Monday, December 17, 2012

Motherhood and Messy Moments

"I have spent years trying to study and grow and change.  It's hard to keep going.  I'm just so tired," Maggie said.

I sat down beside her and she took my hand. "Please pray for me. Sometimes I don't think I can keep going another day. It's not just being in prison. It's being a mother and a grandmother and knowing my family is not okay. No matter how much I know about God it's too late to change the past."

"She's depressed," added Rachel, her life partner. "I don't know how to encourage her. And we sure don't know what to do to help the kids."

I prayed with these women, so very dear to me. I was proud of the changes I had seen in each of them. Out of the ashes of two completely shattered lives had come healing and deep repentance. I had seen treasured photographs of their 3 adult children and 2 teenagers. Their grand-daughter was only 2 and would be 7 by the time either of them was out of prison and able to meet her. Their family was devastated by the past, broken in dozens of ways in the present.

Motherhood isn't something that just happens to you. It's a choice you make every day to put someone else's happiness and well being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, trying to do the right thing even when you're not sure what the right thing is. Motherhood is forgiving yourself, over and over again for not having everything figured out.

But what if your mother sold you into prostitution and drugs before you were 8 years old?  What if your mother had never known any other life besides cruelty? What if every man you had ever known had violently hurt you? Where do you go to learn motherhood?

Maggie sighed so deeply that we all three laughed. She shook her head as if to shake away her discouragement, then sighed again. "You always say God will meet us exactly where we are in a messy moment and love us toward truth," she repeated back to me. "When you said that I wrote it down."

Rachel grinned at me. "It's on her mirror and on my lamp."

Maggie continued, "All we can do is meet the kids exactly where they are in a messy moment and love them every day until things get figured out and cleaned up."

I smiled and squeezed her hand. "It's what all the best mothers and grand-mothers do. The rest of it can be washed clean by grace."

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