“The war is over, turn around. Lay your weapons on the ground. The smoke is fading before the light. The dead are coming back to life.
He has made a way for us, born for glory out of dust, children held within the arms of peace. He has made a way for all, mercy waits where sinners fall. He is our victory.
The war is over, His love has come to call us daughters and sons. No longer orphans without a home. No, we have found where we belong.
It is finished, it is done. The blood of Jesus, it overcomes. It is finished, He has won. Yeah, He has won.”
– The War is Over – Bethel Music
I am reminded of a season where I battled fear and oppression almost ten years ago. It was my lowest point. I had to battle for every step. My joy was completely gone and replaced with unexplainable fear. A month into my battle, I went to a prayer meeting at our church. In glorious rescue, God came down and delivered me from the chaos. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. He spoke to me. To me!? And He freed me from that oppression.
But a few weeks later I fell back into my old patterns. That same fear and oppression came creeping back. One night, in desperation, my husband and I called my Dad (who is also our pastor) to come over. I was so confused. I thought I had been freed?
He prayed with us and then said something that at the time felt so confusing. He told me that I had been delivered. I had been freed. But I had slipped into my old patterns of behavior and thought processes, and now it was time for me to change. To act differently. To completely let go of the past and move forward in freedom.
Oh, man. That was NOT what I wanted to hear. I didn’t want it to be my fault. Ha!
But now I get it. The war was over, yet I was still firmly planted in the battlefield. I was cowering and ducking from imagined attacks. I was swinging at a defeated enemy. I can’t help but think of Eleazar who fought the Philistines until the blood congealed and glued his hand to his sword. (2 Samuel 23:10) Super gross. But that was me. I had fought until I couldn’t let go of my sword. I didn’t even notice the sword was still in my hand, it had become such a part of me.
I lived in defense instead of offense. I used the same coping mechanisms in victory as I had resorted to in war.
But the war was over. He had won.
It can be scary to go forward in victory. When you go through a season of battle, you have to find ways to cope and survive. But the way you survive in war doesn’t translate well to life in victory. You have to lower your defenses, throw your weapons down, and make that first victorious step in faith.
The battle is the Lord’s to win, but victorious life is ours to live.
Some seasons require battle. They require picking up the sword and the shield and standing our ground. But some seasons require throwing our weapons down. Stepping out in victory. Shedding off our armor. Running free and unencumbered in His glorious light.
Tomorrow my younger daughter turns one, and this milestone feels like it has silently jumped up out of nowhere. Somehow, someway, amidst all of the nose wiping and snack preparing and story reading and child raising, my infant turned into a baby turned into a whirlwind of a one-year-old.
I can’t help but think back to this day last year. The last day we were a family of three. Daddy, Mommy, and two-year-old Ruby. I spent the evening cleaning the house and trying to calm my bundle of nerves. Everyone told me that a planned c-section would be better than my first emergency c-section, but I didn’t believe them. This time I knew what to expect. I knew the vulnerability waiting me on that bed. The cold, the helplessness, the arms strapped down and the numb body. A doctor rummaging around my insides, tugging and pulling.
My first c-section came after 36 hours of labor. The baby that everyone was worried would be born too soon was content to stay inside. I worked so hard to get her to progress, but at the crucial moment of her birth I was powerless. Helpless. Overcome with disappointment and the feeling that I hadn’t become a mother, instead the doctor had just removed a baby. No effort from me required.
My first moment of motherhood was wrapped up in disappointment and the conviction that I had done it wrong. That I was not enough.
Mothering. You’re doing it wrong.
Have you ever felt that? I mean, if you haven’t are you even on the internet? One quick peek at my Facebook feed, and I learn about five ways that I’m failing my children. To vaccinate or not vaccinate. Sleep train or not sleep train. Home school or public school or private school or unschooled.
Birth is just the first of many steps that a mother can plan out to the second, and then watch as everything is turned on a dime and the tightly-held plans are thrown out the door.
With Ruby, I lived in fear of doing it wrong. I did everything by the book. And I knew how to do everything by the book because I read all of the books. Every single one.
I never expected myself to be perfect, but I sure did try awfully hard.
Mothering. You’re doing it wrong.
Before Selah was born, I knew I would need an extra grace. I felt it in my bones. Raising her is like raising wildfire – she is fierce and powerful and exhilarating and leaves me humbled. I have thrown out the books with her and pray daily for God to show me how to be a good mother.
I didn’t know how desperately I needed her.
Ruby gave me the gift of becoming a mother. Selah gave me the courage to be one.
Anyone can write a convincing Facebook post about the right way to get a baby to sleep through the night, but only a mother can hold her child and know whether she needs comfort or solitude. Anyone can tell you how to discipline a child, but only a mother can look into her child’s eyes and know whether she needs a hug or a time out. Anyone can tell you how to raise your child, but only you know how to mother her.
Selah has taught me that I will do it wrong. I will make mistakes. I will lack. But I can never fail her as a mother.
My daughters do not need my perfection. They will see the standard that I hold myself to and try to emulate it some day. If they see a mother striving for perfection and obsessed with the notion of failure, how will they learn to surpass me? How is that drawing them to God?
Mothering has taught me that I do not have all the answers, and I most likely never will. This isn’t a black and white, yes or no kind of thing. Motherhood is shades of gray and doing your best and trying again tomorrow. I refuse to live in the fear of not being enough for my daughters because I KNOW I am not enough. I have never been and I never will be. They were formed with a God-sized void, just like me. They will always need more than what this world has to offer. What I have to offer. My only role is to lovingly raise them as best I can while continually pointing them to the One Who does no wrong. Who is more than enough.
So when my plans go astray – when motherhood doesn’t look like I had hoped – when I am met with insecurity and fear and failure, I trust in this. He set the world in motion. He formed it all with His hands. And He chose to form my two little wildfire miracles inside of me. In my womb, in my heart, in my dreams. No one else.
The Creator of galaxies saw your children and knew that they needed you. With Him on our side, fear and insecurity have no choice but to leave.