As mother day approaches I think about all the seasons I have been in as a mother. New mother, newborn, toddler, mom of two, exhausted and blissful, tired and angry, a little bitter, and greatly overjoyed. As soon as I got the hang of one I would instantly be thrown into a new emotion, a new season, and wonder if I was thriving or just simply surviving. At some point in each hard season I would try to hurry to the next.
We are about to enter into yet another new season, another season of hard and exhausting and while I know there is light at the end of the tunnel there will be no way around the hard. No way around the sleepless nights and hormonal ups and downs, no way around the crying and the straight up fear that comes with having a newborn. No way around the utter joy and yet very real challenge of having three kids ages 3 to 0. Sometimes there is just no way around.
When we were on car trips as kid my mom had this camp song she would sing with us to pass the time. We would pat our hands on our knees one hand at a time so it sounded like walking and say “going on a bear hunt… oh there is a lake, can’t go around it, can’t go over it, got to go through it.” This went on for what seemed like hours (doesn’t everything feel that way as a kid) with all different scenarios where you had to go through the challenge for this bear hunt (we were a super cool family). I have been thinking about that silly song as I think about motherhood.
Sometimes you just have to go through it. The good the bad and the ugly. The challenges, the joys, and the unknown. Don’t blink or you will miss it, don’t wish it away or you will regret it, and if you enjoy it all see your nearest psychiatrist (kidding). I am very much on my bear hunt and every day seems to have a different challenge in store for us that I must go through.
However none of my diaper drama seems to compare to all the mothers in a season of loss, where mother’s day might be sweet but also have a twinge of real pain. I have asked God many times why mothers must ever go through the pain of losing a child. It seems senseless, unfair, and just plain cruel.
Our community is currently reeling from a tragic car accident at UGA that killed four young girls. I am thinking about the hunt their mothers are on, a tearful journey to find peace in the midst of unbearable pain. The process of going through the bear hunt without one of your cubs. If only motherhood came with guarantees of healthy babies and days that looked more like those diaper commercials. It never seems to be that way. Motherhood seems to be a process of going through season after season where we are refined into the woman God needs us to be. At a vigil for these young women the mom of one of the girls said she was of course in terrible pain but still believed God was a good father. Wow. That is a voice of a mother refined by fire. Sometimes the only guarantee that we can cling to is that God offers hope in the darkest of days. Even when our seasons are terrible he is still good.
My sister in law said recently said she’s so glad she’s not the woman she was before she had kids and I couldn’t agree more. This hunt of mine has lead me through so many challenges that has refined my soul. I’ve needed each season. There is no greater teacher than selfless servanthood.
So no matter the season, press on, go through it. Find that bear, and lean into our Good Good father when the journey seems too much.