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The Mom God Called Me to Be

“Strong-willed”. That’s the word we used for a while. Attributing his red hair and big personality to the often larger than life emotions that he seemed to fluctuate through each day. From loving snuggle bug to raging monster, we often just boiled it down to, "Owen loves big, so the opposite is also true when he doesn't get his way." I'm not sure when it really started to click that something was amiss.

Maybe it was last spring when the tantrums became more violent and harder to contain. Or maybe it was when that one Christmas Eve when he refused to wear the outfit I bought him for the occasion. Grave with concern he would be made fun of for wearing a flannel, he was the happiest guy at the Christmas Eve service in his sweatpants and sneakers. Which puzzled me as he was surrounded by so many dressed to the nines. I shrugged it off as another battle avoided. But in the last few months since Owen started Kindergarten, all the dots started to connect and what used to be a hazy image of a brash immature toddler refusing to grow up, became a completely different picture all together.

When we considered Owen going to kindergarten last fall, I was concerned. Would he make it through the day without a tantrum? And if not, would anyone show him the compassion he desperately needed? As thoughts of worst-case scenarios ran through my mind, I felt God bring a calm to my spirit and an assurance that I should continue walking Owen towards kindergarten and God Himself would provide a way and open the doors that seemed impossible. And God did.

Even as we journeyed the months between Owens fifth birthday last May and his first day of kindergarten that August, I began to pray that God would bring just the right teacher and just the right aide to work with Owen. Asking God to prepare their hearts with extra compassion and grace to understand him in a way that others don't. To give them a love and care for Owen just as they would for their own children. To give them a mama's heart for him.

And then 3 weeks before school started, I got a call from the kindergarten teacher asking if I would aide in Owen's classroom. My heart exploded with joy as I knew this was just another one of those doors God was opening for both Owen and myself and that indeed my prayers had been answered for a mama's love to be poured out over Owen each day in kindergarten. And so, with great anticipation for all the possibilities that lay ahead, off we went on another grand adventure.

And at first things went well. Sure, Owen was defiant and stubborn as usual. Embarrassingly so. I knew God was keeping me humble and even as I hid the tears and my heart ached for his struggle, I believed God was working something in the midst of those painful moments for both of us. And then somewhere along the way God, in His love and grace, opened my eyes and I began to see, Owen wasn't just being "Owen", something far different than I had ever anticipated was unfolding before my eyes. It became glaringly evident that Owen was not just melting down for the sake of throwing a fit and getting his way, but that fear and anxiety were a daily battle in his life and everyone in the room was missing it. Everyone but me.

Early on in the year he had quickly been labeled "the bad kid" and "the trouble maker". And after Christmas break, he was spending most days in the hall or with his head on his desk crying. What most saw was a child not getting his way. What I saw, was a little boy wanting desperately to be perfect and failing at every turn, the pressure and weight too great for him to bare. It was at this revelation I began to realize exactly why God had brought me to this place. It wasn't to start my big ministry, nor was it to bless another child. I was gifted that job to have a window into my child’s life in a way I never had experienced before. A chance to see that behind what once was deemed Owens "quirks and tenacious will" was a boy trying so hard to fit into a world that wasn't made for him.

Fast forward a few months later and I now find myself resigned from my job at the school and teaching Owen at home full time. We still don't have answers for the power skirmishes with Owen. My heart still breaks daily as I often feel so ill equipped to help this precious boy who I see struggling so badly. The weight of all the unknowns so heavy on my heart as we walk into doctors’ offices and talk to therapists. I want answers for Owen. I want answers for us so that I can help this sweet boy be all God created him to be, even if how we get there looks far different than I anticipated.

Even before Owen was born, I knew he was destined for greatness. If you ever have a chance to meet Owen you will understand why I have always had this image of him leading a crowd. Whether in song, or inspiration, maybe preaching, I have always seen him on a stage with that big smile on his face, full of passion and the joy of Jesus flowing out of him. And I think, "if I can just get to that day, survive where we are now, all the stigma and tantrums, I know I will see that vision come to life and I will know I have completed the task God gave me to raise this world changer."

But in this moment, as I look at this boy having a melt down so big, I fear we might never come back from it, I wonder why God would have given me the task of raising him. How could God have ever thought I was the right mama for this job? I can think of several who would have far more patience, or knowledge to raise such a wonder. This is not the road I would have chosen. Nor anything like I expected when I prayed to be a mama. No, the mom God called me to be is far different than I imagined.

Yet, even as I will myself to not sit down in a corner and ugly cry for days over what is or what might be, I feel a stirring in my heart that even if this is not the motherhood I would have asked for, that God did not make a mistake when He chose me and for this reason, I must trust Him. And because Owen has been entrusted to me, I must fight with everything I have to get him the answers and resources to be everything I already know God is calling him to be. Because I AM his mama. If I don't fight for him, then who will? If God is revealing these things to me about Owen when everyone else missed it, then I believe with my whole heart God is already prepared the resources and opening the doors we need to bring healing and solution to so many questions in the here and now.

No, I am not the mama I thought I would be. But slowly, I am surrendering what I thought it would look like and learning to be the mama God has called me to be. And even in the long and weary nights, I know each mountain is working in me the character and stamina I need to conquer the next. And how I long to see the day when Owen has traversed his own extensive and difficult roads and comes out the other side victorious. He may never know what all was sacrificed in the pursuit of his well-being, but I pray he will always know two things, how much his mama loves him and how greater still his Savior does.

Mama, friend, I don't know what is in your life right now that makes you feel the way I do when I stare head on into the days ahead. Maybe it makes your knees tremble, or sends you to the floor in tears. If only I could reach through this page and take your hand and we could share the burden together. I would remind you to take courage. Find strength in the truth that He who calls you is faithful. He will be faithful to show you the paths to take, placing you in just the right spot and revealing the truths you need to take the next step. After all, we walk by faith, not by sight.

And today, not knowing what the future holds, I choose to take each moment by faith with my hand in the Saviors, believing that if He led me here, He will be faithful to lead me home. And I know He will do the same for you. This may feel like the end. And for many things it is, the life I planned, but for so much more, it is only the beginning of God working out another fabulous story of His grace triumphant over what man deems impossible. Have faith my friend, the best is yet to come.

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Emily Karc
Emily Karc
Feb 05, 2023

So thrilled it spoke to you. ❤️


You've shared your story so beautifully here Emily! Thanks for sending it to me :) - Amy Sullivan

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