The Wonder Years
“Truthfully, part of me felt like a failure and wondered why I wasn’t one of those women who could raise six kids and homeschool all of them and serve milk and cookies every afternoon in some clever way like all the Pinterest do.”
Sparkly Green Earrings- Melanie Shankle
I remember as young as nine years old having a keen sense for being good with kids. You better believe young moms in our church caught on to this quickly, and often they asked if I wanted to come over and play. Looking back, I now realize that was code for, “Can you please keep them occupied so I can GET A BREAK AND GET STUFF DONE?” But hey, I didn’t mind. I truly loved being around kids and often felt this was my calling. So, when the time came for the blessing of my own two children to raise, I felt more than ready to answer the call to MOTHERHOOD.
After several negative tests, my hope to cure my non-stop nausea for over a month was beginning to worry me. As I sat in the doctor’s office for the second time in one month, I couldn’t handle another negative result. My soapbox spill that it just had to be something else started the moment the nurse walked me back to my room. But, they made me endure that unsightly gown once again. As my bare feet hit the cold floor, and the doctor warned her entrance with a knock…my emotions became rigid. Positive.
There isn’t a shade of white from Lowe’s that could describe the color on my husband’s face the moment we found out we were having twins. To be fair, I’m not sure if it was the doctor saying that we were expecting twins that caused him to go pale, or the doctor’s suggestion shortly thereafter that there might just be a third child hiding out somewhere. It clearly made sense to me since the only thing I could stomach at the time was a Kit-Kat bar. Friends, if people tell you your children cannot survive in the womb on bread and sweets alone… listen, it’s a goal to be healthy your whole pregnancy, but at 19 weeks my twins’ heartbeats were growing on Chips-a-Hoy CHEWY chocolate chip cookies. They’ve been extra since the beginning.
I walked out of that doctor’s office that day feeling more than proud. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I would be the best mom East Texas had ever seen.
-I WILL BREASTFEED.
-I’ll be emotionally stable because I LOVE children.
-I’ve always DREAMED about being a stay at home mom.
-I won’t lose control because I have faith that God has granted me these two blessings, and I won’t take it for granted.
OH, ALISSA. You had NO clue. You’ll definitely need an intervention. But, for now, hold on tight. You’re in for a wild ride.
My to do list of greatness fell apart the moment they were born. What I thought would be an easy transition of loving my children, only brought out the ugly hidden parts of me. I felt suffocated with each day trapped in my home with no adult conversation. I realized I was more than blessed to be at home with my two little healthy babies. They were growing strong and meeting all their milestones and that ALONE should have been enough to quiet my mind and unwanted thoughts. Honestly, there should be no argument to that…but I realized that self-control, a hot cup of coffee that didn’t have to be warmed up 20 times, and a creative outlet to keep my brain busy brought me great comfort. I tried so hard to hold it all together, but I can tell you I lost count of the times tears flowed endlessly while I washed bottles for the millionth time.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield,
my heart trust in Him and I am helped.”
I memorized this verse the first year of their lives. These words, most days and still to this day, were all I could whisper as a prayer to keep God present in my heart. I had to push through Satan’s nonsense, and he was quite loud to a girl who was living on no sleep. Each day felt like a marathon and the recovery wasn’t easy. I wanted to be that poster mama for having it all together…but that just wasn’t in God’s plan for me. It’s easy to allow Him to take the driver’s seat to my own life, but my children…that feels like a car seat not checked thoroughly before putting the car in drive.
What I thought I could control was a way for God to lead me to a sweet surrender. I had to take action, and in the end as long as I looked to Him, I’ve done all I can do as a mother.
“Unless the Lord builds a house, it’s builders labor over it in vain…” Psalms 127:1
With every situation that didn’t go as planned, I was just like a stubborn toddler throwing an epic fit on the floor. In these times of overflowing anxiety and depression, God granted me the view of the significant sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. It isn’t just about our sins that nailed Him there, but the comfort it brings to us when we feel all hope is lost. Jesus knew what is was like to lose every battle and still have to get back up again. Isn’t that motherhood? God has been too kind to choose this as a vessel to chisel the inner struggles of insecurity and doubt I’ve held onto for years. He’s gifted me not only with the blessing of two beautiful children, but a front row seat to a faith I might have never known without this rocky ride of their first three years. We have raised formula fed, jar baby food (not organic…gasp!), grilled cheese loving babies! I’m currently wondering if my children will EVER be fully potty trained, and you better believe I have declared “Jesus take the Wheel” by Carrie Underwood the theme song to our life.
I’ve still got a lot to learn. But, one thing is for sure. His grace is greater when we raise our voice in frustration. His grace is greater when you slave over homemade food just for them to spit it right back out at you. Breathe, mama. His grace is greater when we fail time and time again. We have to choose to trust Him with everything, even in the wonder years.