If you’ve ever been put through a Body Mechanics class, they’ll tell you to lift with your legs and not with your back. They teach you how to maintain the natural curvature of the spine while sitting. They have pictures to show you how to carry things properly. What they don’t tell you is how to hold a big dream.

My improper posture was hurting me while I tried to carry the dream of being a mother.

I thought I had to wait and hold the weight inside my heart. The older I get, the more I see my friends my age and much younger becoming moms. And that’s great! It’s beautiful to see the way motherhood affected them for the better, and their adorable babies.

The problem was that I thought being a mother meant giving birth or adopting a smaller, younger human (not a cat, cats aren’t the same). Then a mother would nurture said human unto adulthood. This hard definition was a great source of frustration and disappointment for me, because I have wanted to be a mom for a relatively long time. My hands got tired of carrying such a heavy dream the wrong way. It was like one of my college dorm moving days, when I lived on the 4th floor of Bruce Hall for a month and had to carry my old school, big box television up the stairs. Is it even worth it? Do I really want this?

In the middle of my wrestling with the not yets of life, God has given me glimpses and taught me how to spill my mothering love. I get to flex my nurturing muscles with other kids, with other people. I found that I am a mother to all kinds of people. I gave birth to none of them, but I adopted them in small ways. Opening my home, or serving a meal. Holding them when they cry, and being a comforting voice on the phone. Having the willingness to stand with them through a difficult or awkward part of life, gripping their hand and walking them into a place of confidence.

Is a mother not someone whose presence carries the sense of home? I can be the refuge place, the familiar sense of belonging. I can carry this gift and place it on people, like a crown of flowers. I can name them, and raise them from where they are to a place of fuller maturity. I can even mother people older than me. I have sons and daughters, many of them! God has given me a big family, and not the way I expected. Odds are high that I will someday birth and adopt young humans, in the more conventional way, but until then I am already true to myself. 

One of my friends from ministry school has a 6-year-old little girl named Grace, and this child loves me and usually asks me to hold her. Why Grace picked me to be friends with, I have no idea! I’m guessing it’s my red hair? I notice that Grace is a little fraction of God’s grace to me, as she sought me out in the crowd. I find myself holding grace for my mothering heart, tangibly and sufficiently. A mother’s love doesn’t have to be aimed at just her own children, and I have motherly love spilling out from my heart, lifting the excruciating weight that used to pressure me. I don’t have to hold back or put off my love. There’s mercy for the in-between. If you’ve let me love on you like that, thank you for helping me spill my dreams.

Are you holding big dreams? How can you begin to spill them?