The Heart of a Mother

I just want to start off by saying that I understand that not everyone has or had a good relationship with their mother. Maybe your mother has been absent from most of your life or just here recently. I just want to offer a sincere apology for any pain you may have endured or you are currently experiencing. This post was written based on my experiences with my mom and raising my two kids.

Kind. Thoughtful. Strong. Tender. Compassionate. Sensitive. Provider. Selfless. Attentive. Leader. Protector. Loving. Forgiving. Steadfast. Nurturer. Friend. Disciplined. Fun. Tough. Flexible. Multi-taster. Dedicated. Determined. Fierce.

A mom. So much depth in one little 3 letter word. I used to tell people I was “just a mom” but then God convicted me of that because it felt like I was belittling the worth of a mother. First of all, moms deserve recognition for all they do. So with Mother’s Day approaching, I wanted to give a big ol’ shout out to all the mothers out there. It doesn’t matter if it’s your biological kids, step kids, grandchildren, or maybe your a role model and provider to the kids around you. Your pretty amazing so don’t forget it.

Where do you begin to describe what it takes to be a mom? Being a mom is one of my greatest blessings. I have loved my journey in motherhood. But let’s be honest, it is hard. Extremely hard at times. It is one of the toughest jobs I have had, but it is also one of the most rewarding. It is filled with blessings and trials, laughter and tears, moments you want to cherish forever and those you want to forget. It is raw and unfiltered, drawing attention to some of our unpleasant traits. Every once in awhile we get those little nuggets of joy and pride when we see that we did something right, and maybe we haven’t screwed up our kids as bad as we once thought. It truly is a roller coaster of intense emotions, highs and lows. The strength it takes to balance the roles that come with motherhood is immeasurable. I’m a hot mess most days and without the help of God through it all, I just can’t imagine where I would be.

To those who have small children, we see you. The weight of raising small children, keeping up with household chores, and working a part or full time job can and will just about break you some days. It’s just challenging, physically and mentally. You can go from beaming with pride when they take their first steps or learning something new, to sitting in the bathroom floor, alone, with tears flowing down your cheeks. You inwardly beg for just 5 minutes of peace. Please know God sees your tears. He sees your overwhelmed heart. Give it to him and let him help you with raising your children. He loves you and he chose you to be their mom. I know you hear it time and time again, it’s just a season and it will pass. It may not seem like it now as you are dragging your feet across the sticky floor to pick up the 100th toy of the day, but one day you will miss it. Cherish every moment. The good and the bad. The time will come in the blink of an eye and you will look around you, and your babes will be mini adults and instead of toys, you will be picking at dirty clothes sprawled out on the floor. Time slows down for no one. We spend so much time wishing for the day to pass, and for them to get a little more independent. Then one day, you start to realize they do and you find yourself in a different season and the words “Mom, I need you” become a lot less spoken.

Ready or not, I am in that season and to be honest, some days the tears can leak out when I let my mind wander to the early years. I think how did we get here so fast? It was just yesterday that I was rocking them to sleep . My heart can shift from being excited of seeing what God has in store for them as they are entering adulthood, to a feeling of loneliness when they start to spread their wings and take flight. Even though there are parts that are hard in this phase we are in, there is also a lot of good times with my kids that brings joy to my heart.

Have you ever really thought of your position as a mom? You bring them into the world, you nurture and love them to the moon and back. You guide, counsel and teach them. You protect them as much as you can. You pour every ounce of energy into them so they can have healthy and happy lives. You sacrifice daily and put their needs before your own. Your mission and focus is to raise Christ followers, hard working, compassionate, honest, and kind people in this world. We give so much to this goal and then when it starts to become a reality, it can knock you back on your butt. When they no longer need you, and can start taking care of themselves and their responsibilities, your heart is happy, but also sad. We held on so tightly for all those years, only to come to a point where we now have to release our grips, one finger at a time and pray we did enough. When they hit the teenage years, schedules become busier, so you try to keep the communication lines open. I love time spent with my kiddos and just talking about their day. When you get to engage in conversation at this age, it’s like a booster shot for your heart. I have found that you have to be careful to not ask too many questions, because if your kids are like mine ,the walls come up. As they get older, they feel a need to defend their space and privacy. I was the same way, I get it. If they only knew, it’s in those sweet moments that our time together becomes a glue to keep my heart from shattering, as we too are trying to adapt to the role we now play. We have to learn to evolve in our relationship with our children as the are becoming young adults. When to speak up, when to stay quiet. When to offer guidance, and when to let the consequences come. Lysa Terkeurst said years ago, “Let the consequences scream, so you don’t have too.” It left an impression with me and I have applied it several times when I found myself in certain situations. No matter how old our kids may be, we will always worry about them. We will always love them and do our best to be there for them. It is good to remind yourself that the same God who gave you these kids, also gave his life on the cross for them. As much as we love them, he loves them so much more.

As I reflect on how I have struggled with my emotions in this new season, it brings to mind my relationship with God. His heart must hurt when I don’t spend time with him. How he must sat there shaking his head when I am determined to do something in my own way instead of waiting on him. He knows it won’t end well, but he loves me enough to let me go my own way in hopes that lessons will be learned. Though I have failed him so many times, he remains steadfast in his love for me. It is God’s love for me, that models how to turn around and love my children. Constant. Unwavering. Boldly. Fiercely. Unconditionally.

I pray you know how much you are loved and appreciated. May you be reminded of that this Mother’s Day weekend. Whatever season of motherhood you are in, cherish it.

Happy Mother’s Day,

Hayley W

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