With mop in hand and the smell of pine stinging my nose, I watched the mail truck pull away. I knew what my deliverer put in the box.
The Mother Letters: Sharing the Laughter, Joy, Struggles, and Hope by Seth and Amber Haines.
I rubbed down my hardwoods quickly, giving a spray and a promise that next time I would take better care. I walked to the mailbox and pulled out the brown package, respite wrapped in cardboard.
I sat to read just a bit. After all, I anticipated this delivery for a very long time. I first heard of Seth collecting these letters from over 600 women in 2008. It was a gift for his young wife and the mother of his four boys.
I read Amber’s words of encouragement to create art.
In the image of our Creator, we mothers are artists, creating tiny people in our bodies and then gathering bits and pieces of anything on hand to keep them occupied. (Amber Haines, The Mother Letters)
I pushed through a few of the letters, eyelids growing heavy. I fought to hold them open so I could soak in the encouragement from these stranger-friends. I read Ann’s letter encouraging me to savor. I read Micha’s words reminding me I am loved.
And I gave in to the sleep. I let the weight of the nights of sleep interrupted by a crying toddler pull me under. The residual of the night I stayed up to help my daughter finish an assignment sunk down to the place where my back met the couch. I was covered by the fog of my perpetual early morning wake up calls—intended to make sure my kids woke to a mama who had been with Jesus while they dreamed.
I slept. Maybe ten minutes, maybe an hour. I’m not sure. But I awoke to this truth: I am a good mother. No matter what culture tells me. No matter what my own comparisons threaten to make me believe. I am doing okay.
You are, too, you know. You may not feel it today. Your throat may sting from a word spoken too loudly. Your bare feet may feel the collected crumbs of an unswept floor. You may feel the weight of your eyelashes as you push to get all the Bible stories read, all the bears tucked under their arms, and all of their heads kissed.
What I’m holding to is that it doesn’t matter if anyone else tells us we are good mothers; we need to say it to ourselves. (Grace Sandra, The Mother Letters)
In the minutes after my impromptu slumber, my heart held tightly to the beauty I bring to motherhood.
I take my kids to Jesus every day. In prayer or in story, they are ushered into His presence. Sometimes they come kicking and screaming, but we all go together.
I love their dad. That, too, sometimes comes by way of kicking and screaming. But I don’t stop loving him, in part, because I know my kids need him.
I look at them. Not every day, but I try to most days. I see who they are and who they are becoming. I want to witness the metamorphosis from child to adult, to cheer as they push through the resistance in order to build strong wings for soaring.
I live my life. It’s not just for me that I stop to rest or write. I know my kids need a mother who is full and whole. The only way I can fill in the holes that life takes out of me is to rest at the feet of Jesus. I sit there and listen. I put pen to paper and find my way to okay again.
I sit with them. Maybe with pizza in hand while reruns from my childhood play on our television screen. Or maybe in the stands as they make a go at being an athlete. Even at the dinner table as they pick out the spinach and add more cheese. We sit together, mother and child. Us.
You are nailing this motherhood thing. Stop and consider all the ways you make motherhood beautiful. Write it down. Share it here. I will select one of you to receive this lovely collection of letters. The book is beautiful, and the truths are precious jewels of wisdom. US residents only. Entries end Monday, May 2 at midnight CST.
Now, go. Mother well, friend. It’s in you. You’ve got this.
If you have a post on the beauty of motherhood, link it up for an additional entry! Be sure to come back next week to share your Mother’s Day posts!
Photo Credit: Alexandra Seinet via Unsplash.