It has been nine years since I discovered I was a mother. It seems that would be long enough to understand a lot about mothering, however I feel like I am just beginning to comprehend some basic things.
One thing that starry-eyed, newly pregnant women don't realize is how much it hurts. No, I'm not talking about the pain of childbirth. That is a walk in the park compared to the pain of which I speak.
We all chuckle about the parent who administers discipline prefaced by the words, "This hurts me worse than it hurts you." Yet, in so many ways, motherhood hurts more than anything I experienced in childhood.
Two different times, while being wheeled away to surgery, I've seen my mother's face crumple as the sliding glass doors closed; bewildered as to why she was crying. I think I'm beginning to understand...
There was the time I asked her the meaning of a word I heard on the playground and another time I told her the comment from a boy making fun of my weight. I wondered why she cried. Now, I think I know...
Then there were the times she wanted to cry, but couldn't.
The time she sent me into the doors of the "rich and popular" kids' high school, alone.
The time I had my first car accident and had to talk to the police myself.
Then there was graduation day and my wedding day. The doctors calling some kind of code to my room during the birth of my first child while she sat helplessly in the waiting room.
There were the many times I wanted my own way, to do my own thing and I ignored her instruction.
And that was just the pain she experienced along with me. There were also the tears, fears and sorrows of my brother and sister.
Yes, mothering hurts--no doubt about that. So why do we do it?
Maybe for the same reason, God said, "Let us make man in our image." The angels could have argued, "But God, it will cost you! They'll turn on You, they'll ignore Your correction, they will mistreat and murder Your only Son and they will follow after Your enemy, trampling Your love under their feet."
It is the same reason He picks us up time and again, sometimes wiping away our tears, sometimes dusting off the debris of our sin and the effects of others' sin from us, sometimes patching a broken heart and sometimes letting us "do our own thing" because we insist upon it.
I have a feeling if we took our eyes off of our own pain and looked up....way up....into His eyes, we would see tears. If we removed our focus from the crushing weight on our heart, we would feel His heart breaking with us. If we took a step back and looked at our sin as it is....the thorn piercing His brow; the nail shredding through the muscles of His precious hand; the mocking laughter of soldiers, onlookers and criminals...we would see the love that He has for us through His own pain.
If we mothers never let ourselves feel pain, we will never know the depths of love we can have for our child. God knows this, too. Just like my mother, except in a much deeper way, every time I hurt, it hurts Him worse. One day, as He wipes away our tears, perhaps He'll wipe away His own.