by Cindy Hester
The sound of the garbage truck's air brakes mingled with the noise of the driver yelling out directions woke me from a restless sleep. The previous night's events came flooding back as I clumsily rolled out of bed. The nausea and cramping had grown increasingly worse, and I knew I had to call my doctor. Little was I to know that within four short hours I would begin a life-altering journey that would include a roller coaster of ups and downs, twists, and turns providing the most exhilarating ride of my life.
On July 22, 1980 at the ripe old age of nineteen I became a mother for the first time. I remember holding my breath until I heard my baby's cry. Nurses called out measurements and weight as I lay there anxiously waiting. Then came the moment I will never forget. My nurse walked over with this tiny bundle of humanity. Her kind eyes smiled as she said, "Meet your daughter." She laid her on my chest, placing her soft, sweet face next to mine. Immediately her crying hushed as she gently pressed her tiny mouth against my cheek. It was in that moment that an overwhelming tsunami of love flooded my heart.
God blessed me with this incredible adventure twice more with the birth of my sons. Amazingly, that intense, loving bond forged when holding each one was unique, as if experiencing it again for the first time. In fact, having children of my own gave me an understanding of just how deeply my mother and father loved me. On an even grander scale, I gained an appreciation for the unfathomable love our Heavenly Father holds for each of us as His children.
As time progressed, life took a completely different turn from the fairy tale I had imagined as a young bride. After seventeen years of marriage I suddenly found myself as a single mom to my teenage daughter and two pre-teen sons. I stumbled and fumbled my way through making numerous mistakes along the way. I had no choice but to get back up, shake the dust off, and try again. It was during this period of motherhood that God began working in my heart teaching me that I must depend on Him. On days when even my best efforts were futile, He reminded me that He did not create me to exist depending on my strength and wisdom, but on His.
Three years later I married the man who has stood by my side through thick and thin. (I mean literally, thick and thin...or maybe I should say thin, then thick?!) On October 23, 1999 at the ripe old age of thirty-eight I became a step-mom. My husband and I moved into a three bedroom apartment with three teenage boys in one room. The youngest daughter had a room to herself, with the exception of the weekends her step-sister came home from college.
I could not have asked for two children to welcome me any better than my step-son and step-daughter, and thankfully, my children ultimately loved and respected my husband. Even still, we were not the Cleaver family, nor were we the Brady Bunch. There were deep struggles. There were days I wondered if that incredible, natural bond of love making us a “family” would ever develop.
I can’t name a specific date it happened. I think it was the result of witnessing those milestone moments that happen over time. Moments such as hearing their names called at graduation, or walking away to leave one at college with tears streaming down her face. Possibly it was watching another leave for boot camp, or watching each of the boys stand tall and handsome anxiously awaiting his bride’s appearance. It could have been seeing one step off of the hospital elevator proudly rolling a bassinette carrying his first-born son, or seeing pictures of another holding his daughter for the first time with tears in his eyes. It could have been the result of watching another struggle to find her identity in this big old cruel world asking God to protect her and to show her the way. It was in these moments that overwhelming, inexplicable tsunami of love flooded my heart washing away any trace of distinction between “yours” and “mine” leaving only “ours.” That, my friends, is what I call God’s miracle of motherhood.
How can I ever thank You, Lord, for allowing me the opportunity to love and to be loved as a Mom. Lord, I know I have failed You and them in so many ways. I am so grateful that where my failures could have been fatal, You stepped in with Your love and grace. I thank You for my sweet Momma and for all she has been to me. Thank You for her strength and devotion in never giving up on me. Help me to show that same love to my children and grandchildren. Bless each mother on this Mother’s Day. Bless each child who may not have had the privilege of a loving mother in his or her life, and be with each person whose mother is no longer here on this earth. Thank You for the promise that You will never leave us or forsake us. I love You Lord. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.