I have loved my mother for four decades now. I loved who she was as a mother and who she is as a person even through my teen years. She made me homemade yogurt and waited tables. She went to nursing school miles away at night and together with my father made me feel as if I was at the center of a world of love. I joke about how I grew up in hippy love and I did. There were lots of adults around me, modeling love for me.
I chose a different world in my teen years . . . and it was a strain on my relationship with my parents. I entered into the world of the church and a new-to-us evangelical culture. It felt so different from my own day-to-day life at home, really odd at times, but in between those two cultures, my faith took deep root.
When I typed “evangelical women” into Google here is the number 2 image that came up . . .
As Sarah Palin has at times, felt polarizing to me, I have found myself unsure of how to navigate the waters of the issues of motherhood in the church. While I grew up in a world where choosing what is best for you and your family was a very personal and individual choice, if I am honest, I have felt much less of that freedom in the church. This is deeply personal, and subjective, but when I have had discussions about motherhood, foster care and decisions around parenting, discipline, and childcare in the church, very often I have felt as if there are distinct right and wrong decisions in the views of other mothers, and I have felt alone and uncertain.
* I don’t feel this all the time. I have lots of great Christian and Evangelical mother friends, but it is something that I am wrestling with .
So I dove all the way in this year, and I joined a “mother’s group” at our church. My reasoning is two fold.
1) I want to take the time to focus all of my attention and thoughts on mothering and what it means to be a mother. This group at our church has an hour of teaching on these issues each week.
2) I wanted to face this culture that feels limiting and scary, face my own fear and find my voice in the midst of a culture that has been foreign to me for four decades.
I have only been a handful of times, and I have experienced both the beauty and the fear.
I am embracing motherhood everyday with our little guy. I DO love it, and I am living it out with as much of the love and peace as I can from my own childhood.
I am also a woman of deep faith, and I am seeking to live that out every day, encouraging our little guy to discover not only the beauty in our world, but to recognize the story behind the story we see (Oh and Colton, do you have a story already!).
Andrew and I are seeking together what that all looks like for us, for me, for Cole. And truth be told, it sometimes looks different from the choices that other families make. But I am growing in confidence in my decisions . . . .
So while all of these women together are still pretty intimidating to me . . .
I am praying that as I meet around the table with a dozen of them each week, I will find my own voice and place in this culture as well.
As I turn 40, I am embracing motherhood.