Motherhood for me came with a stripping away of control and it has continued in that vein ever since. I imagined that my daughter would be a miniature version of myself as a little girl, quiet and complacent and never the source of any trouble. You could often find me hidden away in my closet, reading the latest Baby-Sitter’s club book by flashlight.
(Actually, you can still find me doing that. Ann M. Martin is dibbly fresh. Plus, I hide the chocolate in my closet.)
My husband is soft-spoken, somewhat shy and laid back. I figured that between the two of us we would have a quiet, meek little thing as our offspring.
Instead we have Scarlette, a feisty, fearless, outspoken girl who charms everyone she meets.
Early on, when Scarlette was still in critical condition we watched as she batted a tiny fist furiously against a nurses hand while the nurse tried to moisten her little lips with a cotton swab. Nurse C looked at me over the top of the incubator and remarked that if Scarlette made it through this, she would bet money that she was going to be a spitfire in her toddler years.
If those were Vegas odds, Nurse C could have retired on them.
I hear her talking before my eyes flutter open; she is having a passionate conversation with herself in the mirror about who will possibly get her breakfast since Mommy is sleeping. She spends the whole day going full speed ahead, as though she is making up for lost time by the minute. It never winds down, the way she walks around wide-eyed and wild and precious.
The toddler years have driven me directly to the book of Proverbs because it is supposed to hold all of the wisdom. I have no idea what I am doing so this seems a good place to start. I started at the very beginning and drew my highlighter across the page, chapter one verse eight. A mother’s teaching, it says, “will be a garland of grace.”
None of this is effort wasted, from the first pangs of birthing labor to the sacred labor of shaping a spirited soul without breaking it.
(Plus, there is a high probability that I will quote this to her often once she hits the teenage years: “No you can not stay out past eleven. Because the Bible says do not reject your mother’s teaching. Of course that is totally in context.”)
I don’t want her to run wild but to run wildly from a wellspring of desire to follow hard after what she finds herself passionate about and an existential love for others. I want to raise Scarlette to see beauty in the ordinary, to know how to look a bit closer and find the miracle in the mundane. I want her to find the God I love, the one that is wide with grace, and discover the freedom in falling for such a divine love story. I want my daughter to seek it because she sees the sincerity in how her mother lives it.
Scarlette’s Sunday school teacher told me that Scarlette’s contribution to class was “You mean Jesus DOESN’T live in my mommy’s underwear drawer?”
(So I think I am definitely nailing that.)
The above is an excerpt from Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected, a story about finding hope in the unexpected places, in the circumstances that seem overwhelming, in the moments you question everything you ever knew about God. It is a story for anyone who has wondered “Where is God in this?”
Anchored is an invitation to uncover a hope that holds always, secure in the good times and in the devastatingly bad times. Visit here to read chapter one for free ♥
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