When I realized I was going to marry my husband, I quickly warmed up to the idea of being a stepmom. I’ve always been great with kids and just assumed I’d be a mother at some point. Like a lot of girls, I’d always pictured my family looking somewhat like the one in which I’d grown up – two kids, maybe one of each, a few years apart. Stepmotherhood could easily blow that picture to bits, but I was good with it. I figured we’d have one more and be done. It might not always be easy, but it would be natural.
Ames was born just before our first wedding anniversary, and I was surprised to find that he was hard… for me at least. My husband and stepsons and family and friends all seemed to love him easily and naturally, but I felt empty most days when I looked at him. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it was there – a dark, nagging voice in the back of my head that told me I wasn’t cut out for this. Just nine months after he came along, right when I felt like I might survive this newborn thing, we found out we were expecting again. And then came the anatomy scan at twenty weeks, when we learned we were expecting twins.
I remember lying flat on my back in that ultrasound room, looking at all of the boys in my life fist-pumping and yelling with excitement. I remember staring hard, squinting at them even, trying to figure out what they had that I didn’t. I remember looking back at the screen and asking God why. Why would He bless me this way, when I wasn’t even feeling accomplished at my current motherhood situation. Why, when there were women all around me longing for children? That dark, nagging voice came back again. I was terrible at this, and more was only going to make it all worse.
It wasn’t until my twins were over a year old and we found ourselves pregnant with Hadassah Lee that I heard God’s voice beat the dark, nagging one to that sweet spot where my heart meets my brain. I stared at that pregnancy test and laughed in the bathroom stall at a megachurch in Atlanta. This time, my Father’s voice showed up first. Either that or this time, I chose to hear it first. I’ve called you to this, and I won’t leave you alone in it.
And suddenly, things got easier. Not in a task-related way, but in an emotional way. Everything felt lighter. I found it easier to love my stepsons and toddlers and messy, chaotic life. My pregnancy was one of the worst to date and somehow I just sailed right through it. I had a beautifully redemptive birth and and a gracious newborn season with my tiny queen. Everything just started to make more sense when I accepted this new idea. Motherhood doesn’t have to be natural. To this day, it doesn’t feel that way for me. Walking with Jesus just makes it easier. His yoke is easy, his burden light.
I wasn’t created to be a master of motherhood. I was created to learn motherhood from the Master.