This is a series of posts geared toward mothers, women who know mothers, or women who will ever consider becoming one.Women who are unsure if they are called to be mothers but are contemplating that next stage of life.Women who are feeling massive reservations and hesitations with having children.Women who maybe are deep and satisfied into their church or career or life, but wonder if children will take away from it.Women who judge mothers but aren't mothers (like I was) or maybe even for mothers who judge.Women who maybe are Type A, career oriented, education focused, and goal driven.Women who are "yes" people - always volunteering, always signing up, always serving.They may not feel like they fit entirely in the traditional femininity box.They were raised to be independent or at least ended up that way.They are skeptical of the changes that may come.Because they are happy with the way life is right now.Maybe they are looking for direction or affirmation.But not finding it anywhere.That was me then.So I'm sharing me now.
I didn't grow up dreaming about being a mom. After four years of marriage and my twenties behind me, becoming a mother still didn't resonate. In fact, I wondered if I would ever be ready or at least acquire that desire for children so many women seemed to innately have. Starting a family was like this far off decision that I would never actually have to face.
I guess its the same principle that governs the way eternity sometimes feels although in the same way, that feeling contrasts the reality of it: its coming for you whether you are ready or not and the decisions you make today will write the reality you live many years from now.
One day in the very distant future I just assumed I would be a mother but not today, or tomorrow either, and then all of the sudden I realized my now dictates my 20 years from now. As a procrastinator the thought that this wasn't something I could continue delaying was paralyzing. Career goals, ministry goals, friend goals, marriage goals, and community goals were part of my every move but child goals had somehow eluded me. 10 years of my adult life had been devoted to higher education and learning how to medically care for people. I was experiencing great fulfillment through serving in my church and community. For the first time in my life I was developing friendships with women founded in faith that I had wanted so desperately before. Every day was spent enjoying life by my best friend and husband. I had worked for this point in life, laboring and persevering for so many years. Finally I wasn’t bound by the constraints of a pressing job, an overloaded class schedule, and a student-paycheck. I could do it all on my timeline. Nothing had me strapped. Sacrifice was at my discretion and comfortable, not on demand and relentless as it would become. So without further adieu let me just tell you I was just fine and happy exactly how and where and with who I was. I didn't have or feel a lack. I felt complete. The life I had envisioned was my reality. So why would I want to mess that up?
The pressure to start a family was rising. Thinking of throwing a child into the mix was daunting to say the least. Having a child was a life-changer, so I heard, so how would I know if it was right and best for me? How would I know, given my personality and passions, that God wanted me to be a mother? I wondered did not "knowing" I was called to motherhood disqualify me? Was that God's hint that motherhood wasn't something I should pursue? Would I totally mess up my life and more importantly mess up God's calling in my life if I did pursue it? Being the girl who didn't fit exactly into that traditional femininity box left me a little confused. But I soon learned (through a small group study) that box was a misleading, inaccurate illusion.
I feared more than anything becoming self-absorbed into my little family and my little world, absolving my commitment to Kingdom work at the altar of my commitment to mother work (as if they were vastly different). I feared not being available to pour out to others in the same capacity. There was so much hurt and need just in my sphere, how could I pursue something that could take me away from those people? I had seen it happen so many times before and didn't want to become that woman (hello inexperienced, judgmental, pre-baby me!). My fear was constructed with good intentions but that didn't make the fear any less intimidating. What it did do is make me more reliant on God. I had to trust him with my good intentioned fear. I was going to move ahead with a good-intentioned heart. I didn't want to disappoint God. I wanted my life to be for him. Paralyzed to make the wrong decision, I wanted to put it off at least another few years. Slowly but surely having a child became a decision based on the distant future rather than a decision based on a present desire. It became a decision based on trusting God. Sometimes our largest blessings and callings are born out of areas of our highest resistance and greatest fears.
King Abimelech knew what it felt like to move forward with a well-intentioned heart and make the wrong decision. Yet, he experienced God's mercy and grace because of his good intentions coupled with God's character. After taking Abraham's wife while under the impression it was his sister, he dreamed he was a dead man and realized Sarah was not his sister. He then pleaded with the Lord, "Lord, will you kill an innocent people? Did he not himself say, 'She is my sister,' and she herself said, 'He is my brother?' In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this (ESV)." And God's response? "I know your intentions were pure, that's why I kept you from sinning against me (MSG)" (Genesis 20:4-6).
King Abimelech moved forward with pure intentions without any known sin in his decision. God saw that and protected him from sinning because of it. Our intentions matter. God sees our intentions. And because we serve a merciful, graceful, just God, when our intentions are pure we can trust him moving forward in our decisions that do not knowingly sin.
Sometimes, however, our intentions are sinful. How do we know? Peter provides an example as he tells Simon "Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven" (Acts 8:22). Simon was trying to use God to make him money. Peter recognized this and told him to repent so that the intention of his heart could be forgiven. Intentions matter. If we are using God to try and acquire something or someone, our intentions are wrong. As James 4:3 reminds us, " When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong intentions, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."
Are we asking with right intentions wanting God's glory above all else? Or are we asking with wrong intentions to get what we want?
The way I knew I could move forward, despite my fear of making the wrong decision, was knowing my heart's intention was good, knowing there was no sin in this decision, and knowing I wanted God's glory about all else. God sees our heart's intentions and he honors those. Often I think we get paralyzed in fear that we will make the wrong decision or won't make the decision that pleases God the most thus somehow veer off the pathway of his perfect will for our lives forever. But our decisions should not be rooted in fear if we are pursuing the Lord. Even so, his providence is greater than our good-intentioned mistakes. God graciously often gives us a fork in the road, without either way being the wrong decision but instead leaving it up to us to choose. Because he tells us in Isaiah 42:8 that he will not yield his glory to another, we can move forward in confidence and trust. I wasn't going to suddenly get a 'feeling' of assurance, instead I had to trust in God's assuring truths.When we have eyes focused on him, a mind that trusts him, and a heart intentioned for him and his glory, we can move past our indecision based in fear and forward through our decision based in faith.
Next several Motherhood posts/topics:
- When Fear met Reality
- How Motherhood has Humbled Me
- What a Mom Needs in a Friend
- A Refined Calling through Motherhood
- The Truth about Motherhood, Childlessness, and Singleness
- Biblical Female Protection not Repression
- Looking for the Answers/Be that Needed New Mom Shepherd
- maybe more.....