I promised that my next post would be about my mom, and here it is: My mom has always been an example to me of tough love. My siblings and I used to laugh when we were younger at the song called “A Mother’s Gentle Love.” Her love is anything but gentle. She always tells me exactly what I need to hear, whether I want to hear it or not.
One of my favorite baby stories has nothing to do with me and everything to do with her. I was two years old around Christmas time, and my parents had been invited to their neighbors’ house for dinner. They were walking across the street in the snow, and my mom couldn’t figure out why I wouldn’t stop crying. As punishment, she made me walk the rest of the way to the house. When my parents arrived and the neighbors invited my parents to take their shoes off, my mom realized that I didn’t have my shoes on. She had made me walk in the snow barefoot.
We joke in my family that all the stubbornness from my father’s side and all the stubbornness from my mother’s side found refuge in me. I can’t count the times I’ve heard my mother say, “You are being ugly right now, Kaitlyn.”
It is because of this tough love that I can trust my mom. When my hair began falling out and I thought I’d be wearing a wig for the rest of my life, I remember calling my mother one night crying. She told me through tears that my Heavenly Father has counted the number of hairs on my head, how many I had, how many had fallen out, and how many I had left.
I have seen her overcome her introverted spirit to reach out to her students and the people in the church. I have seen her follow God’s leading even when it meant leaving home to go to a place where no one wanted her. I have seen her trust God when her heart was breaking. I have seen her be vulnerable and grow in the Lord when He brought our family through a trial that shook our faith in Him, a trial that is still going on.
I have seen my mother, an independent, self-reliant, stubborn woman, daily submit herself to the Lord and to her husband with joy. It is because of my mother that I so strongly desire to be a wife and a mom someday. And I am not ashamed. There are many people in my workplace now who don’t understand my desire; they seem to think a career is more important. I disagree. God has given me a good desire, and whether He chooses to fulfill it or not, I will trust Him.
My mother was married at nineteen years old. I don’t know many women mature enough to do that. She says she was not popular growing up, but she has more dating stories than I’ve gathered in my twenty-five years. She had dates so far lined up that my dad had to drive her to meet those dates after my parents had started going steady, as they called it back then. Because I have not had that experience in college, I often feel ugly. I try to figure out what’s wrong with me. I try to figure out why I’m not attractive to guys. What is it about me that needs to change? I’ve come up with different theories over my college years. Of course, there’s the old standby: I’m not pretty enough. And then there’s the thought that I’m not conservative enough. I’m not godly enough. I heard a new one this semester: I’m not needy enough.
But as I’ve been crying to my mother and hearing her say, “Why are you believing Satan’s lies? God loves you. He has accepted you in the beloved!” and as I’ve been doing my own study this semester on God being more than enough for me, I’ve come to realize that God is making me a beautiful bride for Him.
I get so discouraged every time I sin. I feel like the whole world is watching me sin and condemning me for it. I feel like everyone who sees me knows my darkest secrets. I feel like I will never be good enough no matter how hard I try. I was overwhelmed by grief this morning when I read an email from a teacher telling me that I need to be careful to not become proud. And I thought, “He thinks I’m proud! I can’t believe he thinks I’m proud!” And then I had to laugh at myself for displaying pride in my thoughts in that moment. And then like a blow to the head I thought, “That’s why no one likes me. I’m too proud.”
But here’s what God keeps bringing back to my attention: I am proud. I’m a sinner. BUT God can be glorified in my weakness. How can God be glorified by my pride? by my insecurity? by my discontent? by my failure? When I look at God instead of my sin and praise Him for His grace that saved me and His love that keeps me, He is glorified. God is making me beautiful even though it hurts. I may not be beautiful now, but one day I will be beautiful as I come down from heaven with the rest of God’s church, adorned as a bride for her husband. In that day, I will no longer make life about me but all about Him! Even so, come Lord Jesus!