6:55 a.m.

With the last slice of sweet potato pie from Thanksgiving in her right hand, and a half sleeping baby wrapped in her left arm, she quietly paced the floor.

The night had been rough. The early morning had been eventful; a stuffy, baby desperately depending on a tired mommy for relief. 4:30 a.m.

After a 30 minute episode (that felt like an eternity) of baby screaming, Mamma was finally clear-headed enough (and awake enough) to remember how to remedy the problem: sucker bulb, tissue, cocoa butter, peppermint essential oil, and eucalyptus essential oil…and of course some comfort nursing.

That solved it.

Her husband, fresh out of the shower, quietly put on clothes, came over to kiss her goodbye, and headed out of the door to work.

Now awake, she became plagued by the recent onset if questions around her preparedness (and lack of preparedness) for marriage, motherhood, and family.

What in the world had she thought it would be? Her mother’s question again arose. She had thought, she guessed, that it would be the way it was for her mother–uninvolved with tons of other people doing a lot of it for you.

Marriage…well she had no clue. It was always an idea…an illusion that seemed so shiny, so packaged, so cute, and so sweet. Marriage was…that thing that made a family complete: a dreamy husband, a “nice” house, and some cute kids; 5 kids to be exact.

Apparently though, marriage was work…and kids…kids were sacrifice that God expected you to give to willingly and with a humble, obedient, faithful, joyful, and submissive spirit.

This, she was not expecting.

Though she had heard stories and was now old enough to know that not all things need to be seen in order to be proven, she still had so many instances in her life where her parents sacrificed nothing for her.

Her dad, in his absence, lived life as if he had no family. She never saw him tired from work or giving his last or serving her or her mother over himself. He never said “no” to work or opportunities because there was something she needed from him more. No accomplishment in life was big enough to celebrate with his presence.

Her mom, in her presence, was no different. Work…or something or someone else always came first over her.

Middle school graduation–no parents. Marching band performances–no parents. Awards days–no parents. Cheerleading–no parents. Birthdays–no parents. Learning to drive–no parents. Getting her driver’s liscence–no parents. Junior prom–no parents.

Everything was always financed but someone else was always sent to substitute and their presence was always outsourced.

So she guessed she had always expected to outsource her parenting. She hadn’t known it, but that’s what she expected. What she also hadn’t known…that her experiences, though common, were not normal and that they created and fostered terrible psychological and emotional states and tendencies. In many cases too, they created opportunity for plenty of physical dangers as well…

But oh for the Grace of God…she had been covered and kept. Though she had a few scars and a couple of bruises…she had been saved.. many times…and positioned, even now, for victory.

And so at 6:55 a.m. she paced. A little stung by the further realization of her realities, but grateful to God for Revelation.

She would Google…”How do you prepare your daughter for marriage”…and then “How do you prepare your son…”

And she would search for all the answers she didn’t know she didn’t have.

She would overcome by the blood of the lamb, yes, but also by her testimony. If she was ever going to help another woman…or her sons…or her future daughter in laws; she would have to heal from her wounds so she could correctly interpret and share her story. If she was ever going to heal she would have to understand just how wounded she was and invite Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help her through.

And so she paced…at 6:55 a.m. thanking God for that sweet potato pie and for the quiet of the dark, warm winter morning; asking the Holy Spirit for patience to mother faithfully with a kind spirit, and with a joyful heart.

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