I Wanted to be a Mother

My firstborn son is now eighteen, a "partial-adult" per my younger son's description. In some ways it's hard to believe eighteen years have passed since I first stared into his eyes, for this memory is as clear as yesterday. Of course, then I looked down to see his face, and now I'm looking up! But the direction of my gaze is not all that's changed during these years. The very way I mother him has morphed as well.

For so many years every aspect of motherhood was physical: With my body I protected him. With my arms I lifted and carried him. Holding his hand I guided him. Through exaggerated smiles I encouraged him. And often, at the end of the day, I fell into bed, tired from the physical toll of mothering.

But I've long lost the ability to lift and carry him. And it is no longer my hand that he reaches for. And while I hope my smile still encourages him, I'm not fooled into thinking it is the only one he looks for. This "partial-adult" child of mine and I are in a new space. Equally important and full of purpose–yes; but still a new phase to navigate. And these days I climb into bed not with a tired body, but with the tireless prayers whispered only by a mother.

Of course, I'd be remiss to think that my mothering is the only part of me that has changed over the past eighteen years. No, God has used these years to change my heart as well. 


Eighteen years ago I held you for the first time:

I didn’t know then that everything I valued would change in an instant –

the very instant you were placed in my arms.

I only knew I wanted to be a mother.


I didn’t understand then that motherhood was a vocation

a calling from God, a path to my own sanctification.

I only knew I wanted to be a mother.


I didn’t understand the long wait to conceive was part of God’s plan,

and that one day I’d glimpse the beauty of His perfect timing.

I only knew I wanted to be a mother.


I didn’t understand God would love you even more than I do,

and that He’d ask me to trust Him with all that happens to you.

I only knew I wanted to be a mother.


I didn’t understand God would use you to teach me about myself,

or that loving you would help me receive His unconditional, endless love for me.

I only knew I wanted to be a mother.


I didn’t understand that participating in your creation would actually further my own,

as being your mother has helped me become the woman God created me to be.

I only knew I wanted to be a mother.


God knew it would be too much for me to know all these things eighteen years ago,

so in His perfect wisdom,

He filled me only with the desire to be a mother.


My son, I pray each step you take brings you closer to God, that you come to know His never-ending love for you, and that you see yourself exactly as He sees you.

And as always, may God breathe life into these words.


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  1. Beautiful words, Jen. You're a great mom. Melody

    1. Oh Mel, thank you. I know you know just how difficult and beautiful the gift of motherhood is.


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