Lord, Just Give Me a Breather

My first day of college orientation, I remember sitting in a large auditorium filled with thousands of other terrified newbie’s. We were given the standard lecture:

“Ladies and gentlemen, please take a moment to look to your right and your left. Take a good looong look. Because four years from now, only one of you will graduate. Will it be you?”

I remember looking at my roommate and rolling my eyes. I didn’t really believe that statistic. I mean, you don’t work hard your entire school career to finally get into the college you want and then . . .what?  Walk away?

But, as the years went by, I saw that it was true. The more I studied and prayed for the breaks that would give me a breather, the more I realized why this statistic was still used.  As the semesters wound down, so did the numbers of fellow students.

And, so it became a lesson in determination for me. I was NOT going to give in. Even when life threw curves at me, when I wondered if I would afford the next semester, when I felt like I’d never discover what it was I wanted to do, I refused to give up.

Six years later, married, and with my first child, I sat in Lamaze class (please tell me they don’t still do those) and listened to another lecture from my teacher:

“You can do this, moms. It’s all in your head. You have to believe in yourself. Believe in your body. Or it will never work.”

If I could walk back into that Lamaze class . . . I’d shove that woman down. I might even hold her to the floor with my big toe for good measure.

I mean, really? Did she even have children?

It’s not about head power. It has nothing to do with believing in yourself. It’s about pure grit and determination that you will make it through to the other side and find success. It’s about pushing that baby out, then pushing them on towards life for the rest of ours. It’s about wanting to say more than anything, “Lord, just give me a breather.” But then sucking it up and taking it like a man, anyway.

Mother’s are warriors of the best kind. They fight the good fight. They refuse to give up. They never consider their own safety. And, they are never, ever afraid of voices in the night.

Motherhood has been the very best thing to ever cross my winding path. It’s made me a better person. A kinder person (all shoving aside). A more accepting person. It’s taken the fears in my life and forced me to face them head on. It’s brought me to tears, to my knees, and most importantly to God. It was the single determining factor in the decision to investigate my faith. And, thirteen years into motherhood, I’m a better person for it.

But, there have been times when I’ve wanted to throw in the towel. To step away from the messy life and remember what it was like to pee alone. There have been heartaches for my children that literally made me feel as if my child’s offender had personally reached into my chest and ripped my own heart out. And, as I get further into tweenhood, there have been times when I’ve looked at my precious babies and wondered how such a sassy mouth could come from such a small body.

But, of course I would never give up. It’s the ride of a lifetime. And like all difficulties we go through in life, I’m beginning to see that as my children age up, the blessings come on the other side.

20 years out of college now (please don’t do the math), I look back on that time and wonder how it was that someone with little faith in herself, could hold on to that thread and continue through to the end. It’s much like my life as a mother. It’s challenging. It’s a little scary. It’s hard to find your place at times. But, it’s also the best decision I’ve ever made. And, the one thing I thank God for the most.

Motherhood done my way. With grit. With determination. With Grace.

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