My village.

I often stare at my boys and their perfect faces, whether in person or in photo albums, in absolute wonderment. I can’t believe they are mine and that God blessed me with the ultimate gift. I love them so much, sometimes I cry over it. There are hardly words to describe a mother’s love. It’s overwhelming. I have worried about them since the moment I found out they were growing inside of me. Every little cramp or ache would send me spiraling into panic mode. And every kick and flutter would bring the happiest of tears. My two pregnancies were the most beautiful times of my life. Then, looking down at them while they nursed, my heart was overflowing with warmth and peace. This is true love.

Then they started to grow up and to my surprise, I learned that they weren’t actually perfect. I realized that parenting is super hard and stressful. It’s pure joy with a side of heartbreak. The first time my oldest got into trouble, I was confident there had been a mistake. No way would MY son EVER do anything wrong (or illegal). I raised the best kid ever! Then the police decided to teach my little angel a lesson and drive him home. He ran in the door sobbing and terrified. He couldn’t wrap his little arms around me fast enough. I sobbed right along with him. It woke me up in two ways. It was time to accept that my boy is not perfect, and I have not been a perfect mother. I’m reminded of the latter more often than I would like to admit.

It takes a village. Oh God, do I see the truth in that expression now. I tried to do it all on my own. I regret that my boys did not get to experience growing up in a home with both mom and dad. I carry bags filled with guilt and shame. I’ve made so many mistakes. I have been prideful and disillusioned by convincing myself (and trying to convince everyone else) that I could do it all on my own and I would excel at it. Maybe I thought that the amount of love I hold for them would just cancel all the bad stuff out. I’ve been selfish too. And blind. I’ve been so blind to the things creating conflict in my home and turmoil in our hearts. But God recently revealed some hard truths to me and my eyes are open now. There is no denying His message.

I was brought to my knees a few weeks ago. Something so shocking and terrifying happened and all I could do was pray. I cried out to God. I sent messages to my prayer warriors and called my family. I knew that if we got through this, life would forever be different for me and my little family. And in those moments of desperation and uncertainty, in my words to God, I knew that a changed life was what God wanted for us. My pastor told me that this was the new beginning that God has given us. Change needs to happen in everyone and God is going to use this pain to create something beautiful. He is just getting started. And I know she’s right. I feel it. My other pastor and her aunt fell to their knees in prayer as well, along with my friends and family. When I knew these powerful words were being spoken for us, a sense of calm washed over me. It was the blood of Jesus that was being prayed for at that very moment.

I know that I can’t dwell on the past. That will not change anything, and it will only create distance between me and my Savior. Instead I can conquer the past and the lies I tell myself by always giving thanks to God for the good and the bad. This is how I grow in faith. Knowing there is a lesson in every detail even if I don’t see it. How wonderful it is to know that God doesn’t care about my past or my mistakes. He cares about where I’m going. The reminders and guilt and shame are not from God anyways. It’s time to let them go. I love my boys far too much to give in to that darkness. Now, think about that crazy amount of love and how it doesn’t compare to the amount of love that is held for us from above. It’s unfathomable. But it’s so real.

I can’t really describe the new sense of hope I feel. The love that was swirling around us during those difficult days was so incredible. The anguish brought me closer to my family. The painful dose of reality woke me up. The women who came together and prayed in my home inspired me and strengthened me and my faith. And the promise that every single morning, I can wake up with a fresh start and a clean slate, and forgiveness is something I’m not quite sure I’m worthy of. But God says I am. I can’t think of much that’s better than that!

What I thought was an ending really was a beautiful beginning. Funny how God works like that. Looking back, it has always been that way. Even when I didn’t see it at the time, God was always at work. Every time I would break, He created more ways for the light to get in. Thank you God! My little family is going to be okay. We’re not perfect and that’s alright with me. We have a limitless supply of love and we have our village, our church.

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