The fifth child, he turns nine now.
The child I didn’t know I wanted.
He may or may not be the one who confused the scultping wax for playdough the other night and put it in the fridge by that can of molding spaghetti sauce.
He is the one that our doctor called The Beach Boy Baby, him with this mop of crazy curls, the son I shear like a lamb by the certain request of one Farmer.
When a well-intentioned woman in the produce section of Zehrs shakes a cucumber at our son — tells us that that little girl had the most beautiful blue eyes, the Farmer says right then, it’s shearing time.
When all his wisps fall to the floor, I don’t know how to sweep up sheer love.
More times than I can count I want to sweep that under the rug, what John Wesley said: “I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England.” This is not easy, being a mother, and it is a vocation, a calling, and God’s Word, it will not return void.
Before I turn out the light in the washroom last night, I see a muddy remote control car that some boy left in the shower. I am not sure what that means. Malakai, all boy, he would tell me all about it. He would tell me with a lisp and words said far too fast and he would tell me loud. Others wouldn’t understand but I would. His mother would.
I remember him before he came, those months when he grew within and made me green, and me laying my head against a cold window in the dark of night. Telling God I just didn’t think I could, and I didn’t know how, and how does a weary mother become the dwelling place of Christ?
There are dump trucks and wagons and tractors left out by the wheat field tonight.
I sit with them awhile.
I know I don’t pass this way again many times.
Tonka yellow and how many sons and how many summers and the way a boy bends over dirt, prayers for God to make something big of his dust frame.
How many boys made men, right here, rising right up out of the ground?
I pick up a dump truck.
How can rusty, bent steel make a mama hurt for all that’s slid away?
A Velveteen Mother — made Real by the years — the way grace can happen to you. And not all at once — but you become. And grace becomes you.
To be just a Velveteen Mother: worn and weathered down to the exquisite beauty of the frame of the Cross.
It’s the threadbare simplicity of the thing: a Velveteen mother — softened and strengthened by the years, rubbed down to the essence of Gospel — like the Lion Who sacrifices Himself as a Lamb.
And maybe that is all — a Velveteen Mother is a mother who keeps bending her worn knees with prayers that her child may walk straight paths. Never ceasing to pray for her own crooked heart.
Never forgetting — Train up a child in the way he should go and be ready to forgive him. The Way he should go is down a road named Grace.
Why do I forget that becoming Real — becoming a velveteen mother — it will hurt in a thousand ways?
The weary and the wearing away and it the most beautiful part.
The six of them, they have made me sing and sob and they have made me know my sin. Strange, how hurting can heal. Strange, how sometimes we need what we don’t even know we want. Strange, how He makes ashes into beauty.
I have loved it here — the wonder of them.
I move slow across the lawn, into home lights.
There are Raggedy Dolls still out on the old wooden ironing board there at the back door.
There are wrinkles I’ve made that there’s no ironing out.
There is that — the wearing of all the wrinkles out with love.
And I can feel this, how I carry this in, right there in my chest — God making something big of all this dust.
The Raggedies, the Tonkas, the one wondrous child after one — this wearing away of everything down to pure, holy love.
This all the learning that matters —
love the indwelling of all the realest real.
How has motherhood hurt and healed you?
How is it making you realest most beautiful real?
Tell us about where you are in your personal mothering journey? How can we pray with you?