joining the ranks

"a mother’s labor and delivery never ends 
and you never stop having to remember to breathe."
-Ann Voskamp 

here i am on the eve of my first mother's day.  still a baby compared to so many of the great mothers out there.  the mothers, like mine, who have done the day to day labor of motherhood for days, weeks, months, years, decades.  the mothers who have passed through season after season of life with their children.  the mothers who have passed through seasons of death of their children.  there are so many great mothers out there.  great in the sense that they are really really good at motherhood, but more so great in the significance of their spirit of motherhood.  my mother, for example, is a great mom.  but she is also one of the greats of motherhood.  her spirit of self-sacrifice, unending love for her children, seemingly unceasing hope for her children's futures, her steady support and friendship.  she is counted among the great ones. and i know that stepping into first shallow waters of motherhood has, for me, been made better in ways that i do not even understand yet because of the legacy of motherhood that i have observed and received from her.  

and as i join the ranks of the mothers of this day, i reflect on what is has, and does, mean to me to be a mother.  i have been doing this for nine months, nine months tomorrow actually, on mother's day.  the first hours and days feel like such a very distant memory that im sometimes unsure i even really lived through them.  i think someone superimposed those memories into my head.  they feel so far away and so different than my life now.  i felt so unsure and everything felt so foreign and new.  i think i have started to get the feel for this season of life with eden, it feels normal and regular.  i feel like a mother, which i did not always.  at first i felt like a cow; a sleep deprived, fat, ugly, emotional cow.  i felt like the only reason eden wanted me was for milk and i felt like my whole life would be spent feeding her without ceasing.  

sometimes i look around at our routine and our home and think to myself that i have figured it out.  i am oiling this machine and keeping it going and its working.  i feel the pride of accomplishment creep up into my heart as if i were the one who has sustained eden these last nine months when in reality it is God, by His grace, who has been sustaining her these eighteen months.  He grew her inside of me, protected her as she grew, brought her beautifully into the world and has kept her healthy and happy until now.  all that i have done has been by His grace, in-spite of myself. not because of myself.  

and the idea of stewardship keeps coming back to me.  eden is not mine.  she is not now, and she has never been.  i have been entrusted, by the maker of all things, with one precious little life.  she is on loan, and i get to steward this gift for however long He sees fit.  when i hold on to her at night once she is asleep and i have peeled her off her mattress for one last snuggle, i pray and i pray that God will make her love Him.  only He can do that.  and I can plan, and strategize (and i should because it is my job) about how to cultivate her heart, and teach her to obey me, and obey Him.  but i can't make that happen.  so motherhood is really about giving up control (or my perception of control) to the ultimate parent, who created parenthood and does it perfectly.

ok and one last thing is that i would not dream of giving up eden's life to save someone.  sure, if it were a family member of mine it would be a much harder decision, but even then...she is my flesh. i certainly would never give up my child for the life of someone who had done me wrong, who had hated me, who had betrayed me or waged war against me.  

but that is what God did. He did sacrifice His son, his one and only son, for mothers like me who are prideful and sinful and have acted out in rebellion ad nauseam and do motherhood so very badly sometimes. 

THE father, sacrificed His only son so that this mother could be His daughter. 

that is a lot of love.  

that is so so much grace.     

and that means that i don't have to do motherhood by my own strength or with my own wisdom. because this mother is a daughter of the father, i get to trust Him in this whole journey.  and that makes me much more confident as i join the ranks.