Shock and Awe

You’re not one to pick up on a turn of phrase or value strategically placed words. You barely slow down to read these posts, smile and say, “Thank you, Mommy!”

I suppose I write them, then, to show you someday, maybe when time and age have caught up with you, that behind these little words is my big heart for you. I think that’s something you can connect with. You like things that make a splash, break a record, and rattle the cage.

I hope when this decade of posts are piled up, you will see that few things hold more shock and awe than a mother’s heart. Sometimes my heart full of love for you seems too heavy for even me to carry. So I let that love become words and I unload them, building a museum of sentences that have taken the shape of a bursting heart for you to remember.

5 Things About a Mother’s Big Heart

1. A mother’s heart holds big dreams.

From those first cries and kicks and steps and words, our minds are racing, pinpointing what you might be – all you might be. We see potential and trace a line to abilities and gifts. Our imaginations soar with unbridled optimism on your behalf.

And we have big dreams for ourselves, too, of the kind of mother we’ll be. A mother that’s patient, loving, giving, strong, gentle, wise, industrious, healthy, friendly, fit, and godly. We want to give you the best we can offer and long for all the ideals to be manifested in our relationship.

2. A mother’s heart holds big limitations.

It doesn’t take us long, though, to realize that your gifts and abilities have limitations. And, so do the ideals we dreamed for ourselves. We are both limited because of our own finitude but also because of our own sin.

We see and feel the weight of all our failures to be who we dreamed we’d be. And even with you, our precious children, we are surprised by your sin. We’re surprised by the way the fall effects you and holds you back. Because try as we may to cultivate the best setting for your growth and development, there are factors from inside you that are a force to be reckoned with – a force only divine power can tame.

We lose control, the older you get, of all the things you’re exposed to and all the curiosities awakened in your heart. We try to teach you to guard you heart and we try to guard it for you, but we just aren’t enough. And neither are you.

3. A mother’s heart holds big guilt.

So, the guilt multiplies. Guilt when we look back to those early years and remember all we hoped we’d be and then see now all that we actually are. We blame ourselves for what you could be but aren’t. We often carry with us this vague feeling of failure, but sometimes we rehearse, over and over, specific ways we have let you down, and let God down, and it’s enough to drive us to despair.

4. A mother’s heart holds big idols.

In moments of sanctified clarity, we recognize how we’ve gotten carried away with those big dreams and started to worship them, pushing you and ourselves in ways we shouldn’t.

We see how we’ve bowed down to methods and mindsets expecting too much from them, and put them on a pedestal and then sinned and sacrificed to meet their demands. We know we are enslaved to trying harder and making tweaks and bigger overhauls to satisfy the expectations and reach the dreams, but we continue to come up short. And so do you.

5. A mother’s heart is held by a bigger God.

So, we take our big dreams, limitations, guilt, idols, and you, and bring it all to him. We feel condemnation and shame over holding onto hope and think maybe doubt and skepticism is a better disposition for us.

But God’s big heart says it isn’t.

He says, “Mothers, when your heart condemns you, I am greater than even your big heart, and I know everything. So exchange that big condemnation for bigger confidence – not in yourself or your kids or in anything you or they can do – but in me. Then keep asking, believing, and loving. Because your big heart of love didn’t originate with you, but with me! Behold what great love I, your parent, have lavished on you that you should be called my child – a child of God! And that is what you are! So let my lavish love for you keep you loving your children lavishly too. Your heart is big, but mine in bigger still.” (Paraphrase from various verses in 1 John 3)

Ruby, I don’t know when you’ll read this post and feel the tremors of a mother’s shockingly big heart. But I do hope it leaves you in awe, not of mine, but of the perfect Heart –  even bigger and deeper and wider – that loves his children most, best, and forever.

Happy 10th Birthday to you!

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