So… here I am, awake in the middle of the night again, when I encounter something unexpected.
Somewhere in the 1:30-2:15 range of time, to be honest, I was too tired to pay attention to the exact time, the baby started to wake up. I found myself thinking that I wish it was normal and good for me to eat in the middle of the night 😉 And once I am awake enough to get settled in and feed the baby I start my usual routine… I know “they” say not to use electronics in the middle of the night because it will keep you up longer… but when you’re feeding a tiny baby that is exactly what is needed: to be kept up longer.
So anyway, I start my usual routine of checking apps on my phone. Have I done my Bible reading? ✓ Open the news app to see what is going on in the world. ✓ Check instagram to see if any other night owls have interesting things going on that can keep my attention.✓ But, like normal, I spend most of my time seeing what possibly has happened in the world of Facebook since I last checked it only a few hours before. ✓
I scroll and scroll and scroll… when I spot a post that catches my interest. So I go to click the wonderful expanded “like” button and there I see it. And I’m honestly just plain caught off guard.
Now maybe this isn’t ground breaking news to you but I didn’t see this one coming. At some point they added a “thankful” option. And there I am, at somewhere near 2 am completely stopped in my tracks, surprised by thankfulness.
It was a whole “to do” when Facebook changed the like options the last time. I’d heard about it for weeks before it actually launched. There was speculation, controversy, anticipation and notice of the date that things would change.
But this time, I don’t know, maybe I missed the memo on the whole upcoming thankfulness option because I was just plain surprised by it’s presence.
And then it hit me, sitting there somewhere near 2 am on Mother’s Day… that really has been the whole process of Motherhood: surprised by thankfulness.
For years I’ve been encouraged and challenged by 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. It is one of those verses that really speaks deeply to me.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
And I strive and fail… oh how I fail, to practice the truth in these verses in daily living. I guess I expected this to be a conscious process, to intentionally choose joy, prayer and thanksgiving. I know the desire of God for me is to be thankful in all circumstances and I believe (as Ann Voskamp says) that “thanksgiving leads to thanksliving.” But, man oh man, does it have to be so hard?! Life is filled with so many moments and seem to leech away joy, steal away our prayers and block any hope of thankfulness.
And yet, just like I was completely surprised by the “thankful” option on Facebook in the middle of the night, so too has motherhood been a process of being surprised by thankfulness in the most unlikely of circumstances and usual timing.
And I sit here remembering the surprise of thankfulness from across the years…
~Surprised by thankfulness when my very candid daughter waits to say something completely embarrassing until we are alone so I can laugh instead of turn red in embarrassment.
~Surprised by thankfulness for my mistakes because they help me speak words of admonition and wisdom into my children’s blunders.
~Surprised by thankfulness during my baby’s NICU stay as God ministers to my broken spirit in the compassion and caring of wonderful nurses.
~Surprised by thankfulness when a broken dishwasher allows me to watch my usually fighting children have an amazingly fun time hand washing dishes together.
~Surprised by thankfulness that in the most vulnerable, weak feeling moments of childbirth true strength and courage is found in the support of those around and inside myself.
~Surprised by thankfulness that our child puked (a very, very nasty situation) all over our van and not all over the people’s house we had just left.
~Surprised by thankfulness in the dark hours of the night when I cannot manage to mother… there are so many things I cannot handle in the middle of the night… that I have a husband who does.
~Surprised by thankfulness even in the loss of a baby as, through the tears, God opens the door for me to love on and care for hurting friends going through that pain.
~Surprised by thankfulness as I am trying to meet a deadline and I’m interrupted for what feels like the 500th time but this time there is a sweet little face saying, “I love you momma.”
~Surprised by thankfulness in how sharing stories of my deepest struggles opens the door for true community with other women.
Most of all… motherhood shows me day after day, moment upon moment of how we have a Father God who loves us so much that He is working all things to good. It’s the most surprising of all because I honestly want, expect, try and demand that God do that (work all things to good) by having all things be good. But that isn’t what Romans 8:28 says. And the surprising thing is, in the midst of all circumstances when a myriad of emotions are possible that thankfulness is there.
Mothers, today the prayer of my heart for you is that joy would be found, your heart would sing in prayer to God and that thankfulness would abound in your life.
Happy Mother’s Day! May you too be surprised by thankfulness today!