[To read Parts I through IV, Click Here]
My “baby” sister recently experienced a heartbreaking end to her engagement. She’s 8 years younger and the most adored gem of our family. When it happened, I felt a surge of love and protection well within me that mixed with memories of my own broken hearts. All of that poured out into a letter that I posted here on my blog.
In writing that letter, I was reminded of the fact that the perfect God of the universe is in perfect control. That certainly doesn’t negate my agency to choose my destiny, but it provides me with an added measure of assurance that He will not steer me wrong. There is joy in knowing that God is in control. I was also reminded that there is joy to be found in the path I’m currently on. All too often, I find myself dreaming about what I want to happen next, or even what I wish the path were like today. And while yes, we must plan and prepare and hope for the future, we must not miss the experience of today.
As I looked forward to speaking in Yuma, I began praying for the women there–praying to know what God needed them to hear. And when I am waiting for an answer from God, I pay special attention to the situations, conversations, and lessons that pop up around me. I look to see what He places in my path. And a message that reoccurred time and time again in the weeks that led up to the conference was this: We can (and must) find joy in womanhood, and especially in motherhood.
At first, I wondered how I, a single woman and mother of no children, could testify, with strength and understanding, of this principle. But after thinking about it (a lot), I came to realize that I am actually perfectly suited for this task. Please know that I am certain motherhood is hard. I realize that it is not all peaches and cream. Sometimes I’m grateful I can give crying babies back to their mothers. But most (all) of the time, there is nothing I ache for more.
To those of you who wish you were “doing something” with your degrees or lives, I’d like to tell you that, as someone who has earned the positions and the promotions, who has earned a dollar or two for her day’s work, who has received awards and praise and pats on the back for a job well done, who has a resume that could get me almost any position in any marketing firm in the country … I would trade every dollar, every award, every pat on the back, every promotion, and every business suit to wipe up a puddle of spilled milk, to wash off spaghetti faces, to find a crayola mural on the freshly painted wall, or to rock a crying baby back to sleep at 2 a.m. Because with all the spills, the messes, the tears, and the sleeplessness, a mother also gets all the kisses (no matter how slobbery they may be), first steps, afternoons baking cookies, Christmas mornings, and sleeping little ones with all their sweetness cradled in her arms.
I hope that those of you who are blessed with children realize what you have. I hope you don’t forget the joy it is to be a mother. I hope that when you finish reading this that you’ll go scoop your babies up and smooch them, and squish them, and love on ‘em. I hope you can find your smile when the temper tantrum happens in the middle of the store. I hope you’ll take a picture when your 4-year-old sticks an entire sheet of stamps to the car window (I did that to my parents). I hope you can laugh when your teenager uses dish soap in the dishwasher and it fills the entire kitchen with a 4-foot wall of bubbles (I did that too). I hope you enjoy those moments! Enjoy what you’re a part of. You are mothers! And you are blessed.
To those of you like me, who don’t have children yet, I hope you will realize (and remember) the divinity that lies within you. I hope you will cultivate a mother’s heart and look forward to the day when you can bear and rear children. I know that there is no greater calling than to be a mother.
And to all of you ladies, I hope that you will ever find the joy that comes from being a woman–a daughter of God. Your worth in the eyes of heaven is beyond comprehension. I plead that you will let that understanding work in you and settle into your soul. And never let the world tell you otherwise.