A Letter to me

I became a mom in 2011 and I celebrated Mother's Day like it was going out of style.  It was May 8 and on May 6, we had gotten word about a baby girl in Taiwan...that baby girl, as you know, was OUR baby girl and she came home to us late that same year. So I count 2011 as the year I became a mom. Since then, I've had four Mother's Days with her. It seems unbelievable that much time has passed already. So today, I wanted to write myself a letter...to remember.

Dear Stephanie,

These days, you've nearly forgotten your real name, Stephanie. You go by "mommy" about 90% of the time. Even Justin calls you "mommy" because you've both gotten into that thing that married people with kids do and call each other what your kids call you. The neighbors, they call you Steph, and it's pretty cool!

Today is a reflection of what a lot of the days in these past few months have looked like. You have your good moments, but for the most part, you are struggling in this mommy role. Lots of days, you doubt yourself, if you have what it takes, if you're making the right choices for your sweet girl, and at the end of the day, you feel like the whole thing has been a boxing match.

First year of strawberry pickin' 2012
Today, you got up, had pancakes that Justin and AJ fixed, quickly got dressed, had the famous 1/2 cup of coffee (you rarely finish an entire cup), and ran out the door to church. Because that's what we do on Sundays. We just do. They're our people. After church, we rushed home and quickly cleaned up the kitchen since mom and dad were coming for lunch. Justin didn't want you to have to do anything, but you unloaded the dishwasher anyway because it needed unloading. Everybody enjoyed hamburgers, corn, watermelon, and fries. You especially enjoyed the paper plates we all used.

After lunch, Gramma and Poppy took the Peanut for a few hours and you and Justin went to the movies. It was nice, but part of you just wanted to stay home. But if you stayed home, you would want to catch up on laundry and really, who wants to do laundry on Mother's Day? It will still be waiting for you tomorrow anyway. After the movie, we spent time at the neighbor's house grilling out and letting the kids play. All the excitement and motion of the day came to a head when little one had a meltdown. The day ended with you crying in the bathtub and Justin putting kiddo to sleep. 

You scratched your head in disbelief that mother's day 2015 was ending this way. You've read way too many Facebook posts about the marvelous days others were having and you were jealous. You felt the self-doubt and self-blame come rolling back into your mind like waves and it almost blind-sighted you. After all, this week had been a pretty good one. You were starting to feel better about your mothering skills and ability to be in the moment. We had good discipline moments, too. We were finally getting on track, it seemed, when today, Mother's Day of all days, came and derailed us all. 

You didn't want it to be this way. Most of the time, you don't want to be the way you are/feel. You wish you could be better, rise above, take the high road, and on and on. But you feel stuck. You don't trust your gut. So you feel defeated. You sit and think of ways you can try harder and do it better starting tomorrow. But do you know something, Stephanie? Trying harder and doing it better are not your goal. Your job is to love God first. Run after Him. Seek His face. 
Strawberry pickin' 2013

You've been spending some time praying in your closet. Isn't it amazing? It's a wonderful space in the house and it's all yours. It's cluttered with shoes on one side, but there's plenty of room on the other and it's quiet and still. Like Erik preached about today, prayer is the enemy of anxiety. One cannot exist when the other is in motion. This room, this praying Stephanie is going to take on a life of her own and I think you're already amazed at what you've seen as a result. 

Your deepest desire is to point your daughter and all others you meet to the One who is capable of transformation, restoration, and regeneration. Don't give up. Whatever you do, just don't give up.


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