They say if you love something you let it go. That’s stupid, by the way, at least most of the time. Sure, there’s an element of truth, but it’s also a lot of nonsense. I love my daughters so I would never “let them go” in to a busy parking lot… see what I mean?
Here’s the truth: If you love something (or someone), you will refine it.
Bless our God, O peoples,
When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, my excitement wasn’t withheld. I was so happy! However, when I found out I was pregnant again only a year after the first one was born, I was NOT so happy. I got over it, of course, but it was different that time. You see, I knew what being a mommy really meant.
It’s so much more than growing a baby in your belly, it’s so much more than a delivery room experience, and it’s so much more than bringing baby home to a pretty crib with matching sheet sets. Being a mom (or a dad) is a refining process.
When that baby comes home your will will be tested. Your comfort will be stripped. Your heart will be laid bare for all to see. You will be more vulnerable and weak than you ever thought possible. And that doesn’t end when they start sleeping through the night, although it certainly doesn’t hurt.
As a new mom I often wondered if I was fit for the job, and sometimes I still do. But, you see, this is a refining, this is a changing. God is working on me still, as an adult and mom, because He loves me. He has searched me and known me. He chose me just to love me. He calls me daughter and friend. He chose me to be the mommy of these two little girls.
And some days it doesn’t feel like it, but he made me for this very journey. The moment he formed me in my mother’s womb, He knew the forms that would begin in my womb, as well. This motherhood thing is a refining process. By definition it will take time. He is constantly shaving down my rough edges if I am willing to be malleable.
I am not the same person I was when I began this journey, and I am certainly still not the person I should be. I have seen myself in some really bad lighting – God has stripped me to see the dark makings of the hidden places of my heart and I don’t like it. I don’t like what I see there, hiding in the shadows – the ugly me that no one else sees. But, in this motherhood lighting, it is all exposed, brought to light so that it can be eradicated, like a tumor cut out with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel.
Motherhood has driven me to my knees in more ways than I care to admit. It has made me angrier and more fearful than I ever thought possible. Motherhood has thrown me onto the stage of courage and has left me beaming with pride. It has built up in me tears of excitement, joy, confusion, and loneliness. It is a process, a refining process, developed over diaper changes, tantrums, sleepless nights, hospital visits, sing offs, car rides, hungry shopping trips, explosions of various kinds, hugs, kisses, and night-time prayers.
One of my favorite books is Hinds Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard. It depicts the journey of Much Afraid from her home in the Valley of Humiliation and her Fearing family to the High Places of the Shepherd. Seems like a lovely, tale, yes? However, her companions on the journey were Sorrow and Suffering. She eventually makes it to the High Places, but not before experiencing the refining of obstacles, trials, doubting, fear, and, yes, mistakes along the way. But, do you know what? When she arrives at her destination, not only has her location changed, but so has she. She is different now. She has passed through the fire and has come forth as gold.
We are responsible for being willing, but God is responsible for doing the changing.
And He will refine His children.
It seems a horrible thing to compare parenting to trial by fire; however, many days that’s exactly what it is. But it is also, I believe, one of its intentions and, therefore, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way EVERLASTING.” Psalm 139:23 (emphasis added)
If you are a parent, do you relate to the refining process? In what ways? Let's talk about it. I'd love to hear what you have to say.
And if you haven't read Hinds Feet on High Places, you can buy it here.
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