Motherhood is not glamorous. Am I right, moms? But somehow, before we were mothers, we all pictured motherhood, especially pregnancy and the “new baby” stage, as just totally warm and fuzzy. And while snuggling that new baby does bring on a good dose of the warm fuzzies, the new baby also brings on a good sized dose of reality. (Was it just me, ladies?) After going through all of those new mommy transitions, all I can say is, Wow, was I misinformed! (On a particularly rough day not too long after becoming a family of four, when I was frazzled beyond my wits, my mother just looked at me and said, to quote an old friend, “Welcome to your dream come true!”) Don’t get me wrong, motherhood is so rewarding, and there’s nothing like a mother’s love for her children. Still, motherhood is one of the biggest reality checks a woman can have.
When I became a mother, I heard myself begin to say things like, “let me smell your bottom,” and “come here so I can pick that booger out of your nose,” or, every mother’s nightmare “don’t touch your poop!” Gross. Or how about “Don’t put stickers down your pants!” Things I never imagined I would be saying in those pre-motherhood days. As unpleasant as I sometimes find these types of situations, I find that my children find them even more offensive. Nothing can whip my children into a fury like a good nose wipe or diaper change. I often wonder, why are YOU the one crying here. I should be the one crying! I’m the one having to deal with the boogers and the poop! Clearly the logical portion of my children’s brains have not yet fully developed. Would you prefer, dear children, that I leave the boogers there? The poop? Surely that cannot be comfortable.
I think God must sometimes (in my case, often) look down at us in the mire of our sin and brokenness and say the same thing, “Really child, that cannot be comfortable. You really want me to leave you there?” He does not enjoy seeing us caught in our own self-destructive ways, carrying around the baggage of a broken life. While Christ’s sacrifice does bring us full forgiveness of sins, it doesn’t in a genie-like fashion, make us perfect. We still have those smelly, unsavory places in our lives. We still have issues. We’re still fallen. I don’t know about you, but I still need to grow. I need my messes cleaned up, my broken places healed. Yet we pitch the same fit just like a little child when God begins to work on something in our lives. Anyone facing any trials or difficult circumstances in life right now? Rolling around on the ground crying about it? Yeah, we all do that sometimes. If only we could see the bigger picture of who we are becoming. It is worth the painful process.
I don’t mean to minimize anyone’s suffering. Yes, it is much, much worse than a nose wiping, I know. If you’ve read my blog at all, you know that my life has not been immune to suffering and difficulty. Every day of my three silent years with Sophie has had its challenges. Still, when I rescue my children our of their literal, physical mire, I’m mindful of the fact that I’m doing it for their benefit, even though they don’t see that or appreciate it. They just have the momentary unpleasantness in the forefront of their little minds. It’s all they can see. Likewise, maybe we are too short-sighted in the midst of trials. I know that I am. I get so frustrated in my momentary unpleasantness that I forget that God is doing a work in my life for my good. He might be rooting out a deep-seated, ugly area of my life. Or he might be pulling me out of the mire. I need it. It might be unpleasant. It might hurt a little. I might be frustrated and angry. But I need it. And just because I’m frustrated, that does not mean that God is not with me or that his love is absent.
This lesson was particularly vivid to me when Micah was learning to crawl. Talk about a painful process. He absolutely hated being on his belly. He would roll over in an attempt at mobility, only to find himself stuck on that belly. And then the wailing would begin. Oh, he would be so, so angry. And I would hang back for a few moments, allowing him to experience this frustration. I’m sure he did not understand why I was doing this. Why did I seem so far away? Why? Because I knew that he needed to learn how to crawl. His frustration would be worth it when he had learned this skill. (I was right, by the way, now that he can crawl he is the happiest boy alive!) So he would wiggle around, screaming and crying, for I’m sure what seemed to him like an eternity. And when he became overwhelmed, I would go to him and set him right to try again. And sometimes when he was just totally undone, I would just hold him close and let him bury his face in my shoulder, and I would speak softly to him, soothing away his frustrations.
We go through painful processes like these in life. It’s uncomfortable and frustrating, and we don’t get why we need to be going through it. I feel this a lot in my struggle to communicate with Sophie. It’s uncomfortable; it’s frustrating. Why are we going through this? Because God is working on me. In this painful process, he is scraping away mire, chiseling away at me to make me a better reflection of his image, as I was created to be. God never fails to see the bigger picture, and he will allow me to go through these difficulties because he sees who I am becoming. God allows the painful processes to happen for our good, and he’s never far away even when we’re wailing on our bellies. When it all becomes too much for me, my Father is right there, ready to scoop me up and set me right to try again, or to hold me close and comfort my cries. His love assures me that he is ALWAYS working for my good.