Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Mother's Day Story

I was busy cutting veggies and arranging trays of fruit when my life was on the verge of forever being disrupted; my perspective about to be significantly challenged; and God was preparing my heart for a love that was unlike any other I’d previously known.

My family was coming over for dinner that evening. It was Saturday. Since my family and my husband’s family live near us, we try to spend holidays with both families when we can. This particular year, Saturday night was to be spent with my family, and Sunday, the actual holiday, would be spent with his.

It was an exciting time for me. Nearing my due date, I was full of both joyous anticipation and, to be perfectly honest, unspoken terror. [Ok…well, mostly unspoken. I spoke of it to some…to the few who would endure my irrational panic.] The news that our first child was on the way was a delightful and frightening surprise for me. Although, my husband and I had discussed the possibility of children, our conclusion had always been: we are SO not ready.

My biggest “not ready” complaint? The process. Yes. The fear of the unknown was enough intimidation to quench any ambition of mothering a child in the near future. Maybe I would be ready someday when I was older and braver, I reasoned. [Because, naturally, I would just become more courageous with age, right...?] But in this instance, unfortunately for my ambitions, the scenario was worse than unknown. I had vague ideas of what carrying and delivering a baby might be like. My imagination, fueled by what little I did know, was even scarier than simply not knowing. I just couldn’t bring myself to intentionally put my body in a situation where it would be required to endure the agony I so vividly envisioned in my mind. But, thankfully, I’m not so in control as I might like to think.

I remember telling a co-worker the afternoon before I took a pregnancy test that we would want to wait at least 3 more years. [What did I think would change in 3 years? Why 3 years? I don’t know. I just remember offering that number after she asked when we planned to start having children.] I took the test assuming I would alleviate my suspicion…not really giving much thought to the remaining option that I may actually prove my inkling true.

The odd thing to me, now looking back, is that my concern was not so much that we did not have the space…which we did not, by the cultural standards. Nor was I too concerned that we would struggle financially, especially if I quit work and stayed home with the baby, like we wanted to do…and we definitely faced financial challenges. Nope. My big worry was short term, self-centered, and simple; I did not want the pain.

Ironically, I have since delivered 3 children naturally. Amazing that she who is one of the whiniest, wimpiest people I know, actually did it…3x! We also still live in the same home…now with not just one child, but three. AND have made it on one modest income since the day we felt convicted by the Lord to trust Him and I quit my job [forfeiting over half our income…] to stay home with my baby. He has never once failed to meet our needs, and at times, we have just been so in awe at the ways He has chosen to provide for us.

So, on that Saturday, not knowing what the future held…and not wanting to think too much about it, I prepared and hosted dinner for my Mother and the rest of my family, all the while feeling, but trying desperately to ignore, my contractions as they grew stronger. By the time the last guest walked out our front door, I had to sit down and finally tell my husband, “I think I might be in labor.”

The contractions were not very close together yet. I took a shower and finished gathering items for the hospital. We called and headed out. I labored all night, walking up and down the halls of the hospital…while my husband slept on a bench nearby. I envied him.

I was so young, and unprepared, and afraid, but with my husband [finally awake] and my own Mother by my side, I welcomed our first child into the world – on Mother’s Day. And by the strength and grace that God provided, I endured the dreaded pain.

I have to say that the experience was empowering, in a way. I had no idea I was strong enough to go through that. I truly believed at one point that I was quite possibly going to die. [I was nowhere near death; I’m just a dramatic big baby – although in my defense, I was in a heap of hurtin’ this time.] But all of it…the pregnancy, the labor, the birth – the learning to mother a baby…it all made me realize that I was stronger than I expected myself to be. And that the Lord was able to carry me through what appeared to be insurmountable obstacles, with surprisingly little effort. [Hello?!? – a baby should NOT be able to fit through that space!!! – That’s just weird! AND…how in the world does a woman’s abdomen, first of all, stretch out that far…and secondly, ever return to any sort of normalcy…it’s ridiculous. I’m impressed. Nice work, God.]

One of my sweetest first memories with our son was either the first or second day we were home with him. I was sitting in our recliner holding him while he slept. And I suddenly was just overwhelmed with love for him. I started to cry. [See, I told you before, I’m a crier.] And the Lord spoke to my heart, “I love you. I love my Son, and I allowed and chose for Him to endure great pain for you.” I could not imagine allowing anything painful to happen to my son. I looked down at his leg. [My son had been accidentally significantly burned by hospital staff while being prepped for his PKU. This is another story altogether.] I felt his pain with him. I was so angry that this had happened…I would have never allowed it.

I can’t say that I am completely over my fear of pain, although, I think I have a new perspective. I realize that I can endure more pain than I think I am able to. I realize that pain can produce something wonderful and miraculous. I realize that love required my Savior to endure more suffering than I will likely ever come near to facing, so I might not be held captive to sin and death.

         “Who for the joy set before Him endure the cross…”
                                                                 Hebrews 12

He endured it "for the joy set before Him".  I only endured because there was no other option.  If I had a choice, mid-labor, to continue "for the joy set before me", I may very likely have decided I actually didn't want a baby that bad.  [At that point I didn't even understand the joy that I was about to experience - or how intense my labor would become.]  Yet, there was no other way...that baby was going to come out somehow...and it would be painful. But, unlike me. Jesus endured His suffering willingly, knowing both the cost and the reward, for the joy of loving us...for the joy of pleasing the Father. 

I’m thankful my Mother endured pain to deliver me.

I feel blessed to be given the opportunity to endure the pain necessary to deliver my 3 children.

I am overwhelmed that God would endure pain to deliver us.

That Sunday was a very special Mother’s Day for me; it was my very first; my son was born; my Mother was by my side. It was just special. And my life has since been certainly altered, my thoughts completely refocused, and my heart has been invaded by that tiny, beautiful creature I had endured such pain to meet. I am so glad for it all. I’m thankful for the lessons I am learning. I’m thankful for each day I am given to love and be loved by the children God has placed in our care. What a privilege and honor. Happy Mother’s Day!

My sweet things.


  1. Beautiful, Heather. It really is amazing that we can endure so much for our children. I also found it amazing that we thought (and I also told a co-worker the day before) that we wanted to wait 5 years before we thought about kids. God's plans are so different and so much more awesome than ours. What a wonderful way to remember Mothers Day! :)

  2. "That was a very special Mother's Day indeed!"

    (She said, remembering how awesomely special it was from my perspective.)


  3. Yes, Bee! We did have 3 1/2 years before we had our first. It was nice to have that time together, but I'm glad things happened the way they did. Thank you! Happy Mother's day to you too. ;)


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