Motherhood is a Journey of Surprise

Catherine Knight

This is my seasoned wisdom to pass along: You must learn to listen for the surprise or you might miss it. You must learn to love surprise or you might waste it.

Each of my three children have brought their own unique surprises. Each surprise has changed the core of who I am.

Jeremiah Ryan Knight brought the first wonder on May 5th, 2012: the sensation that LIFE truly begins with motherhood. The moment I held his little 8 lb body I had the distinct sensation that nothing before him truly mattered. His birth birthed me as “Mom”. Motherhood transformed me into new and different person. That was a surprise and a gift I hadn’t imagined.

I was also surprised by the joy of seeing my face in his face. But I was truly astonished at how this Little Mirror caused me to see myself with greater clarity. Over time, as he continued to grow, these moments of reflection were quite comical. When he was around 18 months old he began blinking dramatically and forcefully with a full face scrunch when he was mad. After months of puzzling over why he was doing this and where he got this odd behavior, my husband noticed that I did a “blink” in a moment of pain! It was an “ah moment” when we realized he was mimicking me! I never knew until that moment that I “blink” when I’m unhappy!

Looking back, that was the first time my Little Prophet revealed something of myself to me.

Throughout his six years on this earth, God has spoken to me through him again and again. In the sweetest of childish ways, he opens my eyes to my own imperfections and areas of unrest in my heart. Jeremiah’s evening prayers are sometimes startling indications of my own need to experience the Lord’s grace afresh: “I pray that Mommy wouldn’t feel guilty;” “I pray that Mommy would know that she’s a good Mommy;” “I pray that Mommy would learn to pray as good as I pray.” His observations continually reveal something of myself to me.

My second child, Tirzah Catherine Knight was a surprise that changed me just as dramatically as her older brother, Jeremiah. Her stillbirth at 40 weeks was the birthing of me as a “Bereaved Mother.” Time stopped on August 20, 2014 and life was forever divided into “Before” and “After,” in the same way that Jesus divided history. While Jeremiah is my Little Prophet revealing my face and exposing my heart, Tirzah has been my Little Priestess guiding my eyes heavenward to Jesus.

I believe that when I’m old, and my body is worn, and I’m on my deathbed, I’ll say, “I’ve waited so long, Tirzah. My whole life I’ve longed for you, every moment of every day, and NOW it’s time.”

The Spirit spoke to me, “THIS is what it means to long for Jesus. Long for Him and wait for Him just like this.”

My daughter, Tirzah is ever-present in my mind and she has become a lens through which I interpret and experience all of life. We, as humans, tend to hold a worldview that experiences reality backward; as if this life on earth is the more true reality because we feel it with all of our physical senses. We tend to think of eternity and heaven distantly, abstractly, and probably not very often. The surprise my daughter gave to me is freedom from that worldview. Now I see that Tirzah is more alive than we are; our bodies are in a state of decay, awaiting death. She has the more true reality in the Kingdom of God that is indestructible, incorruptible and endures forever.

She has awakened me to these truths: Eternity is more real than this world that is passing away; Resurrection is our only genuine hope; God is passionate about LIFE, and He is a god of purer love and mercy than our fallen hearts can take in at this time.

My third child was born on August 25, 2016: Judah Hudson Knight. His birth came with a surprise too: The cry of LIFE. After the silence and pain of Tirzah’s birth, Judah’s life-cry caused my whole being to shake and moan with a primeval depth that I couldn’t control or stop. Perhaps it was a release of the hold that death had on my heart. It was a cry of healing and of new life: for both of us. “Enjoy him,” was the mantra a good friend said to me over and over. I can truly say that new joy was birthed in me when Judah was born and his life has brought a season of praise.

Judah is my Little Kingly Prophet, bringing a taste of the goodness and beauty of God’s Kingdom to earth.

Each of my children came with surprises that I learned how to listen to and see.

You must learn to listen for the surprise or you might miss it. You must learn to love surprise or you might waste it.

The astonishing surprise of motherhood has been how my children were given to me truly to shape my own soul. God brought me a Little Prophet into my life to reveal my face and expose my heart; followed by my Little Priestess orienting me toward eternity and true life, and finally sweet Kingly Judah bringing a taste of what shall be made full in eternity: “Shalom Restored.”