One of the fun things about being married is sharing friends. Josh spent a few months at a school in Colorado before we started dating, and he met quite a few wonderful people. One of these people is Katie, and though I’ve never met her she encourages me from a distance.
She and Josh have been “Facebook friends” for a while and every now and then he’d read me one of her posts — eventually I decided I’d give a friend request a shot and see if I could read her posts for myself. For some reason, she accepted (thanks Katie!).
Katie has two sweet kids, a boy and a girl, and another baby girl on the way. Her middle daughter was born with bilateral club feet as well as Shprintzen-Goldberg syndrome, which is a rare disorder that I’ll let you read more about by clicking on it’s name.
While every mother faces her share of challenges, Katie has had some unique and especially trying ones. With that in mind, I’d love for you to read one of her recent posts; I’ve copied it below, and I pray you’ll be encouraged and inspired.
“I have a dream. In that dream there are sweet little children gathered about me. I look rested, smiling and happy. My hair is neat and my outfit is Instagram-worthy. My kids are smiling too as they gather around, looking up lovingly at me. In that dream my husband is proud of me, and his eyes and smile show it.
But in my reality, I look worn out, tired, and maybe even a little overwhelmed. My unwashed hair has dried syrup and vomit in it; my outfit consists of my husband’s t-shirt and oversized sweatpants that need to be washed two days ago. My little ones are gathered about me, but instead of smiling lovingly at me, they are pulling my hair and begging for more juice. My husband is in the background; he is home from a hard day of work and would love a home-cooked meal, complete with a beaming wife and quiet children. But instead, I beg him in between g-tube feeds and cleaning up my two year old’s poo from the couch to please order in pizza. Of course he does, and never complains.
Motherhood is the dream but the reality is so far from perfect.
I am far from perfect. My kids are far from perfect. All the preparation in the world couldn’t prepare me for even one day as a mom. Because the needs of little children go beyond just providing food and clothing, education, good experiences and lasting memories: they are souls – spiritual beings, whose hearts need shepherding and souls feeding. And I, along with my husband, are responsible before God to do this well.
This is the part you can perhaps prepare for.
Because nothing can prepare you for the need to be alert, joyful and available to little children and a husband while running on three hours of sleep. Nothing can really prepare you for the sacrifice of 9 months of pregnancy and 3 days of labor. Nothing can prepare you for doing it all over again the next year. And then the year after that. Nothing can prepare you for the day you look at yourself in the mirror, but can no longer recognize the person staring back at you. Nothing can prepare you for the intense love, the incredible joy, the shudder of tears that overtake your whole body when you stare at your precious little ones sleeping. The love is real, it’s deep, it’s raw and it hurts. I wasn’t prepared.
But I did prepare for this one thing: the knowledge that I can do nothing without a living, breathing, real relationship with God. I can’t lead my children in the right way unless I am being led in the right way. If I am to do more than just clothe, feed and maybe even successfully avoid a few tantrums, I need to be hearing from Someone greater than my own emotions and desires. Because they are many!
I need Someone who can comfort and direct me when I feel exhaustion, frustration and even anger at this beautiful, messy thing called motherhood. The kind of relationship that offers mercy and grace when I feel like a failure and need to start again fresh. I need Him to let me know when to be silent, when to speak. When to send them to their rooms and when to just gather them in my arms with kisses. When to say no and when to say yes. When to hold my ground and when to let it go. I never thought I would be so dependent upon God on a daily basis for even the most mundane decisions. He teaches me as I go. When I don’t know what to do, or what to say, His voice speaks to me. When I feel lost, unable to handle what the dream is bringing, His spirit can lead me in that very moment. I can talk to Him and He can talk to me. We have had many, many late night conversations, just me and my Lord.
When the dream has brought disappointment and failure, HE never has, not even once. I cling to this relationship, so grateful the God I knew in the days of my dreaming, is the God of my reality. He is the dream come true. He always has been.”