"We'll never be able to travel!!!" Those were the first words Lindsey cried out when we discovered she was pregnant with our firstborn son, Cameron. We had only been married six months, she was only 21, and having a baby was not on our agenda for the next five years.
It took us several months to realize the gift parenting would be. This journey included the reminder of the miracle our children were being that I couldn't have children due to my battle with cancer and the treatment I underwent. Even after embracing the idea of being a parent it took me a while to actually feel comfortable in the role of "dad." Maybe that's normal for men and maybe it was just me. Today's thoughts, however, are not about me.
Lindsey immediately took to parenting. I was blown away at how effortless it looked to watch her care for, love, play with, and all the other things she did as a mom. In so many ways, we were still babies ourselves but she had this natural way of mothering that was inspiring and quite attractive. Probably why baby number two wasn't long behind the first!
As I've watched over the years, I've realized why she was such a rockin' mom. It wasn't a set of intangible or non-duplicatable qualities that set her a part. Each quality was something she had worked toward, committed, and improved on as she grew in her faith and walk with God. I've listed a few of them today.
NOTE: If you're a new mom, young mom, or a mom in general, you don't need to have the coolest style, best recipes, or be the best social media user. Start with these traits and the rest will be icing on the cake (that you bought at the store cause you don't need to be a great baker either).
1. She Follows Jesus Faithfully
Lindsey is committed to not just the practices of a "Christian" but the life of a follower of Jesus. This means she looks at and does her best to model the life Jesus lived. She chooses compassion over judgement, selflessness over greed, and forgiveness over bitterness daily. She's not perfect but the other day at the beach I could have sworn I saw her walk on the water for at least a few seconds.
"To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." -Ephesians 4:22-24 (esv)
2. She Loves Her Children Unconditionally
I think many of us would say we love our kids unconditionally. The issue is we aren't the people who get to answer the question. Do our children believe they are loved regardless of their actions or achievements? Do they know they may lose privileges because of behavior but never our love? I believe with everything in me my boys know their mom loves them regardless of any choice, circumstance, or decision they make. She shows it in how she disciplines them. She displays it when she holds them close after a major mistake and even after they receive the consequence. They hear it in what she says and how she says it. There is one thing I've never seen this woman do to her kids. She's never withheld her love for them. This is something she gives because of what she has received from her heavenly father:
"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39 (esv)
3. She Leads Courageously
You don't know her whole story. This is not the time to tell it. She has faced many circumstances that have left her fearful of what's to come next. However, her very obstacles are exactly what she has used to motivate her to lead our children with courage. I heard a story of a man who prayed over his children every night. He was very clear that he didn't pray that God would keep them safe but instead would make them dangerous for Him. In those prayers his children began to understand the courage that comes when we put our trust is God.
Lindsey leads with courage. She has taken great and vulnerable leaps and our boys have watched her example. She has overcome the baggage she carried through some of her life and been bold about the freedom she now experiences because she faced difficulty. She has stepped up and tackled new adventures all while they observed. She's taken stands for what she believed in. She's chased after what she believed was the next right step for her, for them, and for our family. They have witnessed courageousness from their mother and they will be more courageous in life having been her kids.
"for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7
I could make a list of so many other great qualities my wife demonstrates each day as a mom for Cam and Con. But I want to encourage you in this. We were not prepared to parent. She was not "ready" to be a mom. She became a great mom when she chose to put 100% of who she was in God. You may not have all the "cool mom" stuff. You may feel inadequate, unprepared, or even not sure this whole mom thing is you. I want to encourage you to do what Lindsey learned to do and put your trust in Him. We have failed many times as a mom and a dad. But He has never failed us or our boys once. He won't fail you either.