Recently I was asked to contribute an example of how I have experienced growth in the past year or two for a local Women's Conference for my church. I thought I'd share my response here because it was a good opportunity for me to reflect. I feel a little vulnerable putting it out there, but sometimes that can be a good thing.
If I step back and view my life over the past couple years from a different perspective, the growth I see immediately is individual. Growth as a woman, a wife, a mother, a spiritual being.
I’ll start at the beginning. I had three children and spent much of my time feeling overwhelmed and that my life was in chaos, when I started feeling prompted that I had a child waiting for me. I ignored the promptings for a couple years! But finally I decided that I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I ignored so many promptings that were so obvious to me. In prayer, I told Heavenly Father that I was ready to follow through and grow my family on one condition: this would be the last one. (My pregnancies are difficult and I have had to go on bed rest each time, so I knew that a pregnancy would be hard on my entire family.) I remember when I saw my positive pregnancy test I fell to the floor dramatically and broke down in tears. When I saw my ultrasound and saw that there were two babies I couldn’t stop laughing. I felt like Heavenly Father had heard me and loved me and had a funny sense of humor and I had a calm feeling that I knew I would be okay. I had never thought I would be the mother of five children and it sure sounded like a lot! (It still does.)
While I lay in bed growing babies, I thought about how motherhood had really caught me by surprise. I had thought it would come naturally and it didn’t! I laid there and watched my three children and my love for them grew. My understanding of them as individuals grew. My appreciation for them in my life grew. I grew a new understanding of what made each of them tick. They would come into my bed and talk with me. They were God’s children, not mine, and I never had seen that more clearly. As I laid there I realized how much they had been teaching me since they came into my life. I felt the power of family, that we are sent here in each other’s keeping, and the relationships go both ways—parents teaching their children and children teaching their parents, both needing each other’s wisdom and understanding and love. I felt immensely blessed to be a mother. I felt so grateful that I had a husband who was my equal partner in every sense of the word, and as I laid in bed I watched him take on so much and still have love and comfort left to give me. People kept asking how I was managing such a huge trial, but all I could see laid out in front of me were blessings.
As I laid in bed, I learned about service. I watched as women served me in the ways that they felt comfortable. Some made meals, some took children, some did laundry, some prayed, some made schedules…different people felt comfortable serving in different ways. I felt like my understanding of what service is grew and I felt more confident that I was capable of serving in whatever capacity I could and that would be good enough.
When the babies came into our lives, any fears were replaced with joys. All worries were replaced with love and adoration for these new individuals. I no longer languished in the misgivings about motherhood, but I gladly accepted it wholeheartedly. That didn’t mean that it wasn’t hard, but although it was hard it was a privilege and a blessing. It was saving me. I had grown in my understanding that anything that is worthwhile is hard.
I feel constant guidance. I feel consistent love. I understand that this path is one of progression. All because I have embraced motherhood.
I took these pictures. I made this stuff with my own two hands. I wrote these words. It's just a bunch of craziness, but it's what in this noggin. If you're going to use any of my stuff for your own stuff, just ask me. (I'm sure I'll say yes. I'm nice like that.) And a little linkie love never hurt anyone if you know what I'm sayin;)