You hear all these things about parenthood before you have kids like, "It's so hard" "I wish I could pee in silence" "I am always exhausted" but you can't really grasp onto that until it becomes a reality. One thing people don't talk about is the fact that you can't "do" parenthood alone. Sure there are single parents out there who play role of both mom and dad (and I want to come give you a giant hug and a bottle of wine) but I am not talking about biological parents. I am talking about community.
Hot meals when you've slept a total of 4 hours in 3 separate chunks.
A coffee when you are attempting to nap with one eye open.
2 hours of babysitting so you and your husband can enjoy a meal without having to repeatedly use the command "no!"
Community is a whole new ballgame once a child enters the picture. To some, opening your heart to community may seem like you're admitting defeat, but The Lord never meant us to go on this journey alone. I've learned to be vulnerable to the things God uses in motherhood to draw me near to Him, and be OK with expressing my feelings of failure or exhaustion to someone other than my husband. Community wasn't always a top priority or even evident in our lives but we prayed. And God answered.
The month we got pregnant with Ford, our hearts were led away from the church I had gone to for 8 years and Jon and I had gone to together for our entire relationship. Talk about leap of faith. Leaving what you know but trusting the fact that God's plan is bigger. Better. After finding out we were pregnant I announced that we were going to get involved. Was it because I wanted and needed that community for myself? Probably not. Was it because I wanted our baby to grow up in the church and in community? Yeah, for the most part. So we showed up at a random house, on Valentine's Day of all days, with a basket of homemade garlic knots and prayed for 2 things: 1. Open hearts 2. Community. Last month we celebrated a year of joining our missional community group and agree that taking the leap of faith to just "show up" was one of the best decisions we've made in our marriage. I shared pregnancy with a few fellow ladies and now share the joys and woes of motherhood. We've rejoiced as a group, cried as a group, been on our knees praying as a group. To think there was a chance I would have become a mother without this rock solid support behind me is absolutely frightening. Pretty darn cool how God's timing works. Not only did He answer our prayer for Ford to grow up surrounded by believers but He gave us hope. Hope that our lives are worth living as a band of believers and collectively we can build His Kingdom further than we can alone. Living in Christian community keeps me focused on obedience, opening my heart to further trust, and encouraging me to serve, give, and love more.
For mamas out there who feel lost, broken, discouraged, or feel like they are losing their identity I give you these words. Be bold. It isn't always easy to send that email to a random person you have yet to meet face to face or show up at a mommies group sight unseen, but I promise you won't regret it. Something cool about being a mom is that there is ALWAYS something to talk about with other mommies. You aren't left feeling awkward with small talk about the weather. God meant for us to share our messy lives together. To love one another, support one another, cry ugly tears together, and celebrate with a glass of wine when you finally get your 7 month old sleeping through the night.
What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God -Psalm 55:14