Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Mother's Heart: God's Amazing Design

This weekend I read Shauna Niequist's book, Bittersweet.On Saturday night it was late, I was tired, and I tried to go to bed, but I was haunted by the epilogue and several of the  chapters of Shauna's book. I had read her book more quickly than I usually read. It resonated with me on so many levels. But the epilogue was the real kicker. So, Saturday night, I wrote a letter to Shauna. I'm not sure if I'll ever send it or if she would read it even if I did. But I need to share this with someone, so I'm sharing it with you (whoever you are!)

Dear Shauna,

I just finished reading Bittersweet. It's late on Saturday night and I can't sleep after reading the epilogue of your book. As I read it, I said to God, as I've said to Him many times before, "How much can a mother's heart take!?" I cried for your twins. I cried for you. Like yours, my motherhood has been assaulted, not in the same way, but equally painful and tragically.

As I asked God how much a mother's heart could take... again... especially just as it's realizing new life again, to have it ripped away, I realized something. God created a mother's heart to be amazingly resilient. It can take such a brutal beating and yet continue to hope. It can be so severely wounded and yet never stop trying to nurture life. It never stops taking the risk of being hurt again. Even when we know the pain and brokenness that can come from our children or from the loss of them, we risk it all  to try again. We know we may be devastated again, and yet we continue trying to nurture life.

I lost my 15-year-old daughter in a car accident six years ago. My son has been fighting a raging battle with addiction for almost as long. My heart cries for him daily. I grieve more for him than I do for my daughter after six years of her being gone.

Even with all the excruciating pain that I've felt for my two older kids, my husband and I are risking it all again and adopting our granddaughter (our son's daughter.) She bears the same name and many of the same features of our daughter. Our son wanted to honor his sister by naming his daughter after her. It's easier now, but at first, it hurt every time I said her name.

I know the risks. I know there are no guarantees. I know there's a chance I could be devastated for a third time, and yet I choose to hope. I choose to take the risk and the leap of faith. My husband and I chose to take this leap because we know it's not about us. We must take the chance so that she can have a chance at life. That's what parents do. That's what mothers do.

God created our hearts to be tender, loving and nurturing, but he also built in a belligerent, undying hope that won't quit. It's why we're called Steel Magnolias. (I love that movie!)

And so, after may battles in prayer, sometimes shaking my fist at God and begging his forgiveness at the same time, I place my trust firmly in Him and I hope unswervingly. I have hope for my son... that my miracle-working God can and will deliver him from the incredibly powerful talons of addiction. I hope unswervingly for my daughter, who is the lucky one. She gets to be in His presence. And I hope unswervingly for my granddaughter, soon to be my daughter, that she will become the young woman God created her to be. I hope unswervingly that every battle scar I bear, every wound my heart has born will be worth it. I choose to hope.

Thanks for writing Bittersweet. I know it speaks to many women, young and old, mothers and those who want so desperately to be mothers. I'll be looking for more to come from Shauna Neiquist!

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I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think and how I can pray for you. Most of us are carrying some pretty heavy baggage and the good news is, you don't have to carry it alone! You can lay it at the feet of Jesus, and sometimes we need help just letting go of our baggage and not picking it up again. We're in this together!