At the end of that day, I couldn’t rightly remember if I had actually swallowed the little blue pill. Every night at 6 pm my phone alarm plays the harp to remind me to take the blood thinner for my mechanical heart valve. I still can’t get over the irony that the girl with possibly the biggest rodent phobia ever has to pop a pill of rat poison every single day.
But, it’s the kind of medication that I simply cannot forget to take. Without it, clots will form around the valve in my heart and will stop the valve from opening and clicking shut, preventing the blood to flow through properly. As annoying as the distinct clicking sound can be, it is a good audible indication that my heart valve is still working.
Six o’clock has become known in our home as Warfarin Time.
So this night, I couldn’t remember if I really did swallow the pill. I remember the alarm going off. I remember pouring a glass of water and reaching for the bottle of pills, but then because of a distraction, I couldn’t recall if I followed through with this routine I have had for two and a half years now.
I didn’t even think about it until hours later when I found my glass full of water apparently untouched.
I asked if anyone happened to notice me taking my pill. No one had.
In the end, I had to assume that I did take it, despite the distraction, with the smallest sip of water leaving no visible evidence behind because overdosing on Warfarin is just as dangerous as forgetting to take it a time or two.
But, as I was tucking my littlest into bed she became concerned about what would happen to me if I didn’t take it. I reassured her I most likely took it out of habit. She looked up and probed further.
Why do I need the medication?
What would happen if I just stop taking it?
What if . . . ?
The question hung heavy in the room like a thick haze.
It hurts in the chest to breathe in the harsh reality that your seven year old has lived half her life aware she could lose her Mom and nearly has more times that I care to count right now. We haven’t hidden the truth from our children; we have walked alongside them with a fixed gaze, pointing them to Jesus.
In the pause, she switched her thoughts and asked me why I have so many wrinkles. She’s an honest little soul, that one. And well, maybe not the most flattering thing for a woman to hear, those are way easier questions to answer.
She reached up to point them all out, maybe to smooth them or count each one, when I told her flat out those fine creases on my face are not wrinkles; they are beauty lines.
She turned toward the window that was veiled with the roller shade for the night and her eyes lit up as the sun was going down. She laughed with me and pointed her finger knowingly, charging me with the accusation that I just made that one up.
I did, I confess. I made it up. But, beauty lines sound so much more graceful than wrinkles. She can run her finger along the furrows of my beauty lines and we can both be reminded that real beauty is more than skin deep.
As I age, the more clearly I see the lines etched and stretched on my body are marks of beauty in life as they have come from the gift of living out many days. But they are fleeting.
Our hearts will stop pumping, our bodies will die, our wrinkles or beauty lines or whatever you call them, will fade. It’s souls that are left at the end our lives.
It’s the hidden heart that rests in God, the meek, quiet spirit precious in God’s sight that is unfading in beauty.
In the sixteen years of being a mother I have learned a few things about motherhood.
Maybe the biggest thing I’ve learned is that I have barely a clue of how a woman who desperately longs for a child and holds three close to her heart opens her hands up and gives them back to the Lord.
Barely a clue. But, I’ve learned it comes with a breaking. It comes with the crucible. It comes with waiting and refining. It comes with denying self and believing God is the only One who will satisfy our hearts.
It comes from the Giver of all good gifts. It comes from trusting in Him and believing that He gives us all things for our good and for His glory. And there is lasting, unfading beauty etched in all of that.
The taller my children have grown, the more I have needed to get wisdom and understanding.
The more difficult the lessons in life have become, the more I need the Lord to strengthen my faith.
The louder the discord of voices have become the more they drive me to seek the voice of Truth.
It’s those voices that haunt us as mothers.
The voices that hurl all your faults in your face, so that your heart heaves and howls over all your fears and failures; these voices can make you bleed thin.
The tormenting voices that stir up emotions in the stillness of the night lash out at you.
The hostile voices that disturb the peace in the hidden places of the heart unsettle you.
The deceitful voices that speak lies in the dark valleys of every life mess with you.
The cruel voices that scream with comparison that you will never ever measure up can shred you up to smithereens.
Honestly, how do any of us get any sleep the way the voices shriek in our secret chambers?
How do we still these menacing voices as mothers?
Maybe if we see that the seasons in motherhood are made up of so much more than countless diapers and cautious young drivers and curious minds earning degrees.
It’s more than sleepless nights or childhoods zipping past way too fast. It’s more like the seasons are all the joys and all the sorrows that structure our lives.
As mothers, our days are spent in soul-searching longing and heart-wrenching labouring.
The times of waiting and of weaning, the receiving and the giving, the nurturing and the letting go, they don’t end in this life; they spin in cycles and wring us out of ourselves.
Those seasons that burst forth with new life seasons and the seasons that squeeze the life right out of you are all apart of this life as a mother.
Those who continue to long and those who live with the longing unmet mature in these seasons as well. We’ve all been made to nurture and receive and give back.
For all of us this breaks us down to the very fibre of our beings.
The truth is we all call out in the night, at times our tears will be our food day and night, and we will grow weary from our wailing. The many voices will trouble us, the fear threaten to choke us.
But, right there: be still and know that God is God. Rest in Him. Silence the lies and trust Him.
Motherhood has a way of stripping us down to grow us into women who hold children near to our hearts, but open our hands to give them back to the Lord.
And when you can’t remember if you have done everything just right, run your finger along every good gift and count every grace that He has etched and stretched across every season of your life.
We simply cannot forget. Our hearts need it. It is time to give God thanks in everything. Those voices will fade away as the One who is Truth quiets you with His love.