Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My surprise when I read this book

Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker
It's rare that I take time to read a book for pleasure.  Most titles satiate my need to learn more about God.  But there was a title that was calling "rest" and I decided to pack into my stack for my week away in the mountains.  I was off to see my daughter and her budding young family who live in Colorado.  My escape always brings rest in more ways than one, trips away brings much needed relaxation.

The book, "Surprised by Motherhood" by Lisa-JoBaker was neatly packed with my clean clothes.  A few pages in, I was hooked.  It’s a beautiful telling of how God has grown her into the mother that she is today from the absence of her own mother’s influence.  Her mother died when she was a young teen growing up in South Africa in a missionary pastor’s family.  God’s beauty surprised from her personal pain, to become the mom she'd always dreamed of having.

Due to her mom’s death, she had to mother herself through those hard, awkward teen years.  She graduated with no desire to ever mother.  Her father encouraged her and did what he could, but as all loving dads dot on their daughters, they can only do so much.  There was a deep pain that never healed until she had her own children. 

According to the culture God had called her parents to, her family lived with abandonment and broken family units around her.  In South Africa, it's common for a dad to leave a family to take up a new wife.  It's common for kids to be abandoned in the pursuit of a new marriage.  The string of orphaned children is endless due to divorce, disease and is heart breaking.  Abject poverty abounds in Africa with children raising children to live on the streets.  They grow up to be become the least, the lost and the last.  It's the harsh real picture of some families in Africa.

Lisa’s surprised me with some memories of my own mother.  She surprised me with how God can make our own needs a teacher.  When she didn't have an example of a mother to learn from, she learned to nurture from the best teacher…in being a mother. 

Life taught her how to mother when she couldn't remember what it looked like. 

It was in her very transparent vignettes of nurturing her own that I connected.  My heart linked with her honest telling of her cares, worries, concerns and angst over the years that strung her heart-rendering memories together with mine.  Many times I have felt disconnected from my own mom specifically when my mind drifts back to my first day of kindergarten. 

I was standing outside the door of my classroom and she left me in a puddle of tears.  I was such a momma's girl.  She walked away down the long hallway, which seemed like miles long, never looking back.  At five my heart broke with the pain of being separated from her.  My little palms were washed by my tears as the teacher pulled me into the room.  I was a bundle of emotions and still to this day tears well up thinking of that lost and alone feeling. 

Those same tears welled up again as I read how Lisa's mom walked out of her life and into the halls of Heaven due to the illness that had struck her life.  Abandonment is a lonely feeling.  Today I know that my mom's heart was also breaking as she walked away that first day.  "I was so heart-broken too.  It was all I could do was to walk away, I knew it was the best for you.”  In that long walk, my mom gave me the chance to grow. 

I sense that what we all feel that pain in many ways when we mother.  The pains of childbirth are soon forgotten once we hold our own in our arms.  We forget the years of doing the best for them out of love for them.  We forget the pains to deliver them into life being the best teacher.  Don’t we all secretly pray to be like our mom’s when we grow up? 

We forget.  But love memories can surprise us.

God further reminded me of the gift I received this past mother's day in some heartfelt words from my own daughter, now mother of two little beauties herself.  She wrote..."Thank you mom for giving me room to grow as a mom."  She thanked me for giving her space to become the mother she needed to be and who God is becoming her to be.

We moms simply love, mother, and nurture those in our care close and from a distance.  Each day brings new surprises along with the sunrise.  It’s mothering at its best and God’s best way to nurture us as moms. 

I highly recommend a look back into Lisa-Jo's story to find the love you need to give to the most.

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