Today I’m thankful to have Jordan Fortenboher on the blog once again. She continues her story of entering motherhood and the limits she is learning to feel and face. (If you missed Part One, please go read it.)
When Laura asked me to write a part two for my last guest post, I almost thought the words would never come. Being a mom is a whole new kind of crazy. As wonderful and magical as it can be, motherhood is also the most challenging and refining thing I’ve ever done.
I look back on the pregnancy and how difficult every day seemed at the time…now it seems like a total cake walk compared to having a newborn.
There were so many days (and still sometimes are) where I found myself looking at my husband through tear-stained eyes and mouthing the words “I just can’t.”
I just can’t. Hitting wall after wall was not what I imagined motherhood would be. Breaking down over and over, struggling just to get through the next hour, was not the picture I had looked forward to for so many months.
Full disclosure: it was a nightmare. I was losing it. I had no idea what I was doing (and I still really don’t).
This is hard, but it is worth it.
I thought if I said those words enough, eventually I would believe them.
It took a lot longer than I expected, but I believe them now. I believe those words with every fiber of my being. It is so worth it.
The being pushed and pulled in all directions. The emotional roller coaster. The fear. The anxiety. The heartbreak and the tears. The feeling of failure. Uncertainty. Exhaustion. It is all worth it.
I never imagined I would be so tested, so broken down, or so humbled. And I hated it the whole way.
The old me was dying. I questioned every day whether I was really cut out for this, whether I could really do it. Boxed in by physical, emotional, and mental limits was overwhelming. I could not function. I just wanted to shut down, but I could not. A tiny human was counting on me to be present for him.
And slowly, over time, day by day, this new, fresh, unraveled, humbled me began to grow.
It is all worth it because the journey has completely changed me.
Being pushed all the way to my limits and far beyond hurt like crazy. But as I look back, I see those old limits are behind me now. As if I stepped over them when I wasn’t looking and now they are in the past. There are so many gifts, countless blessings, unwrapped each and every day.
Somehow, the Lord quietly led me right through the fire. It’s not that I emerged unscathed. Much of me was broken down. A level of pride and selfishness I never knew was there presented itself and got smashed to pieces as the walls I built long ago crumbled around me.
But I emerged from the fire, nonetheless. I came out on the other side, and I’d like to believe I’m stronger, humbler…somehow better because I see myself a little bit more for who I really am: a sinner, so imperfect, undeserving of love, yet fully loved by a gracious God.
I have this picture of a good Father, carefully leading me through the hard stuff to help me grow, rather than shielding me from the refinement I need.
A Father who clung to me and pursued me when I was too exhausted and disillusioned to keep trying.
A Father whose strength held me up when I could no longer stand.
A Father whose hand is currently healing the scars, rebuilding the good parts of what was broken apart.
A Father who gives lavish gifts like a baby’s laughter and delight bouncing around in his eyes and gummy smiles and the excitement of all things new.
A Father who teaches overwhelming, sacrificial love by His perfect example.
I wish I could be more clear about what God is teaching me through this difficult journey. But I am going through an upheaval of sorts.
I didn’t understand until I felt it, this parental love. I keep expecting to hit a limit there. My heart is so full of this love, it could burst.
But God keeps growing my heart to hold the growing love. He keeps gently pushing the limits, and I think He always will, until all that’s left is love. He whispers that His love is even greater. I can’t even fathom it.
Sometimes limitations are meant to be accepted with grace. Sometimes they are meant to be overcome. Sometimes we crash into the limits until we finally break right through them. But the best news is that we never have to face our limits in our own strength.
There is a good, good Father, walking with us, often carrying us, always loving us. He is making sure the journey is worth it. Our limits do not define us; the Father’s love does. And His love has no limits. As the Jesus Storybook Bible (Lloyd-Jones, 2007) would say, it’s a “never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.” And it’s a love we can count on.
Jordan Fortenboher is a wife, new mom, blogger, and singer-songwriter. Her goal is to share hope with the world by writing honestly about her struggle with anxiety and how God is carrying her through it. You can read more of her writing or check out her music (including her latest album!) at jordanforty.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.