When writer Wendy Duke wrote in her book Grace in the Middle that nobody told her how hard parenting would be, I believe she was telling the truth. I know I heard quite a few stories about motherhood before my daughter was born, but there’s nothing quite like living it out.
As my 22-month-old girl inches closer to her second birthday, most days I find myself a little more tired and a little less tolerant. My house tends to echo with loud squeals and thuds and often looks like a tornado hit it, despite my greatest efforts to keep that from happening. And I tend to get frustrated as I’m being pulled low through a maze of mini books, clothes and toys all to meet an unmet demand. And let’s not forget about the meltdowns and the messes that seem to leave their residue on every piece of furniture your child touches.
But thanks to that book, I remembered that there’s grace right there in the middle of all that. I received a copy of Grace in the Middle from its publisher, Ambassador International, and from the moment I started reading, I didn’t want to put it down. I literally rooted for her family as the story played out on the pages in front of me.
I couldn’t relate to many of her specific struggles and circumstances, but I was still able to identify with her and the emotional roller coaster any traumatic experience can take you on.
For Wendy, the road to becoming a mom wasn’t easy. And when she was finally able to start a family, things didn’t get any easier. You could say things got even more challenging–giving birth to beautiful baby girl born with a physical disability and a life-threatening illness.
In the book’s introduction, she recalled how hard it was to relive the moments early in her daughter’s life. Yet, they helped her become the person she is today, and see that God has a plan for us and has a better perspective than we do when it comes to how it plays out.
Throughout the book, she writes about how God revealed himself in different ways and continued to “call” and “pursue” and “keep” her even when she lost hope in Him. I think all believers know what it’s like to lose hope, feel alone, or doubt God’s goodness when days are hard. And Wendy knows that. She uses her story to encourage anyone who may find themself asking, “Where is God?”–just like she did. She beautifully weaves her own experiences with God’s promises and parables from the Bible, while setting aside moments to root for you and lighten your load with a bit of humor. And to show the proof of God’s grace in her own personal pudding, she let her daughter–that beautiful baby girl who’s now a teenager–write the very last chapter.
It’s no secret Grace in the Middle helped me rediscover the grace I’m able to receive, but it also helped me learn to give it. So I held my daughter a little closer tonight, thankful for her life and health, and remembering motherhood can also be wonderful.