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For most of us, motherhood commences with a big surprise.

 

Even when you’re expecting it, as we were with our first child; even when you are trying to conceive–it all seems to drop into your lap as one big surprise when you take in the sight of that second pink line.

And they don’t end there–that positive pregnancy test is only the beginning of the surprises that begin rolling in with alarming speed.

It hits you again in the delivery room–at least I know it did for me. As first breath filled my boy’s lungs and my arms embraced all the fullness of another life born from my own, I never imagined just how right it could feel to meet a complete stranger. This boy of mine, crafted of my own being, image of my husband, yet wholly strange and unknown.

A first introduction with a first impression so strong and beautiful enough to graft two souls into one. I never knew such a love was possible.

 

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I had read the books and heard the birth stories of others, and I may have thought I knew what to expect, yet as I stared deep for the first time into those blue eyes designed after my own, I found myself completely taken aback with surprise.

And the thing is that even after you’ve memorized the shade of those eyes, and the shape of that chin, and the scent of that hair, you are still overwhelmed with surprises around every turn of motherhood.

Because you are never done learning your child.

As they watch you and mimic your behaviors and follow your lead in life– you are the one being filled with discovery.

They may be observing us, but we are the students.

 

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I happen upon it at the most unsuspecting moments, but I guess that is how surprises operate, after all. That in the piles of laundry, and smears of peanut butter, and finger-smudged windows, and yet another request for that same train book we’ve already read 10 times this morning–there is a whole lot of holy to be found.

 

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This motherhood gift, all wrapped up as surprise even when we think we know what to expect, Lisa-Jo Baker explains it in her book, Surprised By Motherhood, as this,

“A gift from God who names every part of who we are and what we do as significant. Because ‘He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.’ There is no part of our everyday, wash-and-repeat routine of kids and laundry and life and fights and worries and playdates and aching budgets and preschool orientations and world and marriage and love and new life and bedtime marathons that Jesus doesn’t look deep into and say, ‘That is mine.'”

It was when I read Lisa-Jo’s book that I began to see it from a whole new angle and in a whole new richness: the holy mundane of motherhood, brimming full with the abundant life, and strung together in a melody with each note made up of these surprises that never stop coming.

 

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In candid honesty and eloquent storytelling, Lisa-Jo shares with her readers just how surprised she was in becoming a mother. Her story captivated me as I was carried from page to page, unable to set the book down. I saw my own story in her words, and I recognized my own motherhood in her transparency.

She brings clarity to the muddy waters of emotions and fears, and offers a simple joy and purpose to extinguish the complications we often allow to seep into our days of raising these little ones.

In so many ways, her words brought me back to that delivery room, lights aglow and shining down on my body all broken and his own all new and perfect and perfectly mine.

 

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We don’t realize it then. There is no way in that moment that we can comprehend all the potential of this new relationship being born.

Because when we take into our arms that wholly unknown but altogether loved bundle for the first time, we are also receiving the gift of 936 pennies, representing the 936 weeks we have to raise this child.

And we can only know what those pennies are worth as we begin to invest them, one by one.

And I bet you that the worth of those pennies will be yet another surprise singing out the melody of our motherhood.

Because, as Lisa-Jo puts it so perfectly in my favorite quote from her book,

“Mothers may want to find room to breathe, to weep, to panic. But they don’t want it to end–this delivering, shaping, cheering, loving, bringing life into the world.”

And that’s exactly what those pennies are teaching me to do.

 

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{I am not paid for this endorsement–I simply want to share just how Lisa-Jo’s book has touched my life and changed me as a mother.

You can purchase Lisa-Jo’s book, Surprised By Motherhood, here.}

 

Eryn Lynum is a speaker and the author of 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting. (Bethany House Publishers, 2018) She lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and three boys, where they spend their time hiking, camping, and exploring the Rocky Mountains. She loves to travel and share at conferences, churches, and writers’ groups. Every opportunity she gets, she is out exploring God’s creation with her family.

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