I remember a time filled with turmoil.
But let me back up. My mothering career began as a sweet and sunny place. When Lincoln was born, my first baby, I was full of faith and expectation. We had just moved to the USA and had received a house to live in, completely free of charge, for the season we were serving in that city. I so enjoyed having my own home. I had previously been living in community, sharing a one bedroom apartment with four other girls, (which I loved but was character building to say the least). This was a delightful change and I nested the nest out of that little house!
I was reading lots of books and had scriptures on my wall that I prayed regularly, preparing me for what was to come. This was my next adventure and I couldn’t wait!
After Lincoln came, being a mom felt so natural. It was hard, absolutely! But in so many ways I felt like THIS was what I was made to do.
When Jaslen came along, my second child, it was a completely different atmosphere. The ministry team we had been working with had shifted dramatically and we were in the proverbial Deep End in a big, racially divided city, without the leadership we really needed. My husband's parents had separated, which had come as a real shock to us and our marriage, and caused us to ask questions of ourselves and each other.
In my head, Jaslen was meant to be a boy and I had prayed and planned very specifically for this little boy who turned out to be a girl. I was delighted of course, but it took me weeks to get my head around it. It didn’t help that I’d had a “Baby Boy” shower and all the clothes and toys and everything ‘baby’ in our house was blue!
Life with two was SOOOO different. When it was just Lincoln I had easily been able to go to staff meetings, church trainings and outreaches. He would eat anything and sleep anywhere (and I was proud of that!) But hauling a baby and a toddler around was a whole different can of crazy! And yet, I was still trying to do everything. I was stressed out and overwhelmed, frustrated with myself. I felt like a failure if I just stayed at home but I felt like a burden if I came out and tried to be a part of anything.
I didn’t want to change my life but my life had changed.
Jaslen got Pneumonia when she was still just a little baby. It had been a cold winter and we had been out and about far too much. She spent 4 days in hospital while they aggressively ran tests. I was in shock! I was so afraid and so wracked with guilt. How could I have let this happen to my little girl?!
Over the following weeks I cried out to the Lord. I surrendered my life to Him again.
As I re-postured myself before Him, something shifted dramatically in my heart. I saw, in a new way, the sacred nature of my role as a mother. I had understood that it was important and I had always taken my responsibility very seriously, but now I had received heavens lens on my life. This was not just a season. This was not just one of the things I did. This was who God had called me to be.
And so, in the same way that that I had pursued my calling into missions and given up a good job and moved away from my family and then across the world, in the same way that I had completed training and put myself around people that had spiritual authority, men and women I wanted to be like, in the same way that I had prayed and cried out to the Lord to use me to build His kingdom…
In that same way I needed to pursue my calling as a mom.
I needed to read books and make plans. I needed to get around other moms who had skill and experience and understood the value of what they were doing. I needed to think through my life and what it would require of me to be excellent at this. I needed to cry out to the Lord on behalf of my children and my family that His Kingdom would come and His will would be done in MY home as it is in heaven.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
Notice that the word ‘hearing' is used twice in that verse? You need to hear from Jesus to receive faith and that faith comes from Hearing from Jesus.
Nothing replaces studying the written word of God and listening to Him speak. I knew (and still work to know) who I’m called to be because I heard it from my Father.
When I was able to embrace this I had a new grace and a new joy that was, well… supernatural! No, the crazy did not disappear. Yes, I was still sleep deprived, and I still had a strong-willed toddler. I still felt frustrated and left out because I wasn’t able to be a part of the ‘real work’. Those things never completely went away. I still have to wrestle through my place in a very real way ten years later and in every season.
But that moment of encounter with the Lord dramatically shifted my view of motherhood. We all need those moments with the Lord.
So let’s do that now…
Can you remember how you felt when you discovered you were pregnant for real, for the first time? Or, if your children have been born of your heart, not your body, what was it like when you were in those final stages before welcoming them into your home? Describe that feeling in as much detail as you can remember. (The delight, the fear, all of it!)
What was the Lord speaking to you in that season? (This can be though friends or in general circumstances, as well as specific prophetic words and prayer journaling. For Example: He may have been speaking to you about your identity or a financial issue that had nothing to do with having a baby but looking back you can see how He was preparing you.)
Are there things, whether practical/ logistical or desires/expectations that you have for yourself that perhaps feel like they don’t line up with the calling God has placed on your life as a mother? (This may be only for the season that your children are small.) Write down what area’s of frustration or tension come to mind.
Get out a recent picture of your child/children. When you look at their little faces, what are the first thoughts and feelings that come to mind? (It’s ok if they’re difficult or sad feelings. Just take a minute to name all that comes to the surface as you consider your life.)
At this point we want to invite you to go through the Immanuel Journaling process to ask the Lord for His perspective for you in this current season of motherhood. As Romans 10:17 says, we believe that it is when we Listen to Him that our perspective on our lives shifts into alignment with what He sees.
You can find the process for Immanuel Journaling here
To connect with the Immanuel Journaling community, lead by amazing former podcast guest Sungshim Loppnow and her husband, check out their facebook page.
You can purchase the book, The Joyful Journey, here