Journey to Motherhood

This Sunday most people will celebrate, in one way or another, Mother’s Day. You may recognize your own mother, who is still living, during this day and let her know how much you love her and appreciate her. You may, however, be saddened by this day because your mother is no longer living and a day like Mother’s Day is too hard to think of as something to celebrate. Then, there is the other option (or added part of your day) where you yourself are a mother and Mother’s Day is a day to hopefully hear from your children how much they love and appreciate you. We all have different views on Mother’s Day. It means something different to all of us. For me it means something that I once thought was never going to be possible. And that is that I am a mother whereas once I wasn’t.

Despite my position at Journey, I have never really been one to openly share things about myself. It still blows my mind that I can stand up in front of our students in Awaken and teach them on certain Wednesdays. I am by far and large an Introvert. Public speaking causes my heart to start beating wildly within my chest. It isn’t my idea of fun. But, when it comes to something I am passionate about (or if I know you really well) you might find it difficult to get me to stop talking. So this has been your warning.

050914blogpicAs most at Journey know I am a mother to two little redheads. Brayden is 4 and Jaxson is 1. You may, like some, look at either one of them and swear they look like me or David. Or you might look at them and wonder how we ended up with redheads, because, let’s be honest, my hair isn’t naturally red in color. The truth is that Brayden and Jaxson are adopted. They are biological brothers but I am not the one who gave birth to either of them. Our story of adoption is truly amazing. I have no doubt in my mind that God orchestrated every single, solitary piece of Brayden and Jaxson coming to be in our family. I also have no doubt that I was supposed to mother these boys…now, at least, I can say that I don’t. Before we started down the road of adoption I never once considered the idea. I never imagined being an adoptive mother.

I struggled with infertility. I struggled with the idea of not being able to conceive a child the way, in my mind, women are supposed to be able to do. It pained me to see friends and family pregnant when I wasn’t. I questioned God, I got angry, and I even wanted nothing to do with Him at times. God used this time to draw me closer to Him. He used it to urge me to trust Him more. And I did after a period of trying to take control of the matter myself. But like I’ve learned in so many areas, His ways are not my ways. His plan is not my plan. It was, after all, during this time that my favorite verse came to be just that.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

For me, I wanted to be a mother. I didn’t realize how badly I wanted it until I saw that it wasn’t coming so easily. I just knew that I wanted the role. The idea of giving up the chance to feel your child move, of seeing someone that has your same features, tore at my heart in ways I didn’t know it could tear. I cried endless tears. I broke from the inside out. But I decided to trust. And though the path of adoption wasn’t easy, God never let us go it alone. Nine months later, from the moment we first initiated the adoption process, Brayden was born. It was a whirlwind of emotion but he was here and he was our son.

Fast forward three and a half years to a time when we weren’t even pursuing adoption (or really actively considering pursuing it again anytime soon) we are notified of Jaxson. Our wait for him was longer than his older brother’s (about 6 months versus 2 weeks) but we still were about to become of family of four instead of a family of three. God had His timing in place. His plan was perfect. He knew the plans He had for me all along. I was just now seeing them.

At times, before the adoptions, I sympathized with Hannah (read the first chapter of 1 Samuel). She was a woman of God who longed to be a mother. She would pray yearly at the temple for God to hear her, but as the years went on it just wasn’t meant to be. Then, one year, Eli saw her as she wept and prayed to God for a child. He thought she was drunk, but came to find she was in deep prayer over her situation. Eli heard her story and sent her on her way, giving her a renewed hope that God would grant her request. In time, He did. God heard her and granted her a son. Although our paths didn’t cross in the same way, I am able to fully understand her moment of praise in 1 Samuel 1:27:

“For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him.”

God heard my prayer. He knew my heart. And though He didn’t answer my prayer the way I thought I wanted Him too…I am a mother. I can claim that role. I can now relate to other mothers, including Mary the mother of Jesus, when I look upon my boys. The number of times that I have done as Mary did at the birth of Jesus are already numerous.

“…Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

God has given me so much to treasure. He has provided me with two little boys to hold in my heart. It’s a great responsibility, I know, but it is one that I love that I get to have (even despite times you might wonder if that is true, because, honestly it really is no matter what I say).

I might still have moments where my heart longs for the experience of being pregnant. I do still hope that The Lord might bless me at least once with the opportunity of seeing a mix of David and me walking around. But if He doesn’t…it is well with my soul. My heart is full. My joy is known.

I share my journey to motherhood with you this week of Mother’s Day to remind all moms that our children are blessings from God. He saw you capable of taking on the responsibility of raising that child or children. He knew you would love them the way they should be loved. We all become mothers in a different way. We also all mother in a different way. Being a mom is a difficult job. God knows that we stumble on our path of motherhood. He knows that we “lose” it sometimes. But He wants you to remember that He is with you every step of the way. He loves you and He loves your children.

Sometimes I say things that I wish I could immediately take back. Sometimes I do things that make me run to another room crying because I didn’t mean to. Sometimes I raise my voice. And no, I don’t have the most spotless house, the best dressed kids, the biggest birthday parties, the Pinterestesque goodies to take to my son’s class, or the ability to get my kids out the door on time (dressed, fed, well groomed, etc, etc) most days. But that’s okay. I am a mommy. God answered my prayer that I asked of Him. He heard me. I know that He hears you.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mommies!! You are ALL amazing!

Stephanie Henderson
Student Pastor

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