When I was young I watched someone do something I did not approve of. I told my mother: "I'll never do that." My mom wisely responded: "Don't judge until you've been there."
I scoffed. I was young and full of knowledge. In fact, I probably knew it all.
Life has taught me otherwise. I am almost constantly reminded of that conversation and my mother's wise words.
I managed to keep it together after #1. Then #2. When I got to my third boy I wasn't so sure. I wavered a bit. Beds went unmade. Bathrooms were not always clean.
Then I pulled myself back together.
Fourth baby. This was a bit rougher. I remember trying to get everyone out the door for some errands after my mom left and my husband went back to work. I was changing the baby's diaper, getting shoes on the toddler, and directing my "big" boys and I thought: this is a lot of people.
I became pregnant with my fifth baby and everything went to pot. My husband worked nights, which meant he left the house at around 4, right around the time I could no longer function. I served a lot of cereal and mac'n'cheese over those few months.
What have I learned from having these children of mine?
- I'm good at blaming my emotions on other people.
- My plans are nice, but they're not what's going to happen most of the time.
- Rules and schedules and routines make me feel secure, they don't make me lean on Jesus.
- Children bring me out of my innate selfishness and teach me oh-so-much about the love of God.
Most days I struggle with anger and frustration. Most days I struggle with finding my identity in being a Good Mom and Getting the Laundry Folded. I struggle with letting my children be their own people - not extensions of me. I fight the contrast of what I thought mothering entailed with what I am now as a mother.
Things have turned out a lot differently than I planned. My mother's words come back to me: don't judge until you've been there.
Yes, mom, you're so right.
I never could have guessed what having 5 children would mean. I never could have guessed that the downturn in the economy would mean the end of a business and a job for my husband. That years of figuring out what was next would engulf us. I couldn't have guessed that our marriage would suffer huge setbacks, or what those setbacks would be.
Without this marriage and these five sweet children I would have no idea:
- how to eat while the volume in a room of seven people actually exceeds the levels at most rock concerts
- that night-time hours rocking babies can be the sweetest hours ever known (but not always)
- how easy it is to look at the ways I've failed and forget the things I've done right
- what surrender means - my plans versus God's plans
- how to address my frustrations and anger and give them over to God
- that my identity is in God, not my plans or my actions or my choices - not my husband or my children or anything they do.
- and most importantly
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. Song of Solomon 6:3
I would have no idea what it means to lean on God as my beloved, and the acceptance I find in being His.
This post is a part of our “Who We Are” Series. For all posts visit,