Even though I have been a mother for over 17 years, I still smile and feel the wonder of what it means. You see, I never really longed for motherhood. I was not the girl on other families’ speed dials for babysitting services. When I did babysit, I just ate snacks and barely tolerated the children!
I was raised by a single mother. Even today, she is my hero and my best friend. She did an amazing job raising three girls on her own. She loved us with everything that she had, and she sacrificed so much every day to make sure that we were cared for.
I remember always feeling petrified of the doctor, and even the thought of being in labor and having a baby convinced me that I would be driven to insanity, unable to recover. Despite these fears, at 19 I found myself expecting a baby. What I didn’t realize then was that God was weaving an amazing tapestry that would not only change my view of motherhood, but would change EVERY aspect of my life in the most amazing ways.
At that time, I was the type of girl that no one expected to become independent or would be driven enough to follow through on goals. Finding myself pregnant was both hysterical and frightening, but the craziest thing occurred instead. From the moment I knew I was expecting I felt a fierce protectiveness that was so foreign, yet natural at the same time. All of a sudden, I was faced with a choice of whether or not I would mother and parent this precious little one.
I could have gone through the motions and cared for the basic needs no matter what came our way, and honestly I thought I was capable of doing that, but unbeknownst to me, God was working out a miracle. Having my oldest son was the most beautiful and shockingly awesome thing that had ever happened to me. A combination of the absolutely over-the-top dramatic reaction to my cesarean section, and then looking into his eyes for the first time was a roller coaster experience that dropped me into the land of motherhood, a place I never thought I would live.
Fast forward to the birth of my second two sons, born with Down syndrome. This was another twist and turn for me, but also a beautiful addition to the tapestry that God was weaving! I learned what love does when tested and tried by fire and hardship. Nothing could ever prepare a person for the struggle or the treasure in store for a mother of a special-needs child.
So here I was faced with another choice. Would I ride these unexpected waves, and submit to the grief I thought would be our lives? Indeed I choose to say yes, and what followed can only be described as sweet and terrible chaos, mixed with unmatched joy and love for our family.
After several miscarriages, our third and final son was born. We pictured him in our minds as the calm, easy one; the one who would be a perfect addition to our family. Perfect addition YES, but in no way calm. Not even for a second! Our little one arrived with a host of feeding issues, food allergies, seizures, and behavioral needs that would send us on an educational tour of rare and strange conditions, and nearly over the edge of sanity.
It was a difficult time, and we were left wondering what God was really doing. I struggled big time, wanting to trust, and wanting to rise to the occasion. But when it came down to making the choice to jump into this season, I was very hesitant. I even had a period of time where I chose to check out. I went through the motions without really being there. I cried every day, and kept so many of my feelings inside.
For several months we wrestled with the why’s and the how to’s, battling doctors and diagnoses. It was a dark time. And just when I thought I had escaped having to make any choice at all, God brought me back to the beginning. He reminded me of His absolute and complete faithfulness, and He reminded me that if I relied on His perfect strength, my weakness would not only be irrelevant, it would aid in reflecting His amazing power to change hearts and lives. So with that, I yielded again. I remembered that He CHOSE me from the beginning of time and He CHOSE my boys, and I could and can rest in that. What a gift this choice thing is!
Today, I am a mother by choice to three biological children who are THRIVING. They are my joy, and remain a constant reminder of God’s incredible grace. I am also the mother by choice to five other children, who are not born of my body, but are children of my heart. They are a reminder that God chose us, poured out his incredible love onto us, and now gives us the ability to pour out that same love onto others.
Summer lives in Fairview, Oregon with her husband Dan and their three biological sons, along with five other for-now blessings, whose forever stories are still being written! You can read more about her family’s journey at thriveministriesDS.com