journey to joy: part II

from love to redemption

{Read Part I: From Achieving to Flailing}

My Path Through Motherhood

In that churning mess that was me and my life after Pumpkin was born, I felt for the first time, the pure, strong love of God.

A few months prior, right after Pumpkin was born, I had read a book by Michelle Duggar, a Christian mom of 20 kids.  I figured anyone who had 20 kids probably had a few good tips for a new mom!

What I hadn’t expected though, was how much joy Michelle had in God’s love for her. 

While I had a great husband, my “dream” job, a nice apartment, a beautiful baby, even a maid for crying out loud — I didn’t have joy.  

For months I had been thinking about it… could I, an educated, modern woman, believe in a timeless, unseen entity that for some bizarre reason, LOVED me no matter what I did or didn’t do?

I had even cast a prayer up into the unfeeling coldness — God, if you’re up there, reveal yourself…

…so there I was months later, on a cold February day, trying to hold back the tears.

I reflected over all of Pumpkin’s struggles and difficulties over the past year —

somehow, I saw them as my failure as a mom.

I starting thinking about just how much I hated my job, what a bad fit I was for it  —

I saw that as my failure in my career, my life’s work. 

I picked up a novel I’d been trying to write for the past year (did I mention I was an overachiever?) and realized how bad it truly was —

I saw that as my failure in pursuing my passion.

That was when the tears started coming.

I realized… no matter how hard I tried — at work, at home, or as a mom– I’d never be able to grasp that perfection, that wholeness I was so determined to find as a child.

I sat and wondered.  How could an all-powerful entity that created the universe love me, when I was so un-perfect, so broken?  Could that be possible?

Desperate, I sat down and typed these words into the search engine on my computer:  Why does God love me?

One of the references that popped up was a verse from the Bible, 1 John 4:8:  Because God is love.

I sat there. Frozen. Still. Considering the possibility that God didn’t love me because of my achievements, but because he was incapable of doing anything else.

Because he himself IS love. 

I didn’t know if every word in the Bible was literal or if there was any scientific or historical basis or God or Jesus or any of it.

I just felt it the truth of God’s loving me deep, deep down inside.

That spring, as the buds blossomed the trees and warm breezes stirred the daffodils, I felt like I actually could walk on air.  I woke up every morning and marveled like I had as a new mom.

Except this time, instead of marveling over the miracle of the little life next to me,  I was marveling over the miracle of the new life inside me, of being utterly and completely Loved.

Blossoms

For awhile, that was enough.  Just waking up and marveling over being loved.

But soon I started realizing just how un-perfect I really was.  I had done a pretty good job of convincing myself that all those report cards and work awards meant I was a fine specimen of a human being.

Now I started listening to my judgmental thoughts, my harsh words.  I started noticing my selfishness and my shallowness.  Guilt crept in on the marvel…

{Read Part III:  From Freedom to Joy}

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