I’ve hated this picture since the moment I saw it.  There are many reasons for my dislike, all focused on me – my hormonal acne from pregnancy, my swelling, weight gain, and three chins from pregnancy (and just life), the list could go on and on.  It’s not the Pinterest, frame-worthy pictures of labor that I’ve seen.

But this week, I came across this picture again, and my focus shifted.

For the past 5 years, Mother’s Day has been bittersweet for me.  Sweet because I love honoring and celebrating the World’s Most Amazing Mama (don’t try to fight me on this)- Shelby Revels, and all the other wonderful motherly figures in my life – Cathy Poston, my aunts, my grandmothers, my mother-in-law, etc.

But Mother’s Day for me has also come with an extremely bitter side.  I struggled with “delayed fertility” for 3 years.  For 3 years, my heart would feel as if it were physically breaking on Mother’s Day, because I wanted so badly to be a mom. I would cry, dread all the Facebook posts of my friends and their kids – not because I wasn’t happy for them – I was – but because I was consumed with jealousy.  Why did God think I wasn’t good enough to be a mama? What have I done wrong? Why can’t I give my husband his desire to be a dad? Then, everything changed.  I was a mama- but it still didn’t feel right.  Last year in my own first Mother’s Day, I couldn’t be happy because I was dealing with a pretty severe case of Postpartum Depression (which is a whole other story for another day).

I recently heard a wonderful message on Joel 2, and how God restores our lost years. Our God wants only the BEST for us, He wants us to have plenty and be satisfied. He deals wondrously with us. God wants to take our shame away. The caveat to this is that we aren’t in control – He is, and He knows best.  As hard as that is. Take a look at Joel 2:25-27.

“The threshing floors shall be full of grain;

    the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

 I will restore to you the years

    that the swarming locust has eaten,

the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,

    my great army, which I sent among you.

 “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,

    and praise the name of the Lord your God,

    who has dealt wondrously with you.

And my people shall never again be put to shame.

 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,

    and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else.

And my people shall never again be put to shame.

This year is the first year I have felt genuine happiness on Mother’s Day.  Now when I look at this picture, I see the instant I became a mom.  I see the tears erasing my three lost years.  I see dreams realized and new dreams birthed – all in one moment.  I see my own sweet mama in the background wiping her eyes as she sees her daughter become a mom for the first time.  I see God’s PERFECT timing for bringing my Hudson into the world. My focus has shifted.

I’ve heard it said before, God has three answers to our prayers:

  1. Yes
  2. Not Yet
  3. I have something better in mind

However, my heart still aches for the people who can’t feel this way.  Whether you’ve lost your mother, you’ve lost a baby, your mother wasn’t worth celebrating, you became a mom sooner than expected, you are in your waiting stage, or God has something better in mind for your story – I want you to know your feelings are valid, and I am praying with and for you.

Motherhood is the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done.  Each day brings equal parts laughter and tough moments, but the joy is always there.  I will NEVER take this blessing for granted.  I would rather have a thousand sleepless nights from rocking a fussy baby than crying for one.

I hope wherever you are in your journey, you will look at this picture and see Hope.  I believe that the Lord will restore your lost years as He continues to do mine.