I thought I had it mastered. Motherhood that is. It was my job. Actually, it became my identity. And despite my intentional efforts to let my chicks fly when the nest emptied, at some point, I began to ride the roller coaster of young adult life with them – through the ups and downs of depression, cultural temptations, and millennial norms. A philosophy degree was just sprinkles on the already-challenging collegiate cake. Over time, I learned that I was way too overconfident in my parenting abilities when I proudly released them into the world.
Despite the trials, I wouldn’t trade the title of “Mom” for anything – although I would have been happy to have done without the modifier “single” that came before it. I willingly and happily surrendered my budding career as a project leader at a large pharmaceutical company to change diapers, carpool kids, and fulfill all domestic duties – laundry, meals, errands. Bring it on! Being a mom just fit me, and I fully embraced my role and responsibilities, even with the loneliness and isolation flying solo as a parent can bring. But through the valleys I was never alone. While raising my children I was blessed with an incredible family of fellow mothers trudging alongside me. Together we cried, prayed, and helped strengthen each other when life’s most difficult moments arrived. Many had blazed the path before me, and I hung on every word of their lived-out wisdom.
I’ll never forget when my strong-willed, 3-year-old son Nate would not get dressed for preschool. It was a fight. Every. Single. Morning. At that time, we were living in a high-rise apartment in Japan, and the school was literally on the first floor. One day my wise friend Susan, who had two older very well-behaved, blossoming daughters, looked at me with the most obvious grin and offered some seasoned advice. “Just let him go in his pajamas,” she said casually. “He’ll only go once!” The next day I tried the new tactic on my tiny terror. As our daily battle began to brew I responded calmly, “Let’s go,"and headed out the door. Puzzled he followed shoeless in his footed pajamas until we got to the elevator. When the doors opened and I stepped forward to board, he quickly scurried away to change. I smiled as I confidently headed back to the apartment. No 3-year-old would take me down!
That was 20 years ago. And as I reflect now I know for certain that I could not have survived motherhood’s struggles on my own. God has graced me at every stage with wonderful friends who have supported and loved me, but also sometimes gently rebuked me. They have been Jesus with skin on – making His presence known when I needed it the most. And they keep coming! Just in the last year I have formed deep friendships with new sisters in Christ through my church, Traders Point, and also the Indianapolis Great Banquet community.
And so this week, I say “Thank You” not only to my mother who brought me into this life but also to the incredible friends and family members who have helped sustain it. I am grateful to God for each and every one of you and am blessed to be with you as we continue to face the challenges motherhood brings – together.
"In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome this world.” (John 16:33)
A night out with some of the members of my Traders Point small group.