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“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” -Osho
And so we arrive at motherhood. We must nurture this new life being born in us while also caring for that of our newborn babies. The task is absolutely marvelous, miraculous, and at times, feels like bordering on insanity. This has been true of my journey– of seeing Christ born in me in a new way, in this new person that I was becoming, am becoming, as “mother”; a woman in some ways the same, but in other ways, drastically different than who I was before.
I was suddenly faced, in the early days of my motherhood, with the unwanted burden of reconciling the many facets of who I was, while striving to become who I wanted to be. I was caught somewhere in the middle in a sudden, unexpected new mother- identity- crisis.
The process of demolition began in my heart. I sat for some time, amidst what felt like many pieces of shattered and jagged glass–some pieces leafed in gold, other pieces rough and unappealing– as I submitted, daily, sometimes hour by hour, to God, and often paused to notice the way he was putting these pieces of me back together into a new tapestry. God seemed to be holding each piece of me up to his light and asking “Now where shall this piece go?” as I acknowledged each jagged tile, wondering how on earth it would all fit together– how the ugly parts would be used as part of the beautiful whole. Like a new basilica which would be built piece by piece, this new mosaic resembled me but was sometimes not a “me” I recognized at all. I was undergoing a reconstruction of the heart and soul that could only be described as Christ being born in me in a new way. I came to understand that these were the growing pains my daughter would also feel, the ones I, as God’s daughter, was experiencing.
Wrestling with these unexpected feelings, I found the grace within to see myself anew, and like a new baby, which clutches to its mother for moment by moment sustenance, warmth, comfort, and security–so vulnerable to the elements, symbiotic for survival–that is how I found myself before God: needy, clinging, desperate.
Two years of this building later, holding my second large needy baby in my arms, who would grow rapidly, soon picking up language and the ability to walk, I was continuing to learn, anew, what it was like to walk hand in hand with the great comforter who was my father, who was also mothering me by sheltering me in his love through all of my vulnerabilities. God was raising me up in this new role and life– entrusting me to raise my own helpless and precious babies.
Motherhood, for me, has been startling, wild, scary, and sacred– and continues to be. In committing to be the best mother I can be, I am faced with the reality of needing to become closer to Jesus, without whom my mothering comes up seriously short, and without whom I am but shattered glass. What’s more, I realize that in learning and knowing my daughter, and now my son, I am continually given new opportunities to become who it is that God has created me to be. I have been given this holy opportunity to know myself and to know my father more intimately, while growing with my kids. All of the pieces continue to come together into the stained glass that is motherhood.