Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Saving Grace

I have to say, getting used to the busyness of two children has been an adjustment, but Kya herself has not really been much of a challenge at all. I was really prepared for and expecting the worst, according to some of the horror stories I’d heard about hormones, sleepless nights, and difficult feeding. But, God has given us so much grace and I feel like, more than anything, I’m hitting a stride.

However, it wasn’t always like that. I’ve put off writing about this for a long time, but it’s appropriate now, I think. One of these days my thoughts won’t be so extremely sentimental, but for now they are. That’s just how it is 
There’s a book that we regularly read to Sunda called, You Are My I Love You by Maryann K. Cusimano.

These are my favorite lines:
I am your parent; you are my child.
I am your quiet place; you are my wild.
I am your calm face; you are my giggle.
I am your wait; you are my wiggle.

I am your way home; you are my new path.
I am your dry towel; you are my wet bath.
I am your dinner; you are my chocolate cake.
I am your bedtime; you are my wide awake.
I am your finish line; you are my race.
I am your praying hands; you are my saying grace.
I am your lullaby; you are my peekaboo.
I am your good-night kiss; you are my I love you.

Just after we moved to Overland Missions and started 3 months of intensive missions training, Jake took a short trip home to the States. I was on my own for three weeks working full time as an AMT student, taking care of Sunda, and getting used to living in a tent. It was the first time I’d been left alone with my daughter for such a long stretch, and I was more than a little intimidated.

You see, it took me a little while to get used to being a mom. And at that point, I wasn’t sure that I was that great at it. It was a decision for me. Every day was a walk of faith, a process of trusting the Lord, hoping that at some point I’d feel like the mom that I so desperately wanted to be.

One evening, after a long day of lectures, I picked up You Are My I Love You to read to Sunda as I put her to bed. We’d read it many times before and I was always struck by the meaning in the words, even though I wasn’t sure I fully comprehended them myself.

I said this line aloud: “I am your finish line; you are my race. I am your praying hands; you are my saying grace.” For some reason, my tongue slipped. Instead of “saying grace,” I said, “you are saving grace.” I broke down. The truth of those words struck me so suddenly. Sunda was then and continues to be my saving grace. She has brought me out of selfishness and pride and taught me how to walk in humility. She has helped me to understand love as an everyday decision that, once walked out, becomes feeling. Because she’s very strong-willed and not at all fragile, she’s given me grace to learn how to be a mom to her. She continues to smile with me, laugh at me, present arguments to me, and rain love down on me in spite of my shortcomings.

Since Kya’s been born, Sunda has grown up before my eyes. She understands things I’ve never taught her and has a backbone I’m striving for. The other day, when I let the tears run down my face just out of exhaustion, she rubbed my back and said, “Mommy, when you’re sad and you cry, you have to ask Jesus to help you. And then you have to stop crying. Let’s go make some cookies.” Good idea, Sunda.

I’m so grateful for my creative helper. My strong-willed fire ball. My first born who has really taught me that being a mom has very little to do with giving birth. Thanks, baby girl. Sorry…BIG girl.


Beth said...

So beautiful. Thank you for letting us in on this!

sophanne said...

Oh Jessi- such very beautiful words. You are Grace.

Liezl said...

Jessi, you had me in tears. You are an awesome mom and a great friend!

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sophanne said...


Congratulations on your new addition my friend!

I have a former student (now in 9th grade) who has (since 4th grade) expressed a desire to do missionary work in Africa. Her second choice of careers is a music teacher.

I have shared your blog address with her mother. If you receive a hello and an enthusiastic request for some connection from Tiffany Howard, I'll be grateful for whatever you can do to share your experience with her and the work that it has entailed.

Love and Joy to you and the family-
Tecky Berry

Nene and Pappy Norm said...

As I read this again, it still brings tears to my eyes. You and Jake were Sunda's saving grace...and now, remarkably, she is yours. Funny how God works in our lives through our children! 2 beautiful daughters...2 wonderful many blessings for us to count! WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH!
Nene and Pappy Norm