Motherhood: when they outgrow us.

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As I folded his newly handed-down shirts and tucked away his grown-out-of onesies, I hid the tears that threatened to make my fears known.

A mother’s fear is not a mere or simple fear for harm or a fleeting fear for pain that her child may feel, but rather, a mother’s fear is a fear of the troubles that accompany a life that is lived to it’s fullest. Mothers, who of their own rights have been through many trials of the world, who have felt the pain of simply existing, who have held the hurt, yearned for the lost, worried for the living, rejoicing with the dying, and pleaded for the wounded; mother’s who know what many pains their child will encounter; those mother’s are not mother’s who fear futile things, but rather we are mother’s who understand the eternal blessings found in living out a broken, transparent, uncomfortable, limitless life.

We fret over, not the fleetingness of a skinned knee nor the sadness of a lost toy, but rather, we understand that these items are simply the stepping stones to a beautifully tragic story of sin and redemption for our lost and weary children, all in the Name of Christ Jesus. We understand that our prayers for our children’s growth and sanctified lives is a prayer for their persecution and death to self as well. We feel that pain. We understand the ties that bind our children to us will be ripped out and sewn together time and time again.

A mother knows from the moment she bears a life, that the life will break her heart.

A mother like that understands her calling to raise the child, not own the child, under the Lord’s commands. To raise him to confront sin issues in his heart, to raise her to acknowledge her weaknesses, but also embrace her strengths, to raise them to speak up to those in need, to teach them to care for the broken, because they. are. broken. too.

At times, the fear of living that a child will endure steals a mother’s breath from her chest.

Those barely-worn feety sleepers in that box in the closet don’t simply mean that our little one’s legs have outgrown them, a mother’s heart knows, deep down, that those sturdy legs will walk into sin very soon. A mama knows that even though those shoulders grew too wide for that shirt, they will very soon support a family, build a legacy, carry the burden of another, fear for death, thirst for more that just a series of our world’s masks, and nothing she does can stop it, or even help with the burden.

A mother knows that those tiny socks that won’t stretch high enough will soon step into the feet of their Savior, onto a dusty, blood-soaked road, filled like snow drifts on either side, holding all of the wonders of sin turned to hopelessness turned to death and, finally, gloriously-and the reason we mother’s do what we do- our children will walk with Christ into a grace-soaked, glory-ladened, redemption; or a life lived to it’s fullest.

That is the kind of fear a mother fears for her child.

So, hug a mama for me; for she folds a lot of outgrown clothing.

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