#MotherStories: Best Gift Ever

I wish I could find the picture, the one where I have this huge grin on my face, and there she is, a teeny red-faced baby crying at the top of her lungs while I rocked her in my baby doll crib.

The BEST…GIFT…EVER came to my house the Christmas before I turned 4. I was so so so happy for this real baby to play with, to mother. Of course, I wasn’t as thrilled when it was my job to hang the cloth diapers on the line (and then take them down and fold them) and all the other chores that came with being the big sister.    

But I’ve got to say this… It’s hard to beat getting a baby sister for Christmas.  She came into the world at a time when our family needed JOY, something to celebrate.  Tragedy was a part of our family that year, and as the family storytelling goes, it was a truly trying time.

And then she was here, our Natalie Joy, fresh into the world on Christmas Day.  Tiny. Sweet. A perfect baby for Big Sister to love and mother for years to come.  In fact, as I look back I can see that being a big sister was the first step in recognizing a #mothercalling, something deep inside me that never left from that day on.  The memory sticks with me to this day, the memory that picture brings of being with my baby.

Are some of us called to #motherhood more than others?  I don’t know.  I do know that this feeling from early on that I hoped to be a mother drove many decisions in my life, including trying my best to stay as healthy as possible, finding a career where I could be present with my hoped-for family, and holding out for the right fella who I knew would be the best Dad. 

Now, in full disclosure, my sister Nat was hardly impressed with my #mothering of her.  Especially as we got older and she realized I was (or I wanted to be) in charge of every decision of her little life.  She pushed back against my bossiness.  And I’ve wondered as I’ve reflected on how I saw her,  strong in will and spirit, moving to her own beat, if knowing her partly for the kids I parent today, kids who know their own mind, are finding their own way ~ kids who I couldn’t parent #theoldfashionedway (if there is such a thing!).

I think we can all learn lessons from looking back to the experiences that shaped us.  Being a big sister was one of those.

This story is part of a project I call #motherstories.  Write your own and I’d love to share them on my instastory. 

“Let the redeemed of the Lord #sayso” (Psalm 107:2)

““Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He did for me”

(Psalm 66:16)

(Post picture is of me and my big brother with Nat, circa 1975)

#MotherStories: A Series for Mother’s Day

Hey You, Yes… you, all of you who feel a load of all sorts as May rolls around. You. Here you are, it’s #allthingsSpring and new life and maybe you carry that load out front or you try to hide it since you have SO much to be thankful for.

🌸

And yet, there’s a cringing at the question “what do you want for Mother’s Day” and you know, there’s a heart that’s weary, a sadness on the edges, or maybe it’s in the deep, deep centre of your soul. You don’t want that feeling – ask for it, plan for it, it catches you by surprise.

🌸

You breathe deep, remembering…

🌸

It’s #MothersDay.

🌸

Hey girls, if this is you, that Mother’s Day (even if you’re parenting) has tinges of sadness mixed in, #ISeeYou.

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I see you and it’s time to admit that the #sadache is there, to not just put on our #Imfineface but to #fessup and #sayso,

🌸

“today…this day…hurts… and here’s why?”

🌸

“Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He did for me” (Psalm 66:16)

Come and listen Dear Ones, as over the next several days I’m committing to writing a series of #motherstories to share the joy and more, vulnerable, fully speaking our hearts in order to be known and hopefully know more about our neighbor, and then, let the #compassionflow for others going through it too …

🌸

Dear Ones, we must speak our stories, including the joys and sorrows of #dreamingmotherhood

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We must #speakourstories, of living through the #journeytomotherhood on twisty paths.

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We must speak our stories of living with the ways reality ~ of living what is ~ forces us to dream new dreams, find new paths, change our #callingasmother

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I can’t wait to share these stories… join me if you’d like.

🌸🌸🌸Let the redeemed of the Lord Say So” (Psalm 107:2)

#another

I don’t want #another life. I want this one. I have a good life. 🌸
If I cry when I talk about things it doesn’t mean I’m not happy. There’s just things worth crying over you know? 🌸

And when I worry too much about this or that, and that I’ll always be that one person still searching for #peacethatsurpassesallunderstanding because of all the curveballs life has thrown my way, just listen. I’m working it out as my #overthinkitmuch brain processes it all. 🌸

But never think I want #another life because I’m good living this one – working it out day by day with a God who never tires of my tears and worries and all the #casting on him the cares of my world. 🌸

I live by hopelessly hoping that the this or that of my life will make sense and matter knowing full well that I live in the power of #theresurrection every day and even when I’m struggling, when I don’t understand, God is still there. He’s working it all together and I can trust him with #thisgoodlife
So I worry. I cry. I rant. I trust. I hope. And that all plus a lot of other things makes this life good.
#writingprompt #amwriting #writersofig #writersofinstagram #writing #amiawriteryet #fmfwrites @fiveminutefriday 🌸 🌸

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!) Go there and join the fun! (I’m trying to be more fun.)