Guest post by Megan Kimmelshue
We are three kids in three years in and I’ll be honest. So many times I wake up in the morning and say, “I do not want to do this. God, help me do this.” All I really want is to lay in bed and read with a cup of coffee. But my five week old is rooting for milk and my twin toddlers are screaming in their room, “I’m awake! Mommm! I’m awake!” I steel myself for the day and silently cry out, “God, help me do this.”
During this intense time, I’ve had a sense of peace from knowing that God is a much better mother than I am or will ever be, and that he is not only mothering ME, but he’s helping me mother these little humans every second of the day.
So often the patience, forgiveness, and tenderness that my deep heart longs to show my children is nowhere to be found and an angry imposter stands in my place. And sometimes, the fear of the future world and what they may find themselves up against cripples me with anxiety. I stare at my little humans and my thoughts wander. What will the world be like, when they’re adults? How can I protect them? We sit around the dining room table and my heart silently breaks for the pain that they will no doubt experience in life.
We weep – God and I, together – for the vulnerability of my children and the pain of children everywhere. I wonder, how can He stand it? His love for us so fierce, so devoted, but He knows that we will, all of us, experience some kind of heartache, suffering, brokenness and despair. He knows we will make really terrible decisions that merit uncomfortable consequences…he knows our secret weaknesses, our selfishness, our ulterior motives. And I know He knows, and we gather our broods close under our wings and mother together. It is a tender exchange, fraught with pain and heartache and beauty and wonder.
Motherhood as a mirror
Even more so than marriage, motherhood has been a close up mirror of my heart – you know, the closer-up-than-close mirrors that shows me things I’ve never seen before. It’s so easy to hide my weaknesses when I’m alone, when no one needs me.
Yet Jesus is, as Brennan Manning puts it, “relentlessly tender” with me and oh, how I need that tenderness as we brave these waters of the little years and the hormonal fluctuations of the postpartum months and sleep deprivation. I need to be nurtured, to have a safe place to cry my tears of frustration or those tears of I don’t know why I’m crying but I am. To stay with me while I tantrum, ranting and raving over little things that are hardly of any consequence but that mean something to me at that moment.
I see this same need in the hearts of my three year olds. Oh, how hard the life of a preschooler! They are at the height of asserting their independence, their brains are wiring and learning and their emotions are still on a runaway roller coaster. So often I laugh and think, “God, is this what I’m like?” and I believe he laughs with me, too. “Yes, sometimes,” He’d say. But even in their moments of pure crazy, I want them to know:
- I am pleased with them in their good moments and their bad moments.
- I love them despite their weaknesses.
- I want to delight in and encourage their strengths.
- I want them to dream dreams and have adventures.
- I want them to enjoy the beauty of Life.
- I want them to think of and help others.
- I want them to learn how to love in a healthy way.
- I want them to feel safe in my presence.
- I want them to know that I will be here for them, no matter what.
God as Mother
And God, even in my pure crazy, wants me to know:
- He is pleased with me on my good days and my bad days.
- He loves me despite my weaknesses.
- He delights in and encourages my strengths.
- He wants me to dream dreams and have adventures.
- He wants me to enjoy the beauty of Life.
- He wants me to think of and help others.
- He wants me to learn how to love in a healthy way.
- He wants me to feel safe in his presence.
- He wants me to know that He is here for me, no matter what.
My desire of God has changed as a mother. My view of God has changed as a mother. I relish His maternal qualities, his Motherheart, because in it I find comfort for my own soul and I find the strength I need to continue loving, teaching, and connecting with my children. The things I want my children to experience and remember: Warmth. Comfort. Safety. Assurance. Acceptance. Delight in Beauty. Justice. These are the things I hear God whispering to my soul in the rare stillness of the day or in the cacophony of playtime and the dull but sacred mundane of the household rhythm.
This softening of my own heart and experience of God’s love in a completely new dimension is perhaps the most beautiful mystery of motherhood and something I hope to remember far beyond these years of diapers and laundry and baby giggles and loud tantrums and sweet snuggles. Even on those mornings I dread getting out of bed, I’m reminded at some point throughout the day what a beautiful gift from God these years are, and that He is mothering right along side me.
About the author: Megan is a free-spirited mama to three under three and lives in the heart of Portland, Oregon. She loves good coffee, colorful rooms, a weekend brunch done right and has a soft spot for the beauty and quirkiness of the upper left USA. Marriage and motherhood is her greatest challenge and biggest adventure! Read more at the Boho Mama.
Also in the Motherheart of God series:
Exploring the Motherheart of God — “In Sunday school they taught us about God our Father and—if we were lucky—perhaps about Jesus our Brother. In youth group we learned about Jesus our Best Friend and in college and careers group we were taught about Jesus our Husband (or perhaps Lover, if you were a dude and ‘Husband’ felt awkward). But no one ever taught me about God our Mother. I had to learn that one on my own, and it wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I really started to learn that God is not just fathering me, he’s mothering me, too. . . The language of mothering helps me to embrace the sort of tender, gracious God that wants to gather me close and hide me under her wings.” continue reading>>>