With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, I’ve been spending some time contemplating this day that is heavy with significance. For many of us it is a joyful day, providing us with a chance to honor moms, grandmothers, and all the other mother figures we value and love. For those of us who are moms ourselves, we look forward to a day of being loved on by our kids (or maybe even getting a few moments away from them!).

But for some, the mere thought of Mother’s Day can evoke great pain: childless women whose payers for babies have gone unanswered . . . mothers who have suffered the unspeakable horror of losing a child . . . people who have a complicated or strained relationship with a mom who was absent or perhaps is no longer alive . . . . For these people, Mother’s Day is just another reminder of how life has fallen short of how they wish it could be.

If Mother’s Day is a hard one for you, I am truly so very sorry. Though I don’t share your experience, I understand your pain and pray that you will find peace this Sunday as those around you are celebrating, possibly unaware of your discomfort.

I am incredibly thankful that for me, Mother’s Day is a joyous occasion. I am blessed with a great mom, grandmother, and mother-in-law, and am surrounded by other wonderful mamas who I am so pleased to honor on this day. And of course, the day is even more special now that I’m a mom myself. I’m still trying to get my mind around the fact that this is the THIRD year that I get to celebrate Mother’s Day as a mom! It feels like just yesterday that I was wondering whether I’d ever experience the role of motherhood, but God was so gracious in giving me the deepest desire of my heart.

I might not always be the best mom, but one thing I am pretty good at is analyzing my role. (I’m a classic over thinker . . . and since you read my blog, you already know that!) In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m spending some time reflecting on what motherhood has been to me.

Motherhood is everything I hoped it would be, and more.

Motherhood is endless messes and (trying) to let go of my standards for a clean home.

Motherhood is giggles and silliness.

Motherhood is cradling my son as he sleeps, listening to his breath, feeling his heartbeat, knowing that he is totally mine and also totally his own, and aching with the love I feel for him.

Motherhood is lots of tears—his and mine—and navigating two very dynamic sets of emotions.

Motherhood is discovering my own shortcomings and learning to ask for help.

Motherhood is never feeling caught up on sleep (or laundry).

Motherhood is a futile quest in making enough storage on my phone for ALL the pictures!

Motherhood is finding a balance between wanting to do it all (prompted by guilt over never doing enough) and taking care of myself.

Motherhood is reading every book on every parenting topic, and then rejecting all the advice and going with my own instincts.

Motherhood is becoming part of a tribe of other moms, and feeling grateful to be surrounded by others who “get me.”

Motherhood is waiting all day for the quiet of bedtime, then missing my child once he’s asleep.

Motherhood is constantly wondering and worrying whether I am doing the right thing.

Motherhood is loving someone more than I ever thought possible . . . even when he evokes my frustration more than I ever thought possible!

Motherhood is amazement as I watch my son grow and change, accomplishing new skills and saying the silliest things and perpetually impressing me. (And it’s trying to keep from talking everyone else’s ear off about Each. New. Thing!)

Motherhood is understanding, for the first time, what it means to be a daughter, and finally appreciating my own mom for all of her sacrifices. It is recognizing that I still need her, maybe more now than ever before.

Motherhood is realizing that I am becoming my mom!

Motherhood is anxiety like I have never known as I fear for my child’s safety, his sanctity, his happiness. And it is learning to hand those fears over to God.

Motherhood is a state of perpetual grieving as I let go of my child’s younger self . . . moving past the baby years and through toddlerhood, and knowing that I will one day let him go, freeing him to become the man he will one day be.

Motherhood is falling in love with my husband in a whole new way as I see him step into his role as a Dad—and totally knock it out of the park on a daily basis.

Motherhood is a window into how my Heavenly Father loves me and the relationship He longs to share with me, His beloved child.

Motherhood is an ongoing pruning and refinement, as painful as it is necessary. It’s dying to myself again and again, seeking God’s grace as I recognize my own selfishness and inadequacies, and asking him to shape me into the Mom I know I can be.

Motherhood is the hardest, scariest, most humbling thing I have ever done. . . and also the absolute best.

To all the moms out there, I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day! And I’d love to know what motherhood is to you!

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