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Rule #2: Unconditional Love is like invisible ink. While the invisible ink is made visible by heat, another chemical or ultraviolet light, unconditional love is made visible by uncomfortable situations resulting in pain, disappointment, anger from another’s behavior. So how do you know when you love unconditionally? When you are uncomfortable, don’t really want to, aren’t feeling it, but choose to love anyway – then you are loving unconditionally.

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When my first son was born, I felt motherhood was like going to a college class and taking the final exam on the first day- then spending the rest of the semester learning everything that was on the exam! 

Everything was so new. I lacked confidence, and, because I lacked confidence, I felt unworthy. Everything within me was challenged, both physically, mentally and spiritually. Everything within could either expand to grow – or suffer collapse.  Well, collapsing was just not an option I wanted to consider – even though there still are days when my heart just wants to. . . collapse into a heap. There are days when childbirth without pain medication seem less painful than motherhood.  I have learned I am stronger than I imagined, but, too, there are moments when pain experienced is deeper than I ever forsaw. 

My capacity for love expanded alongside my capacity for frustration. Sometimes I felt like one more experience would turn me into an overfilled balloon threatening to burst.  

Motherhood is a crash course in judgmentalism, forgiveness and compassion.  I think you learn that when you suddenly become the one missing it – or your children miss it. When my boys are being challenged beyond themselves, they get irritable, too – just like me.  The initial stage to a challenge is frustration, anger, the intense desire to retreat. Then comes reassessment, strategy development and attitude adjustment. When you are the one missing it, forgiveness seems easier to give.

Joy of Motherhood, Georg Waldmuller, 1857

There are days when I miss being 19 – when I was at the peak of my world I had just outgrown – but did not realize that I had outgrown it. I was at the top of my game – but I playing in the Little League. To all those wonderful high school seniors, just graduating, not just the ones I love with all my heart (I’m including you in this Anna) – this is probably one of the most perfect times in your life – you are being celebrated, you have achieved a lifetime goal of graduating from highschool – you have reached the end of a journey, and, for some reason, all those peers you tussled with over the last 12 years, well, they are suddenly hugging you. The world and its dreams are yours for the taking – or so it seems. 

 And then you begin another journey – a more challenging journey that will eventually lead to the Motherhood Journey. The Academic Journey, the Job and Responsiblity Journey, the Romance and Marriage Journey – well, they all shaped me and taught me, but it is the Motherhood Journey that forged me into more than I was before I had children. Becoming more than I was – experiencing intense love, pain, exhaustion, problem-solving , a never-give-up-ness, well, that literally never gives up, courage to fight instead of flight, rejection, heart-break, joy, laughter, wisdom, and humility – much humility, but much faith, much hope.

Mothers, like diamonds, are created at high-pressure high-temperature conditions, resulting in something of great beauty, strength and value. Yes, worth so much more than where I started from.

  

“An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels (Proverbs 31:10) 

 “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:72) 

 “Not only so, but we[a] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Rom 5:3-5) 

Motherhood, Adolf Fenyes, 1902

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