Now let’s get one thing clear right from the start…! I am one of those high recognition, be up the front, out there, extraverted, strong women. I became a mother at 21 years old (by choice!) to a beautiful daughter. By the time I was 26, I was a mother of three children. I have no older sisters, and didn’t know many people who had had children before when I became a mother….I didn’t even know how to change a disposable nappy! But I valued motherhood. My mother (who has had 6 children) instilled in all of us that the greatest vocation for us girls was to be a mother….a dream I have had all my life. When I became a mother, I did not realise what I had to ‘give up’. I was working with my husband in the church, singing and organising many youth events. My husband and I have a special heart for telling young people the gospel message and passionately went about this call. The first thing I noticed about becoming a mother was that my husband continued to sing at church, but now I didn’t. I had to hold Bethany. Then I noticed all the meetings and work he still did, but I didn’t….my role had changed. With my recognition needs I realised I was faced with a decision…..embrace motherhood in all its fullness, or resent it. Do or die. Throw myself into it, or be overcome by it.
No one is lying, motherhood can be tough. It is self sacrificing, challenges every fibre of your being and ultimately you die to your own desires every day. I decided there was no way I was going to hold little precious, unrepeatable Bethany responsible for my lack of self confidence, or unresolved issues that I may have had, so I decided to embrace this new calling. Fully embrace it. Not just say it, or think it, but let go of my life as it once was. Let go of the things I found glory in and find the GLORY in being a mother. In loving her, in being fully present to her. Thanks to my mother who gave me this strong value, I threw my passion and gifts into motherhood…I think I spent the first year of Bethany’s life sitting on the floor playing with her! There was a song that we often played during that time and the words were “I’ll be content to serve an audience of One, it’s what I’ve been created for since the world began…” I needed to embrace this. I was much more comfortable with the audience of many – at work, or on stage, applauding me and patting me on the back for the good job I was doing and that people could clearly see.
In motherhood, sometimes, it’s only God who is our audience.
Some days it feels like I am not ‘achieving’ anything by the world’s standard, some days it seems like I am not achieving anything at all… but I know that I will never ever affect a thousand people the way I will affect my children. No matter how many times I stand on stage or run events, I will never affect those people as profoundly as I will my own children. This was the first of many lessons I learned through motherhood.
It has been over 19 years since becoming a mother. I have learned more about life, love, God, faith, suffering and joy through motherhood then any other ‘job’ I could and have ever done. As my children grow, there is a temptation when our children begin school to ‘finish up’ motherhood. ‘I’ve done my thing, they are all off to school’ and ‘they don’t need me as much’. My experience? This is the time the REAL work begins. Time to mentor, to be available emotionally, to teach, to again sit on the floor and spend time ‘playing’, talking and hanging out. Time to guide my children to become the best person they can be.
When working with young people there are so many I talk to that don’t even consider motherhood as something to aspire to. How sad. Motherhood is not for the faint hearted. It is for those who want to seize life and challenge themselves to put others first. It is for those who aspire to be saints.
“ For our light and momentary troubles (that would be the labour, the crying, the nappies, the messy house etc etc) are achieving for us an eternal GLORY (that ultimately is the eternal soul that is our child or children!) that far outweighs them all.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17.