Thursday, February 2, 2017 – I read a lot. Books, articles, things on the internet. Every now and then something passes by that I can relate to so fully that I immediately feel compelled to share with ya’ll! Today my friend Kelley O’Connor shared the following on Facebook. Kelley is an amazing mom whose two daughters are amazing moms as well. Kelly doesn’t live near either of her two daughter’s families, yet she manages to be part of their lives all the time. I admire that. I’ll read things posted by folks I admire. This was one of them.
There is an old Indian proverb: Children tie the feet of their mother.
And if you are a mom, you might know this to be true.
The slowing down starts with your swollen belly, duck-waddle walk, sleep deprivation from peeing in the middle of the night every hour and a half like clockwork and things like heartburn, shortness of breath, and calves that seem to have swallowed ankles whole.
It continues with a labor and delivery that rarely goes as planned. And no matter how that baby comes into this world, it leaves a warrior’s mark on your body. You will be a woman who hunkered down, who pushed through, who thought she couldn’t, who with much pain and sacrifice (and maybe even collar-grasping and screaming into your husband’s ear) brought life into this world. And when they lay that fresh-skinned baby on your chest for the first time, you will never be the same.
Mom. Warrior. Sacrifice-Maker. Nourisher. Boo-boo kisser. Taxi-car driver. Expert snuggler. Storybook reader. Silly-song singer.
That baby will wrap himself around your heart and your legs, and you will never be the same.
You will answer baby cries at all hours of the night. You will read up on how to get a baby to sleep through the night, and just about the time you think you’ve got it figured out, they will have a growth spurt or drop a nap, and everything you thought you knew will go out the window.
Your arms will develop car seat muscles. Your perfume will be baby spit-up, and your shoulders will seem to always be covered in a mix of snot and drool.
Your life will revolve around things like feeding, pooping, and napping. You may have a moment where you cry because all you want in life is a shower.
No matter how much you have desired to be a mom, it will grate against your independence and your pride. You will at some point feel like a failure. You will at some point long to have something in your life that you feel like you are good at or an expert on.
Children tie the feet of their mother.
That child will grow older and faster. You will find yourself saying things you never thought would pass your lips in your lifetime: things like, “We don’t strip down naked at the park,” “Please, don’t wipe your boogers on your sister,” or “Ew! Don’t lick the dog back.”
You will delight in their distinct personality and cringe at their defiance. You may also want to hide behind the Coca-Cola display when your child goes all flailing arms and legs and screaming on the floor of the grocery store. When you watch your toddler rip the plastic shovel from his playmate’s hands and yell, “Mine!,” you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt, we didn’t learn our sin nature; we were born with it.
You will discipline and mold and shape. You will wonder if you are doing it all wrong.
Your days will move slowly–either at work counting the hours till you can get home to your babies or at home counting the hours till your husband comes home to help you. You will pick up toys only to pick them up again a few hours later. You will know how painful it is to step on a Lego or a miniature stegosaurus. You may have days where you feel like all you do is clean up messes.
Children tie the feet of their mother.
And then there are those moments when you are making your way towards the McDonald’s drive-thru because your day just seems to need an easy button. In that feeling of guilt for not making the pb&j on whole wheat bread, the apple slices and the carrot sticks, your 4 year old glances up at the big blue sky as though he’s seeing it for the first time and asks, “Is that where Jesus lives, Mommy?”
If you don’t live slow enough, tied-up enough in the wonder of those small years you could almost miss it.
In that moment.
And you tell your little one how Jesus lives in your heart when you ask Him to. And maybe, without missing a beat, your baby will stop and pray, “Jesus. I want you to live in my heart.” And just like that, in the midst of your mundane, God invades that moment, and it is Holy.
I know a man in the Bible who walked with a limp.
Jacob—whose name meant one who fights for his own way—wrestled God one night. God touched his thigh and changed his name. With a limp, Jacob became Israel—God Prevails. Because the only way to live like God prevails is to lean on Him.
Children might tie your feet. You may have to make more sacrifices of your time and your dreams and your way than you thought possible. You may feel inadequate, not-good-enough, like you yell too much and you don’t keep the house clean enough.
You might feel like you limp as a mother.
But that is the place God prevails.
Lean, Momma. Lean on Him at the hospital when confusion clamors, and it’s not going how you envisioned. Lean on Him when that baby is up all hours of the night. Lean on Him when your toddler has peed on the floor for the fifth time in one day. Lean on Him when your little one is screaming because he’s shoved a Tic-Tac up his nose. Lean on Him when you discover things like rashes or ticks or high fevers. Lean.
You might feel tied up, but you are wrapped up in the abundance of God’s Grace.
And that place of spills and kisses? It’s Holy ground.
If I could say one thing to the young momma behind me: Your feet are tied up for a reason.
The years are precious and fleeting and littered with the gifts of His grace. Let those babies tie you up with their chubby arms around your neck. Know that your kids don’t need you to be perfect, and they don’t actually need Pinterest-inspired anything.
And, Momma, it’s okay if you limp.
Because if you are leaning on Jesus, your kids don’t see your limp; they see Jesus walking with you.