When Being a Mom Teaches You How to Be a Daughter
Every morning I sit at the kitchen table with my Bible, journal, and a cup of coffee while my eighteen-month-old plays nearby.
If this sounds idyllic to you, please let me assure you that my time with the Lord is far from perfect and why I try to never rely on this chunk of time to be my only source of connection with him. There are times when I'm attempting to write prayers in my journal and my daughter is reaching for my pen, or I'm reading the Word and she's whining at my side. There are times when she's happily playing on her own and there are other times when all she wants is Mommy. Each morning when I sit down, I never know what I'm going to get.
Lately I've been learning how to lean into these interruptions instead of becoming irritated or frustrated. I see the excitement with which she brings me a book to read to her and how she looks to me to clap or praise her when she does something that makes her feel proud. And as I realize just how innocent and incredible she is, I'm just completely drawn in by her, wanting to soak up every moment. I can't help but smile and put my pen down to watch what she does next. In these moments I often find myself saying aloud to the Lord, "She's so beautiful." I picture him and I both smiling, admiring, and delighting in her together.
And sometimes I hear him say, like a whisper to my heart, "Just as I delight in her, I delight in you."
I'm brought to tears every time I attempt to fathom this. To be honest, a large part of me just can't picture God adoring me in the ways I adore my sweet girl. Because she is innocent, but I am not. She is unstained by the world, but I have a less-than-pretty past. She is full of beauty in every way, but I'm a wretched mess.
And yet I am learning.
There are some mornings when my soul starts to feel more full as I lean into the idea of the Father loving me as his daughter. It's been a slow process, a journey of healing for me. He still has so much to teach me through the way I care for and raise my daughter and I'm just at the beginning.
But how beautiful it is to know that motherhood is not just about playing a role in my children's lives, but is also a transformative journey I'm walking through with the Lord.
Being a mom is teaching me how to be a daughter.
As I feel and show unconditional love for my child, I'm beginning to understand how my Father must love me. How I am already valued and cherished for who I am and how he made me. How his approval or forgiveness doesn't have to be earned through my perfection. The Lord is always eager to embrace me and shower me with his love, no matter the mistakes I make, just as the father who runs to embrace his broken, wayward son (Luke 15:20).
As I'm at the beginning stages of discipline with my daughter, the Lord's discipline for me is starting to make more sense. He's not out to punish me; his purposes in disciplining are good. He wants to mold me to look more like his Son and for me to "share in his holiness" and reap "a harvest of righteousness and peace" (Hebrews 12:10-11).
As I laugh and smile at my sweet girl's silly ways and delight in watching her learn and play, I picture Jesus smiling down at her, too. For a brief moment, I also imagine him smiling at me. Because even though I'm not a little girl anymore, I'm still his girl. He made me, designed every facet of my being, and he is proud of his work (Psalm 139:13-14).
As I never fail to see my daughter's beauty amidst the mess -- the spaghetti sauce she's wearing on her shirt, the many stinky diapers I change in one day, or the redness of her face from crying and screaming to get her way -- it seems more possible to me that God never fails to see my beauty amidst the mess, too. Even on my worst hair days, in my worst moments of rage, and when my puffy eyes reveal a sad, broken heart, he declares over me, "you are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you" (Song of Solomon 4:7).
As I desire what's best for my daughter, wanting to meet both her needs and wants, it is easier to believe that my Father wants to give good gifts to his daughters. If I, as flawed and selfish as I am, still long to shower my girl with the best of the best, then surely the Lord has perfect gifts in mind for me, too (Matthew 7:11).
Through my daily motherhood, I am continually being challenged to reconsider how the Lord sees me and feels about me. And what a gift this is -- to be able to catch glimpses of the Father's love for me through the way I love my children!
For so long, I have carried hurt, doubt, and lies from my past, but becoming a mom has been one of the biggest catalysts in my life for finding healing, fixing my flawed thinking, and entering into a deeper relationship with the Lord.
For the first time in a long time, I'm beginning to feel worthy. Worthy of love. Worthy of acceptance. Worthy of being delighted in.
And as I reflect on these things, I feel a longing in my heart for other women and mamas like me to feel worthy of these things, as well.
Do you believe that the Lord delights in you?
The next time you find yourself captivated by your child's beauty or tickled pink by their silliness or feeling a deep pride over the simplest things they say or do, I challenge you to stop and imagine what the Father must feel in that same moment -- not just towards them, but towards you. His daughter. His beloved.
Would you find it in yourself, even if just for that moment, to believe that he is embracing you? Lovingly disciplining you? Smiling because of you? Declaring you beautiful? Showering you with good gifts?
Yes, you are their mother. But you are still also his daughter.
The enemy is skilled at holding us captive with his lies, many of which originated from childhood wounds. But the Lord's longing has always been for us to be set free. And I believe that for many of us, his plan is to break our chains of captivity through our motherhood journey.
Each time we are emptied out for the sake of our children, he wants to be the one to fill us back up. Each time we are brought to our breaking point, he wants to be the one to piece us back together. Each time we are asked to give grace and patience beyond what we've ever given before, he wants to shape and strengthen our hearts to carry a deeper love -- his love.
Because as we allow him to pursue us and do these things for us, he is able to show us who he really is. And this is where the healing begins.
Lies dismantled by the truth.
Fear cast out by perfect love.
Our hearts tenderly cared for by the Father.