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Monday, August 9, 2010

Whispers from Africa...

I woke up yesterday morning to a picture from Africa in my inbox.

Beauty. Heartbreak.  Desperation. Gratitude. All there.

Photo Credit Kat Williamson

And for a few minutes my heart soars and I am incredibly blown away with what we have been part of. There really are not words.

The truth is though...that my heart is divided.

It is an amazing photograph. Nothing short of that...I have no doubt that this photo will connect hundreds of people in our faith community to this mission. It will stir passion and bring about vision. It will move people.

And I didn't take it.

Because I am here...and not in Africa.

My heart has this divide because I have spent the morning listening to overindulged children argue and whine because cereal is on the breakfast menu. Really.

I am in Motherhood. And the view is not all that.

This divide surprises me, it baffles. Because I love being a mother. Being a 29 year old mother of four is often met with many assumptions... that I just found myself in this position. That couldn't be further from the truth.

This journey to motherhood has been intentional as possible. It was a journey of waiting, trying, and loving babies that I would never hold this side of heaven. It has been one of heartbreak, disappointments, and unanswered questions. Has it been redeemed? I have four amazing, absolutely wonderful, and more than I ever imagined children. And time heals...but it doesn't erase.

And every single day I want them. Every single day I delight in them. Every single day I pray that I am not screwing them up... that I am worthy of being their mother. And I really don't think that unless you have had a baby die inside your body or in your arms that you can begin to get the magnitude of needing to get this right. Something about the inability to just keep a baby opens up an entire world of doubt and anxiety that is not at all unfounded.

So this divide, it incomprehensible to me.

But I just feel so left behind.

I am not that girl. I don't have to be in the spotlight. I don't have a single performing bone in my body. It's a pretty normal role in my life for someone to bring me some dream of theirs and let me figure out how to make it real. I am good at that. I LOVE that. I love being along for their adventure...and somewhere along the way it becomes our adventure.

So yesterday morning I sat at the desk and cried about how homesick I am for a place I have never been. And how badly I was failing at the one thing I wanted to be amazing at by raising such ungrateful brats. It was the kind of day that waterproof mascara is no match for...

But God spoke to my heart. I looked over and at the table sat Alaina....with her three year old sister in her arms. She was sharing a bowl of cereal with her. Yes the cereal that provoked tantrums from them...and me.

The tenderness and patience in the moment overwhelmed me.

And God whispered in my heart that "Because you are here, she will go."

She will hold babies in her arms that are not hers, and share all that she has, and she will do it with a patient and tender heart.

And that is why I am here and not there.

That moment was mine to capture. That moment was enough to remind me that I have not been left behind. And it was enough to remind me that my heart's desires to go and do and be are not lost in motherhood...and certainly not wasted.


  1. Kristan PedesclauxAugust 9, 2010 at 6:08 AM

    Amanda- this was so moving...I could hardly finish reading it because I couldnt see through the tears in my eyes. I have not lost a child, although my sister lost a set of twins. But I wont even try to say that I understand, but I do understand the desperate feeling of "am I doing this right"? I have teenagers that face struggles that stem from an ugly childhood/a messy I to blame for their wounds? Will they allow God to heal them?
    I am pouring myself out into my 4 children, and I wonder how much is sticking with much of it am I doing right... trying to lean on an invisible God in often impossible situations.
    I am blessed to read your heart today---thanks for sharing!

  2. Kristan,
    Thank you for sharing your heart.

    There are women in my life who are fighting for the life of their child... and I often feel like who am I not to love every moment of this? Especially since i tried so hard to get here....And I think women with healthy children need permission to say "this is hard and I don't know what I am doing and I am pretty sure I am not doing it all right". It doesn't make me ungrateful or insensitive. It's not a reflection of how much I love Jesus or how much I love my children. It is just hard. Worth it...but hard.