A track-mom friend stood by the fence as we cheered our senior girls across the finish line in their last high school race last night. And then my friend did something I didn’t expect. She reached over and hugged me, smiling with teary eyes.
Then I did something I didn’t expect. I had a flashback to bottles and blankets. Swallowing a surprise gulp of my own, I reminded myself that this growing up and moving on thing is good. We don’t have children to keep them forever, but when my husband placed our baby girl in my arms over eighteen years ago, I wasn’t imagining ever letting her go. Preparing to launch one of my birds out of the nest stirs up emotions I didn’t expect. I’ve warned my patient husband to brace himself for some tears. It seems that as we grow a family, we grow as women. This being a mom has been so much that I hoped for and so much more than I ever imagined.
Throughout the journey of motherhood, we add unexpected events and emotions like silver charms on a bracelet. Ever mom knows what it is to anticipate the gift of a child, their stages of growth, and the joys along the way. Baby books reserve spots for those milestones, though no one looks forward to the challenges and the heartaches; they are part of mothering too. As a child grows, so grows a mama’s hopes.
A variety of doorways lead women into motherhood, but whatever their paths of entry, all moms know what it is to have a heart that is truly expectant.
I was mentoring a group of young wives when their hearts started to turn with anticipation to their mothering hopes. Each took her own unique path, some encountering surprises right away and others finding it downright painful. Despite the age of my two teenagers who sometimes wandered by as our group chatted, my days of hoping and growing and delivering didn’t seem that long ago. Mothers have a love for mothering other mothers.
As their questions flowed and their hearts opened, I began to write inspirations for them while they grew into motherhood: God’s truth and practical wisdom about their own changes, the other adults in their lives, the children of their wombs and their hearts, and the new normal they couldn’t yet picture. I included transparent stories for when they long to talk to someone who understands … in the middle of the night. Always, my heart hoped to create a gift to uplift sweet women growing into moms.
Now those mamas chase little ones on Sunday mornings. One day they may watch their toddlers-turned-teens run their own last high school races, and they may be surprised at the well of emotions in yet another unexpected motherhood moment. Because of their expectant hearts, an eBook collection of devotions for new and expectant moms called “Expectant” was born.
I’m holding on to the words of Proverbs 3:5-6 as tightly now as I did when we first brought JoHanna home from the hospital. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Those words have served me well as a mom, and I pray Jo will take them with her and hold on to them tightly, like she once held on to her blanket. We will trust the Lord as we grow into a new mother-child season.
Expectant is about growing your life while growing a family. If you’re beginning your journey of motherhood or have a friend or loved on who is, this is for that mother with an Expectant heart. I pray your story will be all you’ve hoped for and so much more than you imagined.
by Julie Sanders