Mothering has changed me in too many ways to count.
There are the obvious things you’d expect to hear; it shifted my priorities, made me a expert matcher-of-sippy-cups-to-lids, and blessed me with some understanding of my own parents’ love and sacrifice.
But at the end of that warm and fuzzy list, another change lurks in the shadows.
Becoming a mother has made me more sensitive to pain. Fear. Loss. It’s almost as if I’ve developed a sixth sense that’s every bit as powerful as sight. The sense of empathy for mothers and children who are hurting.
This instinctive empathy is a gift. A blessing. I know what to say when before the words wouldn’t come. I can soothe, heal, and comfort with my hands. I have the patience to sit with a woman in grief or a child who’s stuck on the monkey bars.
In another way, though, empathy can turn into pain by proxy. Now that I have children of my own I can’t hear of a tragedy and not let myself go there, to that place of imagining another mother’s pain.
The most dramatic example of this occurred in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010. My daughter was then 8 months old and I was just finding my footing as a mother of three. I cried with the women who searched the rubble for children whose hands they’d held as the ground shook. I clicked through images on my computer screen and the pain washed over me in waves.
I sat in my comfortable chair nursing my daughter as her brothers played LEGOs at my feet. I prayed for God to arrive in that place of destruction and devastation.
But in that moment I came to understand that He was already there. He’d been there all along.
He was there when the earth shook, too, when the walls buckled, when the sky grew dark with dust.
God knows this life is hard. He knows our suffering, our struggles, our fears. But He is with us in the midst of our pain.
My prayer now is not for God to arrive in places of pain, but for the hurting to open their palms and receive Him.
By Mary Lauren of My 3 Little BirdsLeave a Comment
thank you, mary~~~ and now as a grandmother of six, i am blessed to pray for them and for other grandmothers across the world!
Amy Hunt says
Ah, yes–purpose in all, even the pain. Seeing this is a gift. And sharing it is your worship.
Rich blessings as He leads you closer to Him and shows you ways to share Him.
Beth W says
You certainly have a way with words!@
Everyone needs to hear: Purpose in pain! God sends trials to everyone to test us & refine us like gold!
Just pray that all peoples everywhere would open their eyes & palms to see & receive the wonderful grace & mercy God can hand out so generously!
Mary Lauren @My3LittleBirds says
Thank you all for your sweet words. It’s hard to make sense of tragedy…impossible sometimes. But there is comfort in knowing that we can still look for God in those events.
You post is right on. As a mom who over 13 years ago moved to Haiti with a 1 year old and years later returned with a 4 month old I totally agree. It is hard to make sense of tragedy but in many ways Haiti is better for the earthquake. People turned to God. The first night after the quake, just arriving to Port-au-Prince from northern Haiti I listened with tears as 40,000+ people sat under the stars singing praises to their Lord. Most had lost everything but their lives yet they praised their Lord. Amazing. The Haitian people continue to teach me how to praise the Lord through the hard parts of this life. They look forward to meeting Him and having Him dry their tears.
Beautiful post. Motherhood has taught me some incredible lessons and helped me understand infinitely more about our Father’s Love for us. In the trials and heartbreak, there is so much to be learned.
Thank you! This is a beautiful way to remind those who ask, “God, where are You?” that He is right there, holding them and simply waiting for them to turn to Him.
Julie Sunne says
“My prayer now is not for God to arrive in places of pain, but for the hurting to open their palms and receive Him.” Unclenching our fists to receive Him is so difficult to do but so freeing and healing. He’s there, we just need to rest in His arms, and let the pain go–the best way to live! Beautiful prayer!
Heidi White says
The parallel lines of motherhood – joy and pain, hope and fear. I feel that bone deep, just like you. Thank you for articulating the redemption inherent in that juxtaposition. I love your heart and learned from your thoughts. Many blessings.
Betty Draper says
Becoming a mother has made me more sensitive to pain. Fear. Loss. It’s almost as if I’ve developed a sixth sense that’s every bit as powerful as sight. The sense of empathy for mothers and children who are hurting.——-
That statement is so true, so very true. I could not help but think back to our first after 12 years of marrige and 6 miscarriages. Like all first time mother I was not prepared for the fear that comes in after that rush of love hit us as we kiss that child who has been incased inside a body designed by God to protect that child. It’s a fear that even when your child is an adult comes in to steal the joy of having children. Only a continual turning them over to Him who knew them even before we knew they were growing in the womb drives the fear away. Children give us just a little touch of insight into that pure love God has for us. Great post…