Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Scars on Our Hearts

I was talking with a friend the other day who is a brand new mama. She has a beautiful baby girl and she is absolutely in love...she didn't know her heart could be as full as it is for another human being. Yet, amidst all the love and fullness swirling around inside of her there is a place she notices that is not as full of life and joy as it once was. There is a place that feels weak and tired. There is a new sense of vulnerability that, some days, seems to actually ache within her.

They don't tell you about that ache in the baby books. Or maybe I just skipped that part. Maybe you
can't really grasp the reality of the ways being a mama messes with your heart until you become one. How it feels to have your heart literally seem to tear open and expand beyond what you thought possible as you hold your own vulnerable, precious, tiny baby in your arms and realize that you are the one who was chosen to care for this child. The greatness and beauty of the responsibility is awe-inspiring. Small, grasping fingers holding onto you for dear life--instinctively knowing that you are their safe place can cause a person to come absolutely undone.

I wonder, does that vulnerability ever go away? I have a sneaking suspicion that it does not. I think that once God brands us with the beautiful role of Mama, He also brands us with an ache for our children that never fades. I've talked to mamas of kids who are adults with babies of their own and mamas who's children have gone to be with the Lord and every mama I've ever met speaks tenderly of her little ones...they will always be her little ones to her.

I didn't like the ache at first. I didn't like feeling so vulnerable and exposed. And yet, the longer I am a mama (and it is a short time so far, no doubt I have much to learn) the more I see this dull ache in the background of my heart as a picture of God. He is the never-stopping, always-loving, never-gives-up-on-us Father, who has our names seared on the palm of His hand. He holds our precious tears in their very own jar and knows the exact number of hairs on our head. He hides us in the shadow of His wings and would ascend the highest heights or the lowest lows to come and rescue us from ourselves. The essence of True Love. Through our ache, we get but a small glimpse of the Greatest Love Ever Known...and yet, I doubt any human love can compare to that of a mother loving her child. It is an amazing picture of God.

So perhaps this vulnerability of being a mama is not something to try and outgrow. Perhaps instead, it is a badge to wear proudly. Our energy and vibrancy will return as our babes grow and we get more sleep. Our confidence in mothering will strengthen with each passing day as we learn the ins and outs of parenting our little ones. In many ways we will return to our "old selves" and we can look forward to laughing more and, perhaps, crying less. Yet, the beautiful scar on our hearts that appeared as it split open when we first held our little ones will remain as a picture of True Love. I think I will choose to wear it proudly.


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