We had a storybook romance. I felt like Cinderella at the ball. He was in love with me and I was in love with him. We embarked on a future that looked like it had only good things on the horizon. There were no signs that would indicate the storms ahead. All my dreams had come true. I knew the day that I stood at the altar I had found the one whom my soul loved. Our Wedding theme song was "At Last". With all my heart I knew he was the one.
It wasn't long before the next miracle was on the way. We were having a baby! I was over the moon. I daydreamed about the perfection of this little angel and how much fun we would have together. When we found out we were having a girl I cried like a baby, because I didn't want her to turn out like me... but the excitement of picking out baby girl clothes and furniture for her room was enough to push my fears to the background. When our little angel came along it was a moment like no other in my life, this was what unconditional love felt like. I couldn't believe the level of emotion a person could feel for another person. Being a new mommy only made me fall deeper in love with my husband... He was the reason I had been blessed with this tiny bundle of perfection.
I had always dreamt of the life I would give my children and the kind of mother I would be. I jumped right in. It was an adjustment, but I was willing to adjust for her. Even though we had the normal baby problems like not sleeping well at night and crying for unknown reasons, I really thought being a mommy was a walk in the park. She was 8 months old when my jeans started to get a little tighter. I took a pregnancy test and almost died right there on the toilet. HOW could this happen??? I was breastfeeding and everything. I was not supposed to get pregnant again this quickly.
To say I was in shock would be an understatement. I was not ready for this. I was afraid that Bobby would be unhappy. I was a little angry with God that He had allowed this to happen. This was the first crack in my perfect little life. Eventually we adjusted to the idea that we were going to have another baby, even though the one we had was still nursing and sleeping in the bed with mommy. I started preparing for new baby right away, but I was a little resentful of this little baby in my belly, that was making me feel cruel to the little baby that was in my arms. I felt like I had to rush her to grow up now and I felt like she wouldn't get all the babying that she needed. I began to really doubt that God knew what he was doing.
There were nights that I cried a 1000 tears of regret, when I had been cruel to my daughter, because I was so tired from my pregnancy, and I blamed the new baby and the One who had given him to me. My doubt in God began to grow and my insecurity as a mother began to mushroom. The more insecure I was in my ability the more cruel I was to my daughter. Sometimes I hated her for making me feel like a bad mother and sometimes I hated the baby growing bigger in my belly every day. I was not ready. I hadn't even become a good mother to the baby I had. How could God want me to be a mother of another?
Well, none of that mattered because there was a little boy on his way and we had to deal with what was in front of us. Our second child was born when our oldest was 17mos old and still nursing. He was beautiful and pleasant and I was in love with him.
I remember the moment when I knew I was in over my head though. After a couple weeks being stuck in the house with 2 little ones, I thought it would be a good idea to load up us all up and tackle shopping. I nursed the baby, bundled him up and strapped him in his car sear. Then I dressed big sister, put her shoes and coat on and grabbed my purse, baby bag and keys. The baby starting screaming bloody murder and I realize he had a dirty diaper. Unbuckle the car seat and pull baby out... He had pooped all out the sides of his diaper. Undress Him and change his diaper, find new clothes, put him back in the car seat and buckle him in. Now I'm feeling stressed, depressed, tired and just want to stay home, but I've committed to this, so go we must. Drive to Target with a baby screaming in the backseat and a big girl looking worriedly at her baby brother... even she knows this is a bad idea. Pull into the parking lot, take the baby out of the car seat and nurse him. Fifteen minutes later, after putting him back in the car seat, we find a buggy and put him in the back and big girl in the front, all while he's crying, and I'm dying of mortification, because I know every one in Target thinks I'm the worst mother ever to have children and most of the time I agree with them. We attempted to walk around for a few minutes, but after realizing this was not going to end, we left the store with nothing and piled back in the car, while the baby cried all the way home. When I got home that day I decided I would never, ever leave the house again.
This was the beginning of my serious doubts and misgivings of my marriage as well. I was struggling as a mother with two little babies and I was seriously regretting my choices in life. I needed my husband, but he was busy. He was working full time and had accepted a position at our church as youth pastor that required a lot of time and commitment. I was angry with him for being gone and I was jealous because we had always planned to do ministry together. I wanted to help him change the world, but I couldn't even pull myself together to go to Target. My anger grew daily. The man I loved was becoming a stranger and my happy, little life was losing all it's luster. The Honeymoon was over.
I remember one night when he was getting ready for a youth event. I was so mad at him for leaving me alone again. I was seriously regretting marriage and children. I SUCKED at this and I couldn't function by myself and I wasn't doing any of the important things that I had set out to do. Having children wasn't supposed to require so much. I don't remember what I said to him, but I will never forget the look in his eyes, when he finally broke his silence. For the first time I could see life from his perspective. Here was the same beautiful man that I had said yes to. The man who was changing right before my eyes from the man I had dated and married to a Father and a husband who's shoulders were weighted down with responsibility. He was a man who was trying to do his best to do all it all. He was a man that was trying to make his wife happy, be a good father, work full time and be a mentor to a group of teenagers and he was overwhelmed too.
In that moment my heart broke. Instead of falling more in love with this beautiful man, my love was dying. My love was based on a fairytale. My love was conditional. My love was selfish. My love wasn't love at all.
I ran to my closet (that's where I go to meet with the Lord) and I cried and poured out my heart to him. I confessed all my junk to him and I screamed and raged at him for allowing me to have this beautiful life that I was destroying. Why would He allow someone so ill-equipped to be a mother and a wife. WHY?????????????
As I lay on that floor that night crying out to God, He met me there, and like the night on the bridge when I wanted to end it all, He spoke to my heart and reassured me that He could help me, and His word would be my guide. I was never meant to do all this in my own strength and I had been too stubborn to cry out for help. I had to learn a valuable lesson that night, that I try to remember every day of my life... God is waiting for me to seek him. He will always be found when I seek him. He will always answer when I call. He will always help me when I am overwhelmed.
"I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." Psalms 34:4
The Word of God is full of promises to His people. He promises to be a Shepherd to his sheep, but we sheep have a character flaw that makes it hard for Him to lead us... we like to stray.
I had no idea what being a mother was all about. I had no idea what being a wife was all about. I really believed that my husband's job in life was to fill me and make me happy. I had placed a burden on him that he couldn't bear. He was never meant to complete me. There is only one who can fill me. There is only one who be all the things that I need. I forget daily.
From that night on the Word of God was my guide and He began to teach me, lead me and guide me. I still mess up. I'm still learning. I still need daily reminders, but God is faithful.
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and without reproach; and it shall be given him." James 1:5
Even though the Honeymoon was over and the fairytale had ended something more amazing has taken it's place. Real Love. Selfless Love. Love that puts the other person above self.
"Love is patient, love is kind, love does not envy, love does not boast, love is not arrogant. Love does not behave itself rudely, SEEKS NOT HER OWN WAY, is not easily provoked, love keeps NO RECORD OF WRONGS;...Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things." I Cor, 13:4-7
I had expectations that did not resemble real life and I held onto them until those expectations threatened to destroy my beautiful little life. I expected to be a good mother. I didn't have a clue. I expected a fairytale marriage. I had no clue. I had no idea how hard all of this was going to be, but I have had to learn to love the hard, because it is the very thing that draws me to my knees and closer to the true lover of my soul. Jesus. He is everything I need.