The hardest part of becoming a mother, for me, is trying to wrap my head around how much I love my child.
The hardest part of becoming a Christian, for me, is trying to wrap my head around how much God loves me.
The two go hand in hand and help me to understand each other.
I have lost three babies in my lifetime. But they are always in my heart and constantly on my mind. The unfinished tattoo on my head represents this; the little memorial I carry around with me everywhere.
When I was fifteen I was raped. It wasn’t the first time I’d experienced sexual abuse, but it was the first time it had resulted in pregnancy. I knew straight away. I had carried my little secret around with me under my school jumper for months. In those days teenage pregnancy was frowned upon. If you even had sex you were labeled a “slut.” I never used to use that word often. When I did it felt dirty in my mouth and I’d drag out the ‘sl’ with narrowed eyes and spit out the ‘t’ repulsively. I remember being nominated at the unofficial prize giving for the “Town Bike Award” the day I decided to leave school. -If only they knew. ‘Slut’ was a label I wore shamefully around town, plastered across my forehead. I decided to match my behavior and attire to my new designation. At least then they’d all have a legit reason to be judging me. Despite the circumstances, in becoming a mother God had shown me light in those dark times, and looking back on it now, I believe that’s what kept me going. I was terrified. But I loved that baby with all my heart and soul. The one friend I did tell at the time had said to me, “How can you even think of keeping a child who was conceived that way? They’ll hate you for it.” But that friend didn’t know this love I felt. That was between me and my child. These days people say, “How can you love a God who lets all these terrible things happen in the world?” And I guess it’s the same thing. The love I have for God, and for my first child, is personal, passionate and unexplainable. Despite the pain and fear. I remember the Sunday morning I sat on the bathroom floor whimpering, my red hands a shaking mess. I had never felt such loss and grief. With my fresh set of eyes I wonder now if God’s heart breaks the same when I wander far from Him, too?
My second baby was on this earth only a short while. I hadn’t known I was pregnant ’til I wasn’t anymore. But for that time, and even now, I’ll always feel nothing but love. Just as it is with God; although I’ve never seen them, it doesn’t mean my heart hasn’t known love. And I’m longing for the day when we stand face to face.
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.“
My third little love I had wanted for so long. When this baby too was taken from me I could barely handle the heartbreak. I remember the anger resonating amongst the hurt; the times I would break down and curse whoever took my babies from me. It didn’t seem fair. What had I done to deserve this? If there was a God, why had He been playing this cruel trick on my life? The only way to get past these feelings would be for me to trust that there was a reason my babies opened their eyes to see heaven first, and not their mother who loved them more than anything in the world. Little did I know, someone else loved them more. He who breathed life into them had taken them back into His arms, for reasons I will probably never fully understand. But that probably isn’t for me to know. Instead I have had to learn one of the most important lessons in being a Christian- and a mother too, I suppose- to trust in God completely. To throw up my hands when times get tough and totally give up, knowing in my heart that everything will work out the way He meant for it to and to let Him take charge of the life he created in me. The way it’s meant to be.
“For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.“
We held a small memorial service for her on the beach at night. We sailed a candle in a jar into the dark ocean which encapsulated a tiny teddy and a letter to her. We sat and watched until the glow of the candle was nothing more than a speck of light in the distance, dancing in the waves. We then released white helium balloons into the sky and then, despite everything I had been through, I felt at peace.
“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”
Having my son was risky; I was too afraid of losing another part of me. I felt I didn’t have the strength in me to bury another baby. I swore I would have to be buried first. I was scared to emotionally bond with him, in fear of him being taken away from me, but I couldn’t help falling deeper in love each day. It was during this pregnancy that I handed the responsibility of the life growing inside me to Jesus to take care of. I prayed every single day, thanking God for another chance and begging for safety and protection over my new family.The first time I held my son in my arms I clutched him tight to my chest and wept into his forehead, kissing my tiny angel’s face. He was my special miracle. I thanked God over and over again between outbursts of joyful tears. An overwhelming sense of perfect, unconditional love drowned my fears. In that moment I knew that no matter what came between us, ever, that love will never leave my heart. And no matter what he did in his life, I would always love him just the same. And that’s the moment, I think, that I came a step closer to understanding God’s grace and mercy and His own amazing love for me. Me; a slut, a sinner, a stupid little girl. No, I’m a child of the one true king. I’m unique, I’m beautiful, I’m important. And it blows my mind.
“God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children- this was his pleasure and purpose.”