Cradling a newborn is a true assault on the senses. The velvety touch of their skin and that enticing but indescribable smell, these little mini-mes were intoxicating. Yet while I hitherto didn’t know I could love this much; I also didn’t know it was possible to be this tired. In all that I had meticulously prepared for, swirling feelings of helplessness, exhaustion, and the constant need to prioritise another’s needs over my own left me unexpectedly oscillating between happiness and despair. Motherhood, I discovered, contained a plethora of paradoxes; It could fill your heart and break it all at the same time.

Navigating the reality of becoming a mother is a roller coaster. As time passes there are the euphoric highs of firsts; smiles, words, and steps. Those moments of joy are indelibly etched in the mind forever and compensate for the tears and tantrums, as these little people develop opinions and desires that they rely on you wholeheartedly to validate and fulfil. 

As each day passes, we give more of ourselves until oftentimes our identities become firmly entwined with that of our children. Sometimes we relish this feeling willingly giving our hearts and minds over to hopes and dreams for their future, trying to savour each experience as we know time passes so quickly and they will soon be fully grown. Other times, we long for just a few moments on our own, and reminisce about the freedom and spontaneity which no longer characterises our lives.


Finding my tribe

While motherhood is a complete sacrifice of alone time, it can also be lonely (yet another paradox) and finding a group of people who are in the same carriage on the rollercoaster can help to mitigate the challenges. Finding likeminded sojourners can turn surviving into thriving. Sharing the struggles of parenting can open doors to wonderful friendships and in my case even led to the life changing experience of finding Jesus.

"Finding likeminded sojourners can turn surviving into thriving.""

This quest for adult company led me to a toddler group in the local church. A peaceful and inviting haven where struggles seemed to melt away and warm coffee and an even warmer welcome were on offer. In finding respite for a few hours, I also found space to pause and consider my surroundings. In that moment I experienced a lightbulb moment in my mind and a softening of my heart to the invitation to faith from my newfound friends. I believe I met with Jesus there, the metaphorical arms of God wrapping around me as the physical limbs of the group leader embraced me each week.

God has sustained me

Having God in my life has been a real comfort and has provided an invaluable lens through which to see and make sense of the ups and downs of motherhood. The ultimate weapon in my armoury when things felt hard, the anchoring point around which to draw my lines in the sand when establishing boundaries for my children, and a compass to navigate the unknowns in the messy, chaotic process of growing up. In Isaiah 66:13, He says: As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” And He has held true to His word!

I found I needed God more than ever as wants and needs continued to evolve from the simplistic to the more complex. As physical attachment lessened and emotional dependence deepened. As they became more cognisant of the world around them, so did I, and felt the need to impart my wisdom on safety, morality and responsibility. I saw this as necessary for their flourishing, they saw it as unjustly limiting of their freedoms, a heady mix of feelings and hormones driving us apart.

They no longer hung on my every word, the veil of parental infallibility well and truly lifted. I was ousted from my position at the centre of their world, replaced by peers and TikTok. In these moments when messages were unanswered and one-way conversations became the norm, I longed for that little hand to hold, one more bedtime story, and the feeling of being needed.

""As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.""

Coping with the shifting realities of being a mother would have been impossible without God by my side. He has been the ultimate companion as I have prayed through my dreams, fears and frustrations. He has listened to my despair and frustration, shared in my happiness and driven me on when being all things to all people overwhelmed me and when feeling like the opposite was equally heart-wrenching. His love for me has defined the size and shape of my love for them, always wanting it to be bigger and wider as I attempted to model the infinite depths of our heavenly Father’s love for His children.

I am so grateful to God for my family and for His faithfulness in journeying with me as I navigate the many variables of motherhood. Everyday I strive to set an example, however imperfect, of honouring God by demonstrating love, compassion, humility, and respect. And taking them by their not-so-little hands and leading them to the fullness of life in Christ.



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Navigating the complexities of Mother's Day

Navigating the complexities of Mother's Day

How do we lovingly embrace the complexities of this significant day in our society’s calendar as churches and as Christians in our communities?