…says no one, ever. I was talking with my BF Leanne about how sometimes God just serves you humble pie, and lots of it. We had a good laugh over it, just how crazy life can be and how it’s good to gain perspective. I was so thankful to chat with her about this as I was working on this post, because this topic is heavy. I don’t want to weigh you down; I want to share life with you and laugh, like she and I were able to do together. (Although, very often we find things funny that aren’t to others… :)
There are a couple of slices I’d like to share with you–just ways the Lord has encouraged my heart down this road, even though at first it was hard to take–and the first is through motherhood.
Perspective In Motherhood.
Near the end of her life, I was caring for my mom, holding her and taking care of her needs, things I never imagined myself doing, and she looked up at me one day and said, “How did you learn how to nurture like this?” At the time, I said, “From you.” But afterwards, when I was journaling in Natalie’s baby book, I realized I was able to do what I did because I’m a mom now myself. I found myself calling her “honey” at times, or holding her just how I hold Livvy… The Lord gave me my own babies to help prepare me to take care of my own mom in her last days, and it’s something I will always be grateful to Him, and them, for. What a gift. This was the first time last year that I tangibly realized there was light in the shadow of death, and this was one beam I was amazed and overjoyed to see.
This is weird, but I always thought it might be easier to go through grief without having kids; I had thought about it since she was first diagnosed, and we were newly married. And when the end came, I feared how I was going to handle everything and not neglect my family. Natalie was only three months old, and I was still feeding her frequently; Liv was 23 months. Amazingly, instead of feeling burdened by taking care of my mom, my girls, and family that came to town, I was able to function and love on who I needed to love on, by the grace of God. And they took care of me too, by God’s grace, whether they realize it or not. My husband, dear friends, and family stepped in and helped me care for my kids so I could be with mom. Provisions were given abundantly in many forms (banana bread on the stoop; flowers in a teacup; a laugh when I thought I couldn’t) and they will always mean something to my heart. They must be acknowledged and remembered, because they made some of the hardest days bearable. My tree of love will always have “Joy + sorrow” etched in its bark.
Besides this, I’ve gained a huge appreciation for what Moms do… Awe, maybe? My mom was still mothering me until the very end, in ways only a mom can do. She mothered me from the beginning, scooping me up and adopting me and accepting me and loving me for 29 years. She encouraged me to be a good mom to my girls; she held me when I’d care for her, and kept saying “thank you,” even when she couldn’t speak very well; she would look so content when I was in the room with her. Only moms can do these things–and it’s not perfection, not even close. It’s just… love. She told me once that when her mom died, the only thing she grieved was that she felt like she never had a mom. This made me so sad. I’m humbled, and grateful, to say I grieve for different reasons.
Humble Pie: Being given up by your biological mom–losing the only mom you’ve ever known and feeling a little orphaned again–being a mom yourself.
Sweet Truths Revealed: Being able to relate to your mom by becoming a mom…
Realizing God’s grace and love is what enables us to love when it gets tough and ugly and difficult…
God provides in our lowest times in ways we will never expect, but should look forward to. He is faithful.
Be thankful for who you’ve had in your life; God always knew it was just for that time. Even though they’re gone, He is not nor will ever be, and is right beside you, if you trust in Him.
“Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully.” Phillips Brooks.