Friday, May 6, 2011

Foolish Wisdom

I was 23 years old the day that I stumbled out of the seventh specialist's office, barely able to see through a blur of tears. They all spoke similar words: incurable, the possibility of having children is slim-to-none, the best we can offer is a surgery which will also have the effect of certain infertility.

Only this doctor had been harsher, much harsher: "You're foolish to continue in pain like this. Take charge of your life! Get the surgery and be done with it." I wasn't married, had no husband-in-waiting, but couldn't take this drastic step. Foolish. Maybe.

There was a gentle man with big green eyes in my life. I wasn't yet sure there was a future with him, but I told him my story. His response: "That's just the best opinion humans have to offer. Only God knows for sure what your future holds and whatever it is, His plans are always good." Wise words.

It was five years later that I looked into those same green eyes and whispered the impossible, "We're going to have a baby." There was still pain in my body only now it was different. The pain was no longer being caused by dysfunction, but by life, a life that was growing and breaking up scar tissue.

And so it has been with motherhood: joy mixed with pain as the scar tissue of my soul has been stretched and broken to make a way for these little lives to grow healthy and strong.

How foolish is it of God to place life inside a broken person, to trust them with the shaping of another life when theirs is still so unformed? Or is it a profound wisdom which recognizes that the power of mother-love will stir the heart to fight for freedom for the sake of her children?

The challenges of parenting have revealed weak places and fractures and have inspired a desperate desire for wholeness so that my brokenness might not harm my children. This love has made me willing to be vulnerable and address what might otherwise have remained tucked away and "not a big deal". Scar tissue has been stretched and reshaped to make way for Life and it is good. Maybe it is wise rather than foolish to give children to fragile parents.

This reckless pursuit of freedom has been met with wide open arms. Arms that have been waiting for me to run into them. Waiting for my willingness to engage in the process. He's been very gentle and kind. He's generously provided wisdom and patience far greater than my own. He's also been extravagant. He's blessed me with three beautiful children and filled our home with laughter. We fall and we get back up again...and again. My children have seen my weakness and they've witnessed my redemption. He truly is the God of the impossible.

My mother modeled this pursuit of grace for me and on this Mother's Day I honour and thank her for that--it may be one of the greatest gifts she's given to me.

May you be blessed this Mother's Day with a peaceful knowing that perfection in parenting is not the goal. Simply follow the gentle Shepherd. He will lead you and your children safely through the valleys and into green pastures.

"He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
He will gently lead the mother
sheep with their young."
Isaiah 40:11


  1. "He will carry the lambs in his arms."

    I have never heard that before. Sounds I realize why there are all those pictures and such with Jesus holding a lamb. But it's so profound to me right now, I'm not even laughing.

    Beautiful post. Beautiful glimpse into the pain...and the joy...of your walk in parenting.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Michelle. Mothering is the most challenging thing I have ever done, and it often brings me to my knees...

    We had four children in five years and I had a health professional tell me that I should be sterilized! So I understand the stunned shock you might have felt at 23...

    Thanks for your great writing!

    I look forward to every post.