When it comes to taking care of engaging with children, one would assume that I am an expert. Before answering the call to work in children's ministry full time I was a child care worker for over 10 years. It literally was my job to partner with parents in raising their children so that they could work… breathe… enjoy life, while knowing their children were in safe hands.
LIFE AS MARY POPPINS
I’ve changed countless diapers, bandaged booboos, organized trips to parks/ museums/ zoos, engaged in imaginative play, assisted with homework, cooked meals, given baths, and carpooled. I was in the end a nurse, chef, chauffeur, teacher, friend, event planner… all the titles many moms can easily claim for themselves. I earned the loving nickname Mary Poppins, playing this role for more than 15 families. That’s close to 40 kids I’ve had the honor and privilege of loving. But the truth is for a season I questioned how I did it all.
GOD IS MY GAP FILLER
Growing up, I didn’t experience warm hugs and booboo kisses. I don’t remember enjoying bedtime stories or making homemade pizza into smiley faces. There were no mommy-daughter shopping sprees or daddy-daughter dances. I say this not to make you think that my childhood was negative. My childhood was the result of having a mother with a terminal illness who physically couldn’t give me and my siblings the type of experiences I listed above. She gave what she could out of the strength and heart that she had.
I am more blessed by what my mother gave than by what she lacked, for it allowed me to know God as my “Gap Filler.” God knew my mother’s condition. What she could and couldn’t give, as well as what I and my brothers needed. Out of His sovereignty and great love, He stepped in time and time again to fill the gap where my mother fell short.
MOTHERHOOD ON THE HORIZON
Fast forward to the present and I am expecting my own little one. I am going to be a mom! Not a child care provider. Not Mary Poppins. But my sweet baby boy’s mother. His mamma. God is entrusting me to care for, nurture, raise, love, and guide in His truth this sweet boy for the rest of my life. A blessing, an honor. Yet all the doubt wants to flood my brain. “What if I never connect?” “Will sleep deprivation be my kryptonite?” “How will I know how to comfort him?” “What if God made a mistake and I get this mom thing wrong?” And the list goes on.
Until I intentionally remember who God is and has always been to me: My Gap Filler. With each new family I learned how to adjust to each child’s different temperaments, needs, ages and genders, hopes and dreams. How? Because God filled the gap. Scripture says that “my God will meet all of your needs.” - Phillipians 4:19. It also says “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” - 2 Corinthians 12:9. This and so many other reminders of His promises is what gives me peace. Peace in knowing that it’s okay to not have all the answers because I can trust that God does and He will be my ever present help in raising my son. For I know that I will fail and make mistakes, but I can stand on the truth that my God is a Gap Filler.
For more reflections on motherhood, read these articles from some Liquid moms:
- Real Moms: Motherhood Repurposed by Judy Capua
- Real Moms: I’m Keeping A Scorecard by Lauren Bercarich
- Recovering Your Identity by Debi Fabrazzo