I also didn't know I was going to spend two hours reading.
Rain and reading. Sigh. So much love in my heart.
I love stories. Emotions and people and adventures. Loss and blessing, unknowns blooming into known, all woven together by the hand of the Creator. My heart was made for stories.
I love the sound of water. Raindrops falling from heaven onto rooftop, splashing onto the back porch overhang, fast forming puddles on the uneven side yard. Splish splash. Plink plunk. Dribble dribble drip drip. Whoosh.
A symphony that stirs me.
Oh, how I love being surprised by a perfect night.
(Laughter bubbles from the inside as I type that because I'm also surprised by what "perfect" now means to me. Perfect now means letting go of perfection. Because to get to my cozy spot on the couch I walked past the sink full of dirty dishes, I slid my hand over the batches of payments to post for my part-time job to grab the book that was beckoning me, I sidestepped the overflowing basket of laundry that needed folding, and finally I skipped over a collection of brightly colored kitchen toys strewn across the living room rug that I didn't make the boys pick up before bed.)
I actually had big plans for productivity, but three children were sleeping and my husband was away and I told myself just a few pages with my feet up after a long day was all I needed to recharge before charging into my to-do list for the night.
So I snuggled down in my fuzzy green blanket and found my place marker in the new book with the cherry blossomed covered: Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker.
I've read Lisa-Jo's blog about motherhood for about a year so I've heard many pieces of her story before. I already had a sense that being a mom wasn't a dream she had carried since a little girl, but rather an unexpected gift she blossomed into. I knew her mom died a long time ago. I knew she balanced mothering three young ones with a passionate heart for working and serving others.
So the voice that spoke across the pages of this book was familiar. I wasn't shocked by any twist or turn her story took.
But as Lisa-Jo bravely told her story of being a woman who adamantly did not want to be a mom to becoming one with an unexpected heart-song, soul-call to be a cheerleader and champion for all other mamas, I was surprised by how deeply her transformation moved me. How her story changed me. Called deep to me.
Surprised by Motherhood is brutally real and beautifully transparent about the gritty moments of raising kids that can make us come undone. Oh, how I relate to tempers flaring at strong-wills willing. How you can love so deep you can hardly breathe and yet the mundane drain of a life stuck on repeat can nearly suck all your breath away.
These pages took me back to the days of battling what I read in parenting books against the real-life baby I faced and how the mismatched reality rocked me. But Lisa-Jo's melodic words also transported me back to the awe-struck wonder of growing new life, birthing new life, living for the sake of loving this new life! A miraculous dance with God who chooses to use a mother's womb and heart as life source for His children.
But what reached my heart deepest as the raindrops ricocheted off my roof, was Lisa-Jo's story of calling. That sometimes, most times, we don't have just one. As intricate as our baby's dark eyelashes or plump and pink new feet, so has God made our hearts and minds miraculously multidimensional, beautifully complex.
Her story whispered reassurance to my heart that my most precious calling to mother my children whole-hardheartedly doesn't have to negate a God-given passion for something else.
I am a mother. And I am more than a mother. And my mothering makes everything else that I am and do better, more blessed, than if motherhood was not part of my story.
That's Lisa-Jo's story.
God is writing a different one for me.
But reading her journey gives me greater comfort and courage to live mine.
And maybe that's what has surprised me most about motherhood:
my need to do it in community,
my need to hear other mamas' stories,
my need to share my own.
And how we are all the richer for it.