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  • Writer's pictureHolly Tomlin

Being a mother.

moth·er noun: a woman in relation to her child or children. Verb: bring up (a child) with care and affection. Today is Mother’s Day. May 14, 2017. I have done a lot of reflecting this morning over the last year. Life looks so much different than last Mother’s Day. My journey as a mother changed drastically about 5 weeks ago. It has given me an entirely new perspective on being a mother. One I would love to share with you. There are so many of you women that are mothers. There are just as many probably that are not. Whether it is your choice or not. Not all of us are on in the same place. More than anything, I pray for those of you who aren’t and long to be. My intention is to not make you sad or mad when you read this. Know you are prayed for and thought of. I think about my lifelong friends. There is a group of us that still regularly get together and celebrate life. We have been friends over 20 years and we still try to be intentional about our time together. In our small group alone, we are not all mothers. Several of the women have suffered loss as a mother through miscarriage, some more than one. Some have conceived very quickly and some it took years and other measures to make it happen. Then most recently, I am adopting a precious little boy. So many different ways to all get to the same goal. To be called mom, momma, mother or mommy. Whatever it is that you may be called or ache to be called. It’s a gift the Lord gives in many different forms. You do not have to naturally give birth to a child to be called mother. As defined above, being a mother is to bring up a child with care and affection. Being called mother is a label given to women in relation to a child. It doesn’t say anywhere that you must be from the same DNA to be called mother. Over the last few years, we have discussed adoption off and on. I have thought through this at length. On how I thought it would go. On what I thought it would look like. So many different scenarios I imagined and dreamed of. But the one thing that was consistent was the fears I had at the thought of raising a child that was not biologically mine. Would they love me? Would they regret not having their own mother raise them? Would I love them like I did my other two? For sake of being completely honest, I think it’s fair to say anyone would think those thoughts. I don’t think I am alone having these thoughts. But, just as any gift from the Lord, my mind has been blown at the love I have for this baby boy. There is a space the Lord carved out in my heart many years ago. A space I never knew existed. This space is now busting at the seams when I think of him and look at him. Only God can do that. The love of a mother for their child is one that can never be broken. I have thought a lot about Reid’s biological mother. To be fair to her, I will not share any details. But I do think of her a lot. I wonder how she must be feeling. Does she miss him? Does she worry if he’s being loved and cared for? The biggest prayer I pray for her is that she would know Jesus. I pray that somehow she would hear the truth of Jesus and know that her life is not marked by anything of her past. That she is loved and forgiven by the very one who created her. I pray that through the darkest days of her life she would discover her desperate need for Jesus. I pray for her salvation. Next, I pray that she would have an overwhelming peace and know that her son is more than loved and cared for. He is held. He is rocked. He is sung to. He is told how much he is loved every second of the day. He is being taught about Jesus. He is being given the best life we can possible give him. So much of his life is unknown with his heart disease. We have no idea what tomorrow looks like. For him (or any of us) tomorrow is not guaranteed. I pray she has solid confidence that without a doubt he is loved. No way will she know that other than the Lord giving her that peace that only comes from him. That is what I pray for her. I pray that she knows that the unimaginable decision she made to give him up was the very best thing she could have done for him. I pray that she knows that in this one selfless act she actually gave him a chance at life.  Being a mother of 3 has rocked my world. It’s not all smiles and hugs and happy thoughts. I have said more 4 letter words in the last few weeks than I have in the last five years. Mostly over spilled milk. Whoever said “don’t cry over spilled milk” never had a baby on a nasty smelling formula through a feeding tube. There has been lots of spilled formula from handling a feeding tube. I mean there has to be an easier way to “burp” a feeding tube baby. Dang it if almost every time the syringe pops out and out comes pouring partially digested formula that already smells like vomit before it even goes down. Imagine how bad it is when it’s coming out. Insert eye roll.Good thing we don’t have brand new furniture and thank you Lord for the washer and dryer. I am far from being superwoman. I am exhausted trying to mother three children, maintain my home, be a good wife, work a full-time job, run a non-profit foundation and make time to sell some really cute bags. So don’t be surprised if you see me in Target and I either cry or say one of those 4-letter words. Just kidding. Well maybe not. I feel so selfish many times throughout the day. I mean I just want to sit and drink my coffee in the morning and not have to reheat it four times. I just want to sit through one episode of Fixer Upper without being interrupted to get someone a snack or to wipe someone’s bottom. But those