Motherhood was a role I dreamed I’d fill with ease and confidence. I was told I would – the oldest of 9 children, a babysitter since I was 11 – I heard it over and over, what a great mother I would be some day. Of course there would be struggles, I reasoned, but my children and I would grow and learn from them, and rise from the dust stronger and more beautiful.
I imagined myself waking before dawn, hitting the pavement for a run, and then returning home to shower, and be fresh and bright-eyed waiting for them with a hot breakfast ready, and their happy mama sitting at the table reading Psalms and sipping tea. We would work together to keep our home a neat and peaceful place, and spend our days walking a balance of invigorating activity, creativity, and imaginative play.
I did not imagine rolling out of bed a half hour after my children, and wearing the same shirt and sweater I’ve used to wipe a snotty nose at least a dozen times for two days straight. I did not imagine forgetting to brush my teeth until 11am – go for a run and shower. Psh! I did not imagine allllll the messes, or how hard it is to go anywhere with a toddler and a baby – now two rambunctious boys! I did not imagine how difficult it would be to persuade an adopted child to participate in family activities.
I didn’t ever once imagine all the emotional anxiety of caring for a child you didn’t birth. I certainly didn’t imagine getting sick, and feeling physically unwell for over a year. I didn’t imagine not being able to get out of bed, or crying for hours without stopping.
Here I am. 25. 3 kids. No idea what I am doing.
Yet, I do have these three beautiful beings looking to me for their safety, security, and love.
I am thoughtfully considering how to improve the quality of my mothering, while also releasing unrealistic expectations, and embracing something far different than I imagined, but no less beautiful.
And there is my Father, faithful no matter how I fail.
“Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow, great is Thy faithfulness”
I wanted to share these words with these pictures, for a particular reason.
I know I am not alone in my inadequacy, uncertainty, or anxiety over mothering my children. I know I am not alone when I say I long to be better.
I know I am also not alone when I say I love my children fiercely, and am daily thankful for all three of them. They are gifts. I treasure them as such.
These pictures were taken the first day sunshine returned after eleven days of rain. We basked in the sunshine, and it felt like a literal kiss from heaven. No matter my weakness, no matter my strength, He is good. I will treasure these silly selfie pictures forever because I knew myself in my humanity in those moments, and yet I also knew (as much as I humanely can) the entirety of the Father’s delight in me.
“Mother your children with all your might – yes, and even with all your flaws and all your sins. And in the obedience of this faith, magnify the glory of his grace and do not grow weary in doing good.”
– Gloria Furman