It’s Mother’s Day. And this is the first one since you surrendered your parental rights and now our children are on the brink of our forever family.
Not an easy day for either of us.
This Mother’s Day, I feel particularly wrecked. So many people wishing me a happy day, many times over. They know a small part of our story and they know five children–3 biological and 2 that we share–call me mama. But they don’t know the whole story. Our children–all of them–have had to endure brokenness in order to have redemption. They’ve all loved and suffered and been stretched beyond what we thought possible. The children we share have lost one mother and gained another. It’s a horrible story. It’s a wonderful story. It’s all of it. All of it is yours and theirs and ours.
Yet it’s important that you know there is a part of you that I carry around, somewhere between my heart and my throat, where I guard you fiercely. People may judge you everyday–the choices you’ve made, the choices you continue to make–but I want you to know–I need you to know–that I carry you with me because I love you.
That kind of love does not make sense, I know. I can’t explain it. Other than the fact that God continues to show up in every step where my feet dare walk in faith and He continues to surprise me with His mercy and relentless pursuit of all of us.
Did I have any intention of knowing you? Guiding you? Loving you?
Honest answer? No.
I intended to love your children. Help them heal. Clean up the messes.
But God does mysterious and wonderful things when we allow Him to use us. He turns something unfathomable into something possible. He turns something hard into something sacrificial. He turns something broken into something beautiful.
That’s what happened with you and me.
God told me to love you before I knew you. He told me to believe in you before you believed in yourself. He told me to invest in you because no one ever had. He told me to do these things with the promise that it will bring Him glory.
Our story isn’t over but there’s so much glory I frequently feel like kneeling down with my face in the dirt because it’s sometimes too much. My love for you and our children is like seeing the face of God.
You’ve made some bad choices. But you’ve also been dealt a hard hand and really, for that, my heart breaks. But despite your past and your present and your unknown future, you decided to break the cycle and give your kids a life you couldn’t give them and a life you never had. I will never, not once, stop being thankful to you for that.
The signature you put on that paper that day–the day you surrendered your parental rights–was never merely ink. You signed with tears and heartache and responsibility and sacrifice. I knew that then and I know it today, on this day especially. I carry that burden with you because I love you and I don’t want you to carry that story alone.
We’ve been brought together, B. It makes no sense. It makes total sense.
That is why I guard you fiercely. You bore my children. They are ours together.
One of my favorite quotes by Annie Dillard says “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” And I want you to know, B, that I will spend all the rest of my days loving our children. It is my promise to you.
Katie Kenny Phillips lives in Atlanta with her husband, Jeff, and their three hilarious boys (Bigs, Middles and Littles). Their home is made up of two parts Legos, one part dirt/sticks/rocks/acorns and all parts “whose underwear is this and why is it in the middle of the family room?” She and her husband just started an orphan/foster care ministry called (1) Family at Dunwoody Baptist Church and are excited to become foster parents themselves in the next few months. Katie writes at Operation: Leap of Faith and you can visit her at www.operationleapoffaith.com.