days are nearly impossible and very few and far between. I am not complaining by any means, but rather am just stating the facts about this season I am in. The most important part of this post is for you to know that being a mother of three is the best thing ever. I never imagined my heart would be able to love one human this much, much less three of them. I never imagined sleepless nights, weight gain and saggy boobs would be so rewarding. But it is. There is nothing I can compare to the joy of the road I am on. For the women who long to be on this journey, I am so very sorry. My heart literally aches for you and all you’ve endured. The one thing I want you to know is that this joy I speak of is found in the Lord alone. Believe me I have searched everywhere imaginable and been disappointed every time. Otherwise I would want to hang my kids upside down from the tree at times. Being a mother isn’t the answer to everything. But I do pray that if your heart’s desire is to have a child, then my prayer is that the Lord would bless you with that gift one day. I pray that your longings would be satisfied in Christ alone. I pray that our “saying yes” to taking Reid as one of our own encourages another woman. Or many other women. Adoption is hard for so many to think about. Fostering is even more difficult. I have several family and friends that have led the way before Cory and I. Not one story is without some form of heartache. But every story ends in life. Every story ends with a precious child being given life. Many are called, but few actually chose to be obedient to the call the Lord has placed on us. To care for the least of these. I recently heard from a CPS worker that in Dallas County they have children sleeping at their office every night because there are not enough foster homes for them to go to. Absolutely heartbreaking. By no means is this a guilt trip for anyone, but I do believe that someone reading this today is on the fence about whether or not they should say yes to something similar for their family. I want to encourage you to pray about it. A very cliché thing to say I know, but I strongly feel that the Lord gives us opportunities to be obedient to Him. I do not think he calls each of us to adopt or foster children, but I do know he has given some of you this thought for a reason. Pray about it. If this is His will for your life, He will make it clear if you earnestly pray about it. I pray for your strength for embarking on a similar journey. It’s not for the faint of heart. The paperwork alone is overwhelming. It is a sacrifice and will certainly lead anyone out of their comfort zone. But the reward is priceless. The ability to forever change the path of a child’s life is indescribable. The chance to speak truth and love over a child is unimaginable. For those who aren't called to adopt or foster, pray about how the Lord might use you to help those he has called. It may be you providing a meal, being an encouragement or providing financial support. There are so many ways to help those seeking to adopt a child.  Being an ovarian cancer survivor at such a young age, I made the decision that I would not have any more children biologically, not that I could have even if we tried. I just didn't feel that is what the Lord had for us. Most women in my situation aren’t given the same chance. That is determined for them when they have surgery to remove their cancer. Many of them before they have the chance to even have their own children. I pray my life is an encouragement to every single one of them. I pray that if they have the desire to have children after their own battle with cancer, I pray they can look at my life and see that it is possible to still be a mother. I pray that they can see that, despite their inability to have biological children, they can still give life to another child that otherwise wouldn’t have life. They have the chance to break generational sins in the lives of children who are abandoned and abused. Adoption is the very picture of the way Jesus loves us. He drew us out of our own sin and adopted us into his forever family. He gives us an undeserving and unmerited love that never can be taken from us. Our lives are forever changed when we are adopted into God’s family. Today I celebrate my three children. Today I celebrate my own mother and all the other mothers in my life. Being a mother is the hardest job I have ever had. Yet, it is the most rewarding job I have ever had. Today my goal is to not get mad about the mess left lying around the house and the interruptions in my “me time”. Instead today, I will remind myself of what I have and be thankful for this opportunity to raise three human beings. I have the opportunity to live my life in a way that my children can see my desperate need for Jesus. I pray my children don’t look at me and see what I’ve accomplished in my life. I want them to look at me and see the reason I have accomplished anything. I want them to see a mom that is fully reliant on the Holy Spirit to lead and guide her life. I pray that they will develop a faith of their own and not live off of my faith. I pray that they see the source of true life. I will not dwell on all the ways I fail every single day as their mother because Lord knows I fail them many times a day and always will. I pray that I lead them to nothing else than the one true source of life. I will celebrate every single opportunity I have to breathe life into their souls. Today, I will celebrate being their mother. Jesus, it’s all for you, Holly "Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill hus promises to her." Luke 1:45

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