My sweet friend Katherine is one of the spiritual midwives in my life. Her compassionate heart, her intelligence and thoughtfulness, and the way she abides in Jesus have made her an invaluable mentor and dear friend. (And it was a trip to the park with her and her two precious girls that convinced me that surviving two under two would probably be worth it.) Read on to learn how the Lord has used and continues to use motherhood to sanctify, bless, and call her into deeper relationship with himself.
My journey into motherhood is both plain and extraordinary; common, and yet miraculous. Nothing about my story is reality-TV worthy. I feel, on the one hand, like I have very little to share in this blog post because my journey isn’t sensational or unbelievable. And yet, at the same time, I could never adequately give an account of all that God has shown me since the day we decided to start trying to get pregnant. There’s just too much to say, for it is truly a wonder that God Himself creates life out of nothing and entrusts children to our care. This parenting thing is an everyday miracle. So common, yet so extraordinary.
We never met the baby who made us parents. We lost our first baby to miscarriage at 6 weeks. The months to follow began with agonizing over when we would get pregnant again. As time went on, I felt the ripping away of expectations for how and when our family would begin to grow. I struggled to accept the truth that God had not promised me children. I wept at the possibility that He might not give me what I wanted. I was bitter that He had given me a long-awaited child, and then taken that child away. And, I was angry that I had to wait and see whether He would give us another child. One we could hold in our arms and watch grow.
And it was in the waiting that I saw God. It was in the uncertainty of when or if another baby would come along that I learned that God was after something bigger, something deeper in my heart. It was in the waiting that God secured in my heart the truth that He is enough. That He is leading our family. That He will provide all I need to face the unknown future, and that it would be okay. I would be okay, whether I had a baby or not. This wasn’t true contentment – I still wanted that baby with a fierce passion. But, it was acceptance. Trust. Faith. The conviction that I was being called to task: what would I base my happiness on? It mattered how I reacted to this loss. This was the time when what I believed actually showed itself. Did I believe truly that God would sustain us, even without children, and that someday, He would heal our broken hearts? I did believe it, and I entered in. Surrendered. Trusting. Still longing, still weeping, but with confidence in the God who makes all things new.
That is how my journey to motherhood began, but it only the beginning. It is not the only thing there is to say. Six years ago, we had our entrance into parenthood; the first taste of grief surrounding one of our children, of worry and waiting and wondering how God would shape our family’s future. This was only the first opportunity we had to trust that God was leading our family.
We did get pregnant again, and never again felt grief or emptiness when looking at an ultrasound picture. Though our next pregnancy was, in part, marked by worry and anxiety that something would go wrong, it was also marked with deep joy and gratitude for the gift we had been given. And, with each passing week, the truths God has secured in my heart during the waiting bore fruit and sustained me through worry. The work God had done in my spirit carried me to the day when we met our sweet Sophia Susan. We took such delight in our little baby girl. Such a gift. Such a joy. And then, only a year and a half later, we welcomed another baby girl, Anastasia Justine. Another easy pregnancy. A quick labor and delivery. Two years filled with joyous births, plenty of anticipation, celebration and thanksgiving for the good gifts God had given. Seeing God provide the very thing I had asked for. Two healthy girls. A new life as a stay-at-home mom. So much to be grateful for. So many opportunities to worry or fear, yet so many chances to see God’s faithfulness at work.
And God is at work. Leading our little family through the daily work of parenting preschoolers: through the mundane, the boring, the simple. He is there during tantrums (the girls’ and mine!); He is there in the spilled milk and the squabbles between sisters, and He is there in the puddle-jumping and afternoons in the park. We are, day-in and day-out, living a very simple life together, one that doesn’t appear very glamorous and isn’t wrought with trial. There is nothing sensational or seemingly blog-worthy about the stage of the journey we are in. No one will write a book about my daily life.
And I’m okay with that. Because, God leads. He pours out His mercy. He astounds me every day with the beauty and wonder of parenting. He shows up all over this little house. And, it is in the looking back that I see how He is providing just as many opportunities for trust and surrender in these simple days as he did in those days of mourning and intense longing. He leads me, and my girls, each day, into greater trust, truer faith and deeper reliance on His mercy. When I was struggling to trust Him with the future of our family, God wanted my heart. And, now, when I am struggling to find energy to keep up with my girls or searching for the right approach to discipline, or trying to keep some semblance of order in this house, God is still after my heart. The character of God is revealed in all the seasons of our life. At each turn, God is providing opportunities for my sanctification.
Motherhood – both the preparing for it and the living it – has taught me that God is working out my sanctification in all of these moments, in all seasons of life. The big ones and the small ones. The glamorous and the boring.
He led me through my grief and sorrow just as He now leads me through the wiping of noses, the washing of dishes and the running of errands. When weeks go by with very little to report other than riding bikes, practicing letters and numbers and building with blocks, there is a holy work happening. He is just as near to me when I need self-control and patience when kids wake up too early or won’t eat anything healthy all day as he was when I lost my first baby in miscarriage. And, I don’t need Him any less in the day-to-day raising of these two small people than I did in those moments of intense sadness.
My daughters are God’s means of grace to me. The shaping of their lives and the cultivating of their faith is my spiritual act of worship. And it is his daily grace that sustains me. He leads. And I am learning to follow.
** Katherine and her husband Geoffrey are parents to two sweet daughters, Sophia and Anastasia. After 10 years of working with college students, Katherine now spends her days looking at butterflies and blowing bubbles with a rambunctious toddler and ever-curious preschooler. She enjoys reading, good talks, and laughing. She is in desperate need of grace – and a good nap.