Monday, January 20, 2014


The other night, as I lay sleepless on my disheveled bed, finally giving in to the fact that rest would not be coming soon, I envisioned a conversation I may have once had with God. It went something like this:

God: "Now, you are certain you want to be a mother some day and that you are up to the task?"

Me: "Oh yes, there is nothing I want more! I know it won't be easy, but I can do it."

God: "You are right, my child. It won't be easy, and I must tell you, it requires great moral strength. There are attributes you must work hard to develop."

Me: "Oh, I will work so hard. Just tell me what they are, and I am sure I can do it!"

God: "It will require love. More love than you can imagine. Can you love from deep within your soul?"

Me: "Love? Absolutely! I can definitely love. Love will not be a problem, Father. You see, I love my children already and I don't even know them yet. I can definitely love!"

God: "Very good. How about patience? You will need to have a lot of patience to be a mother."

Me: "Patience will not be easy, but I will work hard at that, and yes, I can be patient. I may not be perfect at it, but I can learn to be patient. After all, when you love someone with all your heart, it is easier to show them patience."

God: "OK. Let me tell you, mothers must be selfless. Your time will no longer be yours. These children  will require you give up much of yourself--your time, your talents, your wants and even your needs--to take care of them. Are you willing to do that?"

Me: I pause for a moment, then reply, "Yes, Father. I am willing. I can see these children will teach me much and make me better. I am ready to be selfless."

God: "Can you be forgiving? You will need to be forgiving."

Me: "Wow, this list is getting long. Well, I think I can do that, too. I mean, how bad can children be? How much could I possibly need to forgive?" (I think I hear a chuckle from God at this point).

Me: "So? Am I ready? Do you think I have what it takes to be a good mother?"

God: "Well, you will need a good sense of humor; you will need resilience; you will need tolerance."

Me: "Got it. Ok. And . . . Not easy, but I can work on that one."

God: "There is one more thing I must mention."

Me: "Anything. What is it? I'm sure I can do it. Just tell me what it is."

God: "Bravery."

Me: "What???"

God: "Mothers must be very brave. You see, you will be raising children with bright spirits and strong personalities. They have amazing potential, but they will challenge you. They will be living on earth at a time when there is much good but also much evil, and you must be strong enough to teach your children what is right though it may be unpopular to the world, to stand by your family's principles and standards, even when your dear children may be angry at you for it. You must be able to handle hurtful words such as, "I hate you!" "You're the worst mother in the whole world!" "I wish I was never born to this family!" and "You're the meanest mom ever!" even when you have been giving your best effort to motherhood. You see, my child, parenthood is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage and bravery like nothing else in the whole world. So I'm asking you, are you brave?"

Me: I feel the bile rise in my throat as I choke back tears and consider carefully what I have just been told. I don't know everything about myself yet, but I know enough to think long and hard about that word brave. And I begin to wonder if I really can do it. Bravery wasn't something I had considered when I thought about becoming a mother someday. But why not? Of course I would need to be brave! It makes so much sense now! Finally, I think of my children, take a deep breath and reply, "Yes, I will be brave."

God: He smiles a knowing smile and says, "Although it won't be easy, although you will be stretched and pulled and twisted in unimaginable ways, let me share a secret with you: motherhood will also bring you more joy than you could ever imagine. It will be totally worth it, so don't forget to soak up the little things and to take joy in the journey. And remember, you are not alone. I will help you. Now go--and be brave!"

Although I'm pretty sure a conversation like this probably never really happened, I can't help but wish  someone at some time would have told me I would need to be brave to be a mother. I think it's the one attribute about motherhood I never anticipated needing, and it's the one attribute I need most lately. I mean, motherhood takes fearlessness and outright courage!

It takes courage to get out of bed in the morning, knowing you have a grueling day ahead. It takes courage to potty train! It takes courage to work day in and day out with a child with a disability. It takes courage to say no. It takes courage to be consistent. It takes courage to establish rules and follow through with them. It takes courage to expect and demand modesty. It takes courage to take away electronic devices when your children are not keeping their contracts. It takes courage every single day!

Motherhood is not for wimps! And some days I feel like a wimp. Some days I do not feel up to the task. Some days I do not feel brave enough. But you know what? I have to be. I don't have to be perfect and I don't have to be SuperMom, but I do have to be brave. I have to be brave enough to not quit, to never give up, even when I feel like I am failing. I have to be brave enough to keep praying and keep trying and keep having faith that positive change is just around the next bend.

The dictionary defines brave as "valiant, fearless, lionhearted, ready to face and endure danger or pain."  I can't think of traits a mother needs more than those at times! When used as a verb, brave is also defined as "enduring or facing unpleasant conditions or behavior without showing fear." How I need to do that!

I think lately I have been what Webster would probably define as a coward. I have been the opposite of brave when it comes to motherhood. I have not been enduring unpleasant conditions without showing fear, nor have I been valiant and fearless. The daily grind has gotten to me a bit, and I have become quite discouraged. I think, little by little, I have laid down my much-needed armor--a shield of faith, a helmet of courage, a breastplate of lionheartedness (pretty sure that's not a word, but you get the picture)--and have just allowed my courage to dissipate. The good news is, that brave woman is still somewhere deep inside of me. I just need to find her again.

So, for anyone else who seems to lose courage at times, here is a call to arms. Find your faith again. Pick up your sword of valor. We as mothers can do this! It is not easy, but our children need mothers who are valiant and heroic and bold and intrepid. Mothers who love fearlessly with all our hearts, who forgive and show patience and empathy, who laugh and teach by example, who are consistent and caring. And most of all, they need mothers who are . . .



Taffy and Tony said...

I love this! We absolutely have to be brave, and sometimes it is SO hard! Thanks for your insight. I love your blog posts, and really feel like I will be using your blog as a mothering reference book, of sorts, looking back through it from time to time to find just the idea, the inspiration, or the peace that I need. Thank you.