When Regina sent me this guest post, I was in the last weeks of pregnancy. Her words were the boost I needed that day!
And you may figure out that I am blessed with a lot of friends named some form of "Regina/Gina" who write! You'll be hearing from some more of them in the next weeks. (And for those who wondered - I'm just plain "Gina.")
The Mourning Dove Mother
by K. Regina Stouffer
I was weary.
Weary of lugging 20 extra pounds of body weight with every step I took.
Weary of getting up in the dead of night to use the bathroom, then not being able to get comfortable enough to go back to sleep.
I was weary of chasing my 18-month-old son around the house; he took advantage of Mom's lack of speed and enjoyed it.
I was weary of this pregnancy.
One morning I slid out of bed and stretched awkwardly as I peered through the bedroom curtain at the foggy outdoors. The morning mist foretold a chilly, rainy day. The huge branches of the maple tree nearby swayed in the wind, and a few of its leaves brushed my window as if they, too, wanted to come inside to be warmed.
When my eyes focused, I noticed a few drops of rain already splattering the sill, and I shivered. I needed to buy groceries and stop at the pharmacy this morning, but in this weather?
Might as well. I already waddle like a duck; the puddles and splashing raindrops will complete the picture – a mother duck followed by a small duckling in tiny yellow boots.
I shivered again and yawned. I was about to turn away from the window when I detected a slight movement in the tree. There, nestled in the crook of two branches, was a tiny gray bird. A mourning dove! And it was sitting on a nest!
I gasped as the comparