The Pain of Mothering

Who ever said that birthing a baby was the hard part?

Those who don’t understand haven’t given birth, or else they are of the male gender.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying an adoptive mother can’t love as deeply as a birth mother. But birthing a baby is physical pain.

It’s graduation season, and those babies are taking flight. Even though the moms prepared them, yet when the day finally came it was like a slap in the face.

A job, college, or the high calling of the military moves them from our daily lives.

There’s the rub.

A good mother sacrifices much to help the flight process as the child grows, but the letting go…is another thing.

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You feed them, diaper them, read them nighttime stories and the next thing you know you are teaching them to walk, to ride bikes, and to read.

Suddenly the day comes…you kick them from the nest?

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We don’t have to be quite so radical about it.

But some need more of a push than others, and why? Are we clinging to them, or do they fear going out there? Can we let go with confidence and encouragement?

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I’m not talking here about another kind of sorrow when a child goes away in anger and never returns. I won’t talk about that here, though I know women who go through this pain.

I’ve had a long process of my six children leaving the nest. Right now they are all living within an hour away. In the last six months I learned one of my children and her family is moving…far.

Let’s just say far across the Mississippi River.

Some of you know I live in Upstate New York. That alone is far enough from the Mississippi River.

I’ve had to keep this information secret for a long time. Even secret from some of the Grands, and wondered if any of my other children knew yet. It was hard, and I woke up nights and couldn’t sleep. I haven’t wanted to think about it, talk about it, or even admit it was going to happen…and the tears…

Did I for a second think that God would not go with them?

Did I think they had to be near me so I could still have some kind of control?

It wasn’t about that at all. I’m not about control.

It’s all about the missing.

It’s missing all those family times we are so used to. Of watching the Grands at baseball and ballet, basketball in the church gym, and sharing Christmas and birthdays. It’s even about the Grands reading to Grandma instead of the other way around.

This is the real pain of childbirth! This is the hard letting go.

I share this sadness, it is not mine alone. Except for a brief few years of my son away at college, this is a more final move. I can’t drive there in a day or two. I can’t babysit for the day, or a week, or when a child is sick.

But what I find the hardest of all is there will be complete strangers who will become their friends and share life with them that I will be missing.

All my life I’ve known parents that have children in all parts of the world. Some parents hold fast to hope in God that a son or daughter will come home from the military one day. I know this, and I felt very fortunate.

But for sure, this is the pain of motherhood and it is a long and hard process. You never stop being a mother once you’re a grandmother.

And the good news is God has it all under control. Now if I can just release…

 

 

 

 

 

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Are We Present…or Longing for_____Something?

Last weekend I went to a women’s conference to (what is now called), Summit University.

Bible College was a lot of years ago. We got married after my husband’s first year and I worked and eventually got my degree, fondly called PHT (Put Hubby Through).  My husband also worked nearly full time while going to school. There weren’t many date nights, just long days of school and long nights of work…but we made it!

I hadn’t been back in years, so I took some down time to walk around the pond on the campus.

Along the path were new bronze plaques mounted on glass, and on each one showed the days of creation.

I had to reach out and touch the smooth–rough texture of each one. Each had a verse from Genesis and Revelation.  Since the sun was glaring on glass, I couldn’t photograph most of the verses. Here are a couple of examples:

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I thought about all the dreams we had as a young couple and wondered about our future. Over the years, the hard times that brought some good with a lot of pain. There were some years when pain was all I could see, and wondered what was the purpose. Since it was thrust upon us, it was a path we had to take. At backward glance it shows me that sometimes I dwelled too much on the longing for certain dreams in the future. Maybe it was my escape from the daily normal life.

You know…someday I want to….

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cattails all played out

 

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God separating the water from the sky

I love the quote by Jim Elliott—Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living.

It’s interesting that this should be a quote by Jim, because he didn’t live a long life.  His life was cut short…unexpectedly.

But when he lived, he really lived!

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God made the sun, moon and stars

 

Those illusive dreams that we hope for can turn us bitter if they are unfulfilled.  If we think God is our special genie and bows to our dreams, then we have made God small and insignificant.  We have become big in our own eyes, and instead of his follower, we are a manipulator.  Instead of loving others, we seek to control, possibly every part of our lives, and others.  Yes, others.

 

 

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Growing plants

 

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God speaks with mankind

I wanted my life organized and planned—I wanted to have a long trip out West by the time we had our 25th anniversary. It didn’t happen, in fact, we had six children and grew them, and put braces on every one of their smiling faces.
And now I don’t regret those days of scrimping for braces money! Or (every) summer vacation at Summit Lake.

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We had our 40th anniversary a few years ago and my husband and I went to Colorado. We spent a week climbing in the Collegiate Mountains.  It was a place on my list of things to do. But how much more fun it was to share with my brother and his wife.

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How long are God’s days? He created the world in six days. Were they 24-hour days like ours? One of God’s days is like a thousand of ours, but does that even matter?

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Trees bowing
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Holes are like blindspots
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Thistles in our lives
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What is sticking to our life?

Why did he tell us the creation event one day at a time?  He could have lumped it all together in one verse…God created everything. He could have created everything with one word…in one moment.

But no…I think as a creator he took time to enjoy each step of the creating process. He anticipated the next step, as a painter works with the background, and builds onto his paining.

How indescribable is the expanse of the earth, the heavens, and the created mankind!  And he said he was pleased.

Then the Creator rested…

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Last night I made a phone call to a woman who had recently lost a baby.  I longed to hug her, after all, I had been there.  I understood her pain and her hormonal mess. Let me be an encouragement, not another burden.

Yesterday I had spent the morning rearranging my bookshelf and came across a book a fellow writer had written on miscarriage. I had set it aside, not knowing that in the evening I would be talking to this young woman. It wasn’t my plan for yesterday, but it was God’s plan.

Today I put that book in the mail.

Let’s slow up and not hurry.  Enjoy the day…one at a time.

 Be in the present.

Seek the pleasure God has made this moment…this day.

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Reaching to God

 

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”  Matthew 6:34 MSG