I am so honored to share this post with you guys today - it's written by my best friend since High School, a woman who inspires me so deeply. She has the most powerful testimony and this past fall the Lord blessed she and her husband with a beautiful son. Claire is an amazing writer so I asked her to share a piece on motherhood and I have been saving it special for mothers day weekend. I love her words and pray it blesses you guys too…thank you Claire for being so honest and bold to share your heart with us!
At 33, I became a mom. That's about a decade later than my younger self would've wanted, but like all great gifts, my son came at the perfect time.
That thought dawned on me as I squeezed the final drops out of my rosemary mint shampoo this morning. I had bought this very bottle the morning before I went into labor. It was a weird impulse purchase--it makes my hair frizzy--but I just needed. to. have. it.
Call it one final pregnancy craving.
For an hour that September night, I sat in the tub waiting for my contractions to get close enough to make "the call." Just as the water turned tepid, it dawned on me that I had not washed my hair in a few days, and I would soon be surrounded by well-wishers and have a baby to care for.
I must wash it now.
I'm not sure if that's being practical or vain, but I scooted my big belly down far enough in the water to scrub my hair between contractions, which raced from five to three minutes apart before I could put any conditioner in there. Water sloshed on the floor, and rosemary and mint filled the air.
On the other side of the wall, my husband was sleeping soundly. Not because he wouldn't want to be there for me or help me wash my hair or count the minutes between contractions, but because I didn't wake him.
I couldn't bring myself to do it, even though I secretly wanted his help, needed his help. I guess, if I'm honest, I wanted him to sense my need without asking. There's a certain level of trust and humility required in asking and then receiving. And, I'm not very good with either.
I love when God gently speaks the same thing, over and over, until it starts to sink in. This article has haunted me all week. Here's the gist: A fisherman falls overboard at 3:30 a.m. in the middle of the Atlantic and survives to tell the tale. Even though he's missing for hours before anyone notices. Even though it defies every odd.
When I first finished reading it, I completely missed the point. I convinced myself the story was a metaphor--how this strong fisherman survives by setting goals (find a buoy) and staying positive (don't think about death). It seemed like good advice, so I gave myself a pep talk and worked a little harder.
This new burst lasted as long as nap time did--27 minutes--before I failed at my first goal of putting the laundry away, which in turn led me to break that second part.
But still this survivor's story stayed with me. So I read it again. And there it was, so obvious I couldn't believe I hadn't seen it: he's determined, a self-proclaimed hard worker, and he's alone on that ship deck in the middle of the night because he refuses to wake anyone for help; in fact, he prides himself on not needing anyone.
That's not heroic, it's foolish.
And it sounds just like me.
But, the part that really gnaws at me is that he seems almost nonchalant about his miraculous rescue: “I always felt like I was conditioning myself for that situation...so once you’re in it, it’s like: All right, I can do that. I did it. I had that sense of accomplishment. I mean, thank God I was saved, yes.... But I felt I did my part.”
Good Lord, man. They plucked your body from shark-infested waters thirteen hours after you fell in. If that's not grace, I don't know what is.
I think it is always easier to see someone else's Achilles heel.
So, last night, when my husband asked if there was anything he could do to help with the baby, I said yes. And, today I am washing my hair with that rosemary mint shampoo one final time while they play together in the family room.
I would guess that most of us who have a hard time accepting grace or asking for help, have at one time or another been a survivor. Maybe out of necessity, maybe out of pride. But as I look at my sweet baby boy--grace personified--I realize that unless I learn to receive grace I will teach my son to resist it. Or worse, to miss it when it comes.
I'm only four months in--hardly an expert--but I see that motherhood is my second-chance to learn what I missed along the way. Or maybe--better said--to unlearn things I learned along the way.