While dinner was in the pressure cooker, I started to read it and knew instantly that this was going to be a one dayer. Just like Twilight or Hunger Games, I was going to finish this baby in a 24 hour period. Diner was ready so I had to put it down, then went to the ball game then got kids to bed. As soon as the house was quiet, I pulled it out again and read until the early hours of the morning. I awoke with puffy eyes and rashy skin from the salt water tears that flowed down my face as I read. I awoke with the immense love for motherhood; something that echoed in everything Stephanie did and lived for.
I cried in this book not so much for what Stephanie went through in terms of pain (because I had already done that when I first learned about her accident), but for what she suffered from not being able to care for her family.
The only thing I really wanted to do in this life is to become a mother and a wife. I dreamed of my babies to come and my handsome prince that would give them to me. I couldn't wait to nurture them and serve them. I knew it was my purpose in this life and was ready to take it all on.
Motherhood is such an immense honor and privilege and a badge I wear with sacredness. My greatest fear in this world is to not have the ability to care for them. So, when I read Stephanie's book about how her crippled body left her with the inability to care for her children, I couldn't help but put myself in her shoes. I remember one pregnancy where the Dr. had told me I would possibly face bed rest for a few months. I came home absolutely devastated. I couldn't imagine not being able to do laundry or make breakfast. I couldn't imagine sitting there and letting someone else take care of my family. Stephanie lived this day after day. Because this was her sole desire in this life and divine purpose, she lived and became stronger and fought through the pain to be the mother she wanted.
So I awoke yesterday thinking about Stephanie and what an example she is to every mother out there. I admired her dedication to the sacred role of motherhood and knew what an honor and blessing this role is for me.
It was Fathers and Sons outing commencing yesterday where dads in our neighboring church take the boys on an overnight camp out. My daughter and I look forward to this all year. It is our time to be alone and do the girly things. We started with lunch then shopping and I ran into my dear friend that I hadn't seen in 20+ years. As we talked, my heart became heavy as we talked about many of our friends right now who have put motherhood on the backseat, to say the least. They have sought the world and left their children in the dust. They have forgotten the sacredness of the role of motherhood and these children will pay that high price of their decision. I don't understand how that can even be possible. I try really hard not to judge, really hard, but family is the true treasure on this earth. It should be our driving force. It should be our purpose and our focus. Families are what will make us truly happy, not money or beauty. I am so sad that so many right now are forgetting this.
I am beyond thankful this day for my ability to mother. I love my family more than words can tell. Sure, it isn't always a picnic. It can be hard, exhausting, overwhelming, frustrating, and just not plain fun some days but as I think about the happiness it brings to me to love them and be their mother, there is no other thing in this world that could bring me that joy and peace. It is a joy that will be eternal if we allow it to be. It is a choice to find happiness in motherhood. It shouldn't be a chore. It should be a privilege. We should never, ever forget that.
Anyone who is struggling with their role as women should read Stephanie's book. If they struggle with self image, motherhood, spirituality, marriage and happiness in general; read this book. If you want to be uplifted and hopeful; read this book. She had to choose everyday to be happy. She had to choose to overcome despair and depression and fight to keep her role as mother and wife sacred.
My favorite quote from her was in her epilogue:
"Happiness was my choice, and though it is hard won, I am the only person who can stand in the way of it."
I love that. Happiness is a choice. It is not given to us by worldly things. It doesn't depend on how much we make or if our house is clean and our children are perfect. Happiness depends on choosing to allow it to be in our hearts. It is found in us serving others and forgetting about ourselves.
Today I am most thankful for motherhood. I miss my little father and sons and anxiously await their return (although the quiet house is pretty nice right now as well).