Thirteen years ago, this son of ours made us parents.
I was completely clueless as to the immense joy and pain that accompanied the little bundle in my arms. I had felt the changes beginning as his heart beat away so beautifully in that secret place...before he was born. But the day he was born...the moment he was born...something new was born in me too. And something else began to die.
As I carried him in my womb, life was overwhelmingly, nearly completely about me.
How I was feeling.
How my body was changing.
The things I wanted to obtain for my dream of having this new baby.
Of course I thought about him, and dreamed about him, and loved him desperately. I wrote him letters, talked to him, and played him songs. I changed my diet to better nourish him, exercised, slept more, and made all my prenatal visits. I also loved his daddy, my husband. But to be truly honest, I must see and say that my life revolved mostly around myself.
"Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control." 1 Timothy 2:15
Miraculously, marvelously, with thanksgiving, I am saved from eternal death by faith in Jesus. So what is up with this verse in 1 Timothy? While I think this verse points to a couple of things, I believe one of these truths is that through mothering, we are saved from ourselves. Please don't stop reading if you've never experienced childbirth...
Mothering is amazing and full of unspeakable joy. It is also hard. Crazy hard. It requires every last bit of strength you have, along with the realization that no matter how strong you are, it is not enough. Supernatural strength required here. This is what I mean when I say that when my son was born, I began to die. I had to admit to failure. I could not do this on my own. I couldn't even do it with the help of other people, even though that help is welcome and necessary. Bottom line: I had to begin to let go of the self-preserving hindrances that keep me from desiring to give of my life for others' good.
In His wisdom and mercy, God has used motherhood to gradually give me desire to live for the good of others. So, in His wisdom and mercy, He has also used motherhood to kill my selfishness. This paradox of dying to live is a repeating theme, isn't it? I may as well disclose right now, that my selfishness is not yet dead. Oh it's dead spiritually...as far as the east is from the west...ever since the day that is emblazoned on my heart and mind...when I realized God wanted me....and I said "yes." But those sinful habits, they run deep, and this dying process is slow. Yet I see victories, and I love Him so much for working those in me.
I am so grateful that He gave me this little-guy-turned-young-man for helping to teach me these things. Unknowingly, by his very presence and needs, my son works alongside His Creator to teach me that life and death are so intricately related. Indeed we must die...to live. This is true in so many ways. This is the truth that creation is screaming over and over and over. I want to hear this. I need to hear this, over and over and over.
All of our children work with the Creator to teach this to us all. All of our children--whether born of our own body, or from another. Whether living in our homes under our care, or in our lives by some other means. Biological child, adopted child, grandchild, niece or nephew, neighbor child, Sunday School student child....they are all screaming this over and over and over. We must die a little, bend a knee, and bend an ear to hear it. Not all screaming is loud, you know. But if we are women we were made to mother, in one way or another. We must hear this message, so that we may live.
Happy 13th Birthday, "Wise Bobcat." We couldn't be more proud of the young man you've become.