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But God is Good: Portia Collins shares her journey to motherhood

Live It Up!

Live it Up pulls together content and stories about intentionally living lives that are enriched by Scripture and inspired to action. Our prayer is that we would grow to understand the purpose we’re given in God’s Word and subsequently live out our lives on purpose.

With Mother’s Day around the corner, we wanted to highlight a few mothers and their unique journeys. Today, we hear from Portia Collins, theologian and founder of She Shall be Called.

“The journey has been more like a crawl of lowliness filled with lots of grace and humility”

My daughter, Emerie Mikhaela, was born on December 20, 2017, weighing only 3lbs 11oz. After a long and complicated pregnancy, I received an induction at 33 weeks as a life-saving measure for her and me. That season of life was one of the toughest that I had ever experienced, and little did I know, it was only the beginning of a series of tough things I’d walk through as a mother.

To be clear, becoming a mom has been incredibly wonderful in many ways. I love my spunky daughter fiercely! Seeing her grow and learn every day is one of my greatest joys. Parenting her has also refined me, and I am genuinely grateful to be her mama. But as much as I’d like to think I’ve traversed motherhood in a blaze of glory, if I am honest, the journey has been more like a crawl of lowliness filled with lots of grace and humility. Mother’s Day is typically when I pause to reflect on my journey as a mom. It is a journey filled with magnificent highs and devastating lows, but more than anything, it’s a journey filled with much of God’s grace.

Can I be honest? Perhaps painfully honest? I stepped into motherhood with insurmountable shame. Before having my daughter in 2017, I had experienced unplanned pregnancy during college that regrettably ended in abortion. Later, after genuinely coming to Christ and surrendering to Him, I was blessed to meet my husband and begin a life together. During the early months of our courtship and early weeks of our marriage, I found myself routinely haunted by my past. In the back of my mind, I thought, “Why would God choose to bless me with children when I spent years not valuing the beauty of motherhood?” I felt that childlessness would be a just punishment if I could no longer conceive. To my surprise, pregnancy came much quicker than we expected. We were both elated, and I thought I was finally beginning to release much of the shame I had carried for years. Unfortunately, the joy of a new baby diminished quickly when I miscarried around 7 or 8 weeks. “This is what I get… I don’t deserve to be a mom,” The thought passed through my mind as my doctor wheeled me into the operating room to perform a D & C. Shame and guilt continued to consume me for weeks. As we neared Mother’s Day 2017, my heart grew weary. I can vividly remember pretending that everything was fine. I wished other moms a happy Mother’s Day with a smile while inwardly writhing at my babies’ absence. Unbeknownst to me, I was just a few weeks pregnant with Emerie.

“My journey (and all of its difficulties) only magnified my need for Jesus as the ultimate redeemer”

My doctor confirmed my pregnancy with Emerie at a routine appointment two weeks after Mother’s Day. The terror in my heart quenched the joyousness of the experience. Would I lose this baby too? Can I seriously do this “mommy” thing? So many questions flooded my mind, but I didn’t have much time to think about what I felt before I started to experience severe pregnancy complications. For 33 weeks, I went through innumerable twists and turns that often ended with me in the emergency room. I had hoped for a glowy, smooth-running pregnancy like other women, but that was not my reality. I was miserably sick, swollen, and exhausted for the entirety of the pregnancy. Once my daughter was born, I thought I had finally reached my ultimate heart’s desire of carrying and birthing a child. Sadly, I still found myself buried beneath shame and guilt. From challenging breastfeeding sessions to hours on end in the NICU to long nights filled with tears from both Emerie and me, I struggled again to see motherhood’s beauty. I suppose, in some weird way, I thought I would be able to redeem myself by becoming a mom. However, my journey (and all of its difficulties) only magnified my need for Jesus as the ultimate redeemer.

Fast-forward, and here we are four years later. I’d love to say that I’ve mastered motherhood or perfectly look to Jesus in every aspect of my mothering. That is definitely not the case (feel free to insert a modest chuckle here). Every day I learn something new, and I embrace a renewed level of humility. But the most significant change that has happened through motherhood is understanding (more deeply) the love between a parent and child. I love my daughter so much! I would literally lay down my life for hers. Even when she is more than a handful, I never want to throw her away or shame her for her mistakes. I want to tenderly guide, correct, and love her.

And to think, that’s precisely how God loves us. Frankly, He loves us even more than we could imagine and abundantly more than what we could ever offer our babies. Realizing God’s love for me was utterly life-changing. It has freed me to learn, live, and love as a mother in a way that doesn’t keep the score. I am not a perfect mama by any means, and motherhood isn’t always easy. But we don’t need a perfect or easy journey to experience the beauty of God’s grace. In fact, it’s in the imperfect and challenging times when we can often see and readily receive God’s grace.

“Motherhood is hard, but God is good.”

If I had to sum things up, I’d say, “Motherhood is hard, but God is good.” No matter what your journey as a mom looks like, God is still good, and He is near to every one of His daughters. Today, if you feel nearly crushed beneath the weight of being a mommy, I encourage you to remember God’s love for you. Know that He is walking with you every step of the way, and He is using your journey (whatever that may be) for your good and His glory. Being a mom doesn’t position you beyond the grace of God; no, it sets you smackdab in the middle! How precious it is to know that as you are caring for your children daily, God is caring for you too!