On Turtledoves and Surrender
This summer, I took a trip to Holland, Michigan with my mom and two younger sisters. Amidst thrift and coffee shops, we made our way into baby shops. We looked at diapers, blankets, toys, and the hundreds of other adorable things that little humans need.
I remember sitting down next to my mom on a bench, looking up at the sunny sky, and being struck by the fact that, even though I was preparing so intensely for this new little life, my baby really was a gift that was not wholly my own.
And right then and there, I told my mom that I wanted to surrender my little boy's life up, sacrificing my own control and desires and submitting them in a full offering that was wholly outside of myself. And the image of Mary presenting two turtledoves at the Presentation came to mind.
Imagery for me is powerful. I need constant tangible reminders of why and because. I feel like there are so many images and scenes in literature and Scripture that I glaze over because I'm too impatient to notice them, but they are everywhere, and they are rich.
Mary's surrender of her son was always a thing I intellectually understood, but I don't think I knew what it meant in my heart until I pondered it as a pregnant person. I thought about all of the hopes and dreams I was building up in my mind for my little person, and the expectations that I had as a first time parent to a little son. I thought about how I felt like I was in total newness and a comforting familiarity with my child both at the same time. I dreamt about seeing his little face and holding him and kissing him, and watching Garrett become a father and how wonderfully profound and beautiful it all is.
And then I think of the transitions awaiting me in the seasons of life that stretch before me. I think about letting go, saying goodbye, and watching suffering from the sidelines. I think about watching my good advice fall on deaf ears, and witnessing silly and serious mistakes over which I have no control. I think about the fact that I am not in complete control of my own life, and how utterly separate this little boy is, because he is his own soul on his own journey.
I think about the reality of letting go, and giving over his mistakes and triumphs to the Father in a way that gives part of my heart over too.
I think about making my little kid a tangible offering back to God, because He has a way of bestowing upon us the most precious and beautiful of gifts for a season. But ultimately, they are His, and I am just the vessel through which His plan unfolds and unravels.
Turtledoves, to me, represent this motherly mindset that I want to possess and embody: knowing that His plan is bigger and better and more lovely than my own, and being okay with the fact that even my new little person is not entirely my own, but wholly and completely His.
Motherhood, I know, is an overflowing and transformative thing, filled with glorious victories and sweet moments. But I also know that seasons of suffering, painful growth, and naked surrender accompany these things and I want my heart to be open to the journey that awaits me in just a few weeks.
So, Father, let my little fiat be the simple permission and surrender that You desire from me, and thank you for giving me the privilege of motherhood that is the most humbling and beautiful crown I have received.