The Prayers and Tears of One Stepper R McCrery

How did I start this when I was explaining it to Bill over dinner?

It was during a particularly hard day a few days ago. I was in the shower, crying and praying (I find the solitude of a shower very conducive to praying and crying). I was expressing to Father that I didn't feel like I was a very good mother. That I didn't know I wasn't a good Mom until now, and that was a hard thing to come to grips with. I told Him that I was constantly exhausted and felt I had way too little patience with my wonderful children. I used to have patience. Didn't I used to have patience? I pleaded for Him to please, please help me; to lend me strength and the patience I lacked, because my children didn't deserve my limitations while I learned what I had unlearned somewhere along the way. My kids needed a good Mom now.

Then there was a moment of Grace.

I was making lunch for Wyatt and Daphne. Henry was asleep in his swing. Daphne was in her high chair and Wyatt sitting up at the counter while I sliced apples and turkey for them. They happily chatted with me and each other and I gave them their lunch as it came.

Then there was a quiet moment where the only sounds were those of tiny people chewing apples with their mouths open. In that moment, I was overcome with a feeling of joy. Oh, how I LOVED making lunch for my kids! How I loved preparing food I knew they enjoyed with careful hands - peeling the apples because Wyatt had convinced himself he didn't like the skins. Cutting everything into bite-sized pieces for Daphne because she still thought it was great fun to stuff anything bigger into her mouth all at once. I looked at my two oldest - and I was overcome with a feeling of complete and pure love.

The feeling was real - but I knew it wasn't me. This was a gift. A moment of Grace. An answer to prayer. I knew that in that moment, Heavenly Father had cleared my mind and heart of all fear, uncertainty, and crazy hormone surges - and I was allowed to feel the undiluted peace and love of a Mother.

The tears of my thankful heart somehow managed to go undetected by Wyatt - which I was grateful for. That boy gets so worried about me. My little man-of-the-house while Daddy is away.

And I remembered another time - another time of sleepless nights and prayers and tears.

It was Three O'clock in the morning. I was a brand new mother, so unprepared for how unprepared I was. My little Wyatt - now 3 weeks old - was cradled in my arms, and I rocked him in the rocking chair Bill had given me for the previous Mother's Day when we were expecting. Expecting is such a funny word for it - because I'm fairly convinced it's never what you expect.

I was overwhelmed, desperate, and bluesing pretty intensely. I remember cradling that little wonder in my arms and falling in love with every breath of his tiny, perfect little nose. Unraveling with every sleepy sigh. Then a wave of emotion washed me away from shore again, and I was adrift in the waves of my own worry and fear.

In that moment, my heart turned to Heavenly Father. I opened myself to Heaven, and asked for help. I can't do this on my own, I silently prayed. Please be with me. Please just be with me.

Immediately, my mind calmed. I felt an actual warmth around me - like someone wrapping their arms around me. The air in the room appeared physically clearer and lighter. I remember being amazed and humbled that my prayer would be answered so immediately and so physically - so undeniably!

That was my first moment of Grace as a Mother. There have been many others - including my most recent experience at lunch time.

I told Bill, it's like a pie chart. 80% of parenting is the stuff that can be monotonous and tedious and hard. But 20% are moments that take your breath away. Moments of pure undiluted joy! And those moments surpass everything else so completely that they wrap over all else and make it sweet.

It's like serving a mission. From what I understand, most of a mission is the same exhausting thing day after day. It's hard, grueling and thankless work. But then the Spirit works His miracles through you. You witness someone feeling the Spirit. You see a life change. And every tedious and challenging moment that got you to that place feels like a gift.

I am grateful. So grateful to be allowed to experience these challenges, learn these lessons, have these moments of grace, these answers to prayer - feel this love. I am so grateful to be a Mother (even if right now I feel like I'm not a very good one).

And I can testify that God has a special place in His heart for the prayers of a Mother. He's on our team, you know?



dalene said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

Wayne and Erin said...

I think we have all felt that way. Truth is, if you are worried about it, then you are probably a great mom! It is the ones that never worry about it, that we should be worried about. You have three beautiful kids, all very young. Just to meet their basic needs takes so much energy. If your kids are feed and alive at the end of the day, ou have reason to celebrate. You are a wonderful Mom, doing an amazing work!

Lara said...

When my eyes stop tearing I'll be able to type something . . . After a hard night last night of being up with a sick little one - and feeling like I was running low on patience with this little person who deserved nothing but love and comfort - this is what I needed to hear. Being a mother is a constant exercise in self-improvement, patience, and learning to rely on powers beyond your own to fulfill your sacred calling.

Jeff and Ari said...

You are (and have been since the moment I met you) one of the best mothers I know. I am constantly in a state of trying to emulate you. Seriously. It makes me feel so much better to know I'm not the only one who thinks these things!

Kate said...

So well written, Steph. Although I've never seen you with your children or even met your husband, I watched you grow up and I know you are doing your best. Your kids are lucky to have you. Thank you for sharing this.

Nae said...

I think one of the hardest things for me to come to grips with is the fact that I'm not as good a mom as my baby is a baby. I just wish that I could be as perfect for her as she is for me. I want her to know that my moments of frustration and exhaustion will pass. They always pass, but I fear she doesn't/won't realize that. I'm always worried that she'll hang on to those moments...even at the young age of 6 months.

It's those times that I weep and hold her close and whisper an apology to her, hoping that she can sense the love in my heart because she doesn't understand the words.

But Stepper, your words have helped strengthen me. :) My missionary brother once wrote to me (when I expressed some worries about being a mommy) and said that we didn't need to worry because Heavenly Father is the perfect parent. And He is ready to teach us. It's like you said...He is on our side!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

This is beautiful. And so, so true. We are absolutely not alone in this.

Laura@livingabigstory said...

Beautiful post .. thanks for sharing.