Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Decade of Mother's Days

It hit me this oldest is 9 which makes this my 10th Mother's Day as a mom!  The last decade of Mother's Days have been filled with some of the most joy-filled {and some of the most difficult} days of my 34 years on Earth.

As I reflect back on those special days that have marked my journey of motherhood, there are several years that stick out in my mind as milestone years...those that have shaped me into the woman that I am today and that have given me a passion to connect and encourage other mothers along the way.

Mother's Day 2004-We'd been married just over 4 years and desperately wanted a baby.  Month after month, I held my breath and then allowed grief to overtake me when I realized that it wasn't yet time.  Though I wasn't quite a mother yet, my heart was ripe with anticipation and I was less than appreciative when a sweet older gentleman at church handed me my Mother's Day pen and rose and reassured me that "some day" I would be a mother.  Though his words felt condescending at the time, he was correct and, little did I know, our days of questioning "when" were about to be over (I was about 2 weeks pregnant).

 Mother's Day 2005-I was totally in awe of her...our sweet, beautiful baby girl that God had blessed us with just three months prior.  I carried her into church, with her baby seat on one arm and her giant diaper bag on the other, as a new mom figuring out how to raise and nurture this little angel.  Though we had some questions about why she had this special need and, subsequently wore an awkward hip brace that we lovingly referred to as her "baby swing", nothing could steal our joy.  We were parents and felt so blessed to be given with this opportunity.

Mother's Day 2007-We entered church that morning as a complete family (or so we thought).  Our second baby was 7 days old and I'd experienced about 10 hours of sleep since his arrival.  I was in a sleep-deprived stupor but feeling like a superhero because we'd gotten our newly-formed family of four out the door and into church ON TIME.  We were still riddled with uncertainty as our little guy had been diagnosed with the same hip dysplasia that afflicted his sister, but we were committed to praying for a miracle for him and that was our focus on that Mother's Day.  (The rest of that story is that God granted us that miracle and our son was cleared even before treatment, a miracle even our pediatrician acknowledged!)

Mother's Day 2011-My eyes welled up and overflowed with tears as we watched the choir sing.  Why we thought it was a great idea to spend Mother's Day morning watching the African Children's Choir while neck-deep in awaiting our referral for an African child is STILL beyond me.  The choir was amazing and energetic and it really was a fun concert, but my mama's heart was aching so much for the babe who had stolen our hearts though we hadn't yet seen his face.  THIS Mother's Day, during the long wait for a referral, was the hardest one yet.  I was grateful for the two I had in my arms, but longed for the one that was still growing in my heart.

Mother's Day 2012-Difficult is the only word I can think of to describe this Mother's Day.  We'd FINALLY officially passed court just two days prior.  Our case was finally moving and I was grateful, but my arms ached for the baby that we'd had to leave in Ethiopia 5 weeks before.  I cried out to God so much on this day (and the days surrounding) to care for our little baby and to speed things along to get us back to him.  Though I'd thought the previous year's Mother's Day was hard, this one stretched me beyond what I could handle.  And, in that stretching, the Lord was there, holding me in His arms and comforting me as I cried.

Mother's Day 2014-This Mother's Day {TODAY} is one filled with joy for me.  My three babies are under one roof and have poured accolades from "You're the best mom ever" to "We love you mom; we wouldn't be a family without you."  And, I am overwhelmed with appreciation that I get to parent these little lovelies.  It's a responsibility that I pray I never take for granted.

Our journeys are marked with ebbs and flows.  My journey of motherhood has taught me that I cannot do it on my own.  I am forever grateful that He will never leave me or forsake me and that He places people (other mothers, friends, and family) in my path to encourage me and pick me up when I'm having a hard time finding the joy in my journey.  My prayer is that I would intentionally encourage those who are struggling in their journey and rejoice with those who are filled with joy.

Wherever you are along your journey, I pray that you find joy today, that you celebrate your blessings, and that the Lord is near.  Happy Mother's Day.

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