The Weeping of Motherhood

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Jeremiah 31: 8-9

See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return. They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel’s father…”

Here is the Word of the Lord pressed upon me. These 2 verses have been ruminating over and over again in my head ever since I read them a few weeks ago.

The Lord is calling back His people. He longs for us to return to Him. He is forever calling our names and pursuing us. I know this. I grew up with this knowledge. I’ve responded to this knowledge. But what has been pulling at my heart is the who of this. We know He calls all of us. He wishes not one of us to perish. Yet this call in Jeremiah is a specific call. He names those He is calling. The blind. The lame. Expectant mothers. Women in labor. Of course He will restore the blind to see again and make the lame to walk again but what I find interesting is the call to mothers in particular.

They will come with weeping.

They will pray as I bring them back.

How many times as mothers have we been in this place? He knew. As newly conceived life flourished inside us, we embraced the weakness of ourselves allowing our bodies to change out of our control. We were the vessels of new life but to have this greatest honor means completely sacrificing ourselves to yield to another. That means pain, uncomfortableness, refining.

So many times during this season of motherhood we find ourselves sick, tired, praying, and weeping for things out of our control. Most of the time we are not coming to our Father with thought-out prayers of specific requests. Most of the time our prayers just bubble up out of the deep of us. Prayers that we can’t even put words to. Repeated utterances that sound more like desperate pleas than lofty words. But He hears. And these prayers are precious to Him as He knows SO specifically what this thing called motherhood has in store for us.

He has heard our weeping. He has heard our prayers. 

♥ The weeping of the expectant mother, head hung over the toilet as she calls out in guttural prayers for the sickness to subside.

♥ The weeping of the expectant mother as her bones shift to open up for the carrying of this child.

♥ The weeping of the expectant mother as her tired body that is not her own wakes again in the night for one more trip to the bathroom, acid reflux, shortness of breath, aching hips, insomnia that turns into overtired fears playing out in a brain loop.

♥ The weeping of the expectant mother as she hears doctors words spelling out her worst fears for this little one growing inside of her that she has come to love with a consuming love never having met yet.

River - B&W tubes

He has heard our weeping. He has heard our prayers.

♥ The weeping of the woman in labor as contractions move from bearable to a level of pain she wasn’t prepared to feel.

♥ The weeping of the woman in labor as she cries out, trying to push away this pain she can’t escape.

♥ The weeping of the woman in labor who enters that quiet place of surrender, breathing into the dying in order to bring forth the living.

♥ The weeping of the woman in labor, body opening up, splitting, cracking like fire as life pushes out harsh and real.

River - kiss

He has heard our weeping. He has heard our prayers.

♥ The weeping of the new mother who lies exhausted, body broken, breathing in the sweet smell of new life.

♥ The weeping of the new mother who struggles to sustain life through breasts that hurt, helping a new one to latch when it seems impossible.

♥ The weeping of the new mother struggling to stay awake to hold and feed this precious being who won’t stop crying.

♥ The weeping of the new mother whose sleep-deprived body still has to function with daytime responsibilities that prevent her from “sleeping when the baby sleeps”.

♥ The weeping of a new mother holding the tiny newborn hand of her baby after surgery, heart desperately praying for no post-operative complications.

B&W family - River

He has heard our weeping. He has heard our prayers.

♥ The weeping of the seasoned mother as she yells, again, at her child and has to ask forgiveness.

♥ The weeping of the seasoned mother as she struggles to keep it together getting out the door in the morning, child wearing non-matching shoes, hair still not brushed,  already running 10 minutes late.

♥ The weeping of the seasoned mother whose sleep-deprived body stays up all night rocking and soothing sick children then getting up in the morning to still make breakfast and wash all the built-up laundry.

♥ The weeping of the seasoned mother whose heart breaks as her child struggles to make friends, or has just lost a friend, or is awkward socially, or is getting bullied at school.

♥ The weeping of the seasoned mother who realizes that her child sees through her own hypocrisy.

♥ The weeping of the seasoned mother who has to watch her children walk through the consequences of their own mistakes knowing she is powerless to save them.

♥ The weeping of the seasoned mother whose nest is empty and she feels the loss just as the weight of allowing these children to take on their own adult responsibilities settles upon her shoulders.

There is abundant JOY in motherhood but that joy comes from walking through the storms of life. My dear cousin quoted something very wise on facebook recently.

I’ve watched her walk the storm as a mother. She’s brave. She’s exhausted. She’s in love. She can’t imagine her life without this new person in it. And I’ve seen her strength. I see His hand in that as He calms her through this storm. And I weep with her.

We are asked, as mothers and flawed people, to push through the labor pains of life. This struggle refines us. We are made stronger…better…from it. And He uses these pains that cause us weeping to draw us in. To remind us that He is there if we just turn to Him. That He will lead us gently through it if we allow Him to pick up and carry our burdens.

I understand God more since becoming a mother. His saying no for our own good. His anger and jealousy and protectiveness. And His amazing grace that loves unconditionally no matter what I’ve done. I could never turn my back on one of my children no matter what they’ve done. And I see this in my Savior. In His gift of life for me. In His relentless pursuit of me even when I stubbornly walk away.

One of my favorite verses as a mother is Isaiah 40:11.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

He gently leads those that have young. Everyday as I struggle to stay awake, stay sane, not blow up at my kids I think on this. Everyday, if I allow it, He will gently lead me in this struggle of motherhood. He has a special soft spot for mothers. He called us out specifically as Jeremiah reminds us. He will never leave or forsake us.

I am comforted by this and physically reminded of it during those kairos moments when I lay staring at my beautiful, sleeping child. When I watch my oldest develop a love of coffee just like his dad. When I watch my daughter curling up with a good book. When I see my little one looking under rocks for rollie pollies. When my daughter smiles up at me from under her long lashes. When I am handed a bouquet of weeds wildflowers from the lawn. When I am rocking a sweet newborn and kissing that soft, velvet head and soaking in that sweet baby vanilla smell.

Our weeping and praying go hand in hand with motherhood. If we listen to His call He will be faithful to lead us through this season that will be more rewarding than anything we could ever hope to accomplish!

River - feet long
♥ Dedicated to River and his beautiful new heart! ♥

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