I do not know what I expected Motherhood to feel like. I suppose some combination of delight mixed with fierce commitment and some hard work on the side. Strangely, it has both exceeded AND not met my expectations. On the one hand, the overwhelming feelings of love are so powerful they make sacrifice feel easy on certain days. Yet at the exact same time, there are so many mundane, ordinary moments that almost make the whole thing seem meaningless. Even describing motherhood is a paradox. On the one hand, profound and life changing; on the other, as common as emptying the dishwasher and folding laundry for the 1000th time. How do you accurately describe a role containing that much contrast?
As I began launching children, reflection became part of the process for my accepting change. I frequently went back to old memories- wondering how they shaped my children, if I handled them well and what the greater purpose might have been? As I now have a senior in college (what?!?!) I notice a theme emerging through these past few years of reflection,
Hold On and Let Go.
Hold on to the beautiful picture of sacrificial love that Motherhood paints,
Let go of expectations of love being reciprocated in the exact way you pictured.
Hold on to God’s truth as a guiding force in parenting,
Let go of opinions about the best/right/ideal parenting.
Hold on to small spontaneous moments of peace and tenderness and connection,
Let go of forced or prescript-ed plans that aren’t working.
Hold on to grace that forgives and love that confronts,
Let go of avoiding conflict and keeping a record of offenses.
Hold on to sacred moments with God and you alone,
Let go of “me time” and personal space.
Hold on to seeing and believing the best in your children,
Let go of rose colored glasses that dismiss real behavior or issues.
Hold on to protecting your children from real harm,
Let go of protecting your children from productive pain.
Hold on to joy produced in the middle of messes,
Let go of stress that comes with a perfectly together home.
Hold on to learning about yourself in motherhood,
Let go of trying to prove yourself through motherhood.
I pray as the Lord continues my journey through raising my last teenager and launching her into the world (and me into the empty nest!) He will continue to show me the way holding on and letting go are part of His plan. He let go of Heaven to come here and then let go of life itself to die for me. And in that He will now never let go of me. And I am always able to hold on to Him.