I never realized the strength of motherhood until I became a mother. It is hard to imagine how you can birth a baby and then care for that same baby 24/7. I've never had a job that hard (and teaching was really hard some days!). How could I survive on so little sleep? How could I deal with the pain? How could I be okay with spit up on me and being unable to shower? To me it seemed impossible.
Then I find myself pacing the floors with my back aching from carrying my son for so long. And yet I keep walking. Or I find that I have the strength to lift him in his carseat even with my sadly lacking arm muscles. Or I find the strength to play with him at two in the morning when he screamed most of the evening. Or I find another smile, another ounce of strength in my legs to go for a walk with him, or another bit of patience for the hour of crying.
You carry this child for nine months, work harder than you have ever worked for hours to push him into the world, and then nourish him and care for him around the clock. And yet it does not feel like martyrdom or sacrifice like you would have expected.
It is crazy, this motherhood. The strength involved is more than I could have ever imagined, and yet the grace God gives to meet the challenge is far greater. The grace of a little boy's smile that warms my heart in the middle of the night when all I want is for him to fall back asleep. The grace of soft breezes when I am up too early rocking him on the porch. The grace of a night of no crying. The grace of family to hold him while I shower. The grace of a refreshing shower. The grace of a car trip where he actually sleeps.
These are gifts, and I don't deserve them. Motherhood is far more challenging and far more incredible than I could have imagined. And though my time in this new role has been brief, I am amazed as I think about the strength of a mother's love going back through time and history. There are things that are made much of for a reason, and one of those has to be a mother's love. So natural, normal, and familiar but at the same time a taste of the divine.