I know that, even as I write this, I am in the midst of life's greatest season of transformation: motherhood. Still, I am amazed at how very much I have already been transformed in nearly five short years. I have come such a long way from that season of shiny, timid new motherhood.
When Leah was just a few days old, we attempted her very first bath at home in our bathroom sink.
There she was. Our tiny, seven pound sweetheart in the bath we had painstakingly prepared for her, complete with thermometer to ensure that the water was the perfect temperature. Sweet thing that she was, she did wonderfully in the bath!
And then, it came time to pull her out. All ready to receive her was the adorable pink Pooh bathrobe that a sweet friend had given us for our baby shower. The one I had lovingly selected while registering, dreaming of the day I'd have a tiny body to wrap in that little robe. We pulled her out of that perfectly heated water...
...and discovered that it is really, really difficult to navigate a tiny pink robe with a wiggly, screaming baby who resents being wet and cold. She resisted it. Her arm got stuck. Her tiny legs throbbed and kicked. I couldn't seem to get her warm or dry enough.
And then her little lips began to turn blue, and I was convinced I'd killed her. Given her hypothermia. I cried and sobbed along with her. I was supposed to be her mother, yet I had found a way to mess up her very first bath at home. Surely, this was evidence of my failings as a mother. I must be awful!
It's okay, Mama. Just breathe.
I sweat every decision. Agonized over every call.
Read each choice as an opportunity to fail and destroy my new daughter's life.
That's some kind of pressure to put on myself.
I vividly remember feeling a kinship to this song and wondering if I was wise enough and good enough and smart enough to deserve the opportunity to have my heart's greatest desire.
Still... through the doubt, through the worry, through the hard, I will forever remember that first year of Leah's life as one of the sweetest, most tender and wonderful of mine. I was so happy to be her mommy!
Now, as I reflect on motherhood nearly five years later... oh how much has changed. I thought being a first time mommy was hard. Then we welcomed Logan, and I was so overwhelmed.
We had the new house, the new baby who never slept, the perfectionist mother who couldn't divide her time well and the physical recovery. Oh my.
Thankfully sometimes, they do not last forever.
I learned. I grew. I got better. The juggling got - not easier, but more familiar. More doable. The joy and beauty of it all returned.
Casey is gone this month. All month. On the heels of being gone pretty much since September.
I won't lie to you and tell you that everything is sunshine and roses here all the time. There are three small children and no reinforcements, which often makes for one worn out, weary Mom. There is laughter and arguing and hugs and time outs and school and high-fives and tears and tickles... but the one thing there is not is a mother who measures and finds herself lacking. Where once I shed tears, certain that God must sigh and roll His eyes at all my faults, I am now sure that He looks at me and says, "Well done, my good and faithful child."
It's not because I'm perfect. Because... well, I'm so far from perfect we don't even have time to discuss it.
It's because I see what I didn't before: The beauty of this motherhood gig isn't in perfection. The beauty of motherhood lies in the choices we make in the midst of imperfection.
I don't have it all together. I never will. There will never be enough of me to be perfect all the time. But where I once saw that as failing, I now see it as opportunity for me to play my role, and to let God play His.
His calling isn't for my perfection. His calling isn't that I raise perfect children. His calling is for me to make my life my offering, and let Him fill in the places I can't reach.
Having three is my favorite season.
I am better. I am gentler. More patient and compassionate. More ready to go first and disciple my children.
Why? Because to mother three little ones, I can no longer lean on me. I must lean on God. And somehow, as I lean in to God to be refreshed, to gain wisdom and strength and be reminded of my need for grace, as I give Him my heart, I am better equipped to win my children's hearts in love and understanding.
I don't need to be perfect, because I can rest in the assurance that when I follow after Him, God sees my efforts. And He wastes nothing.
This, right now? This is the really good stuff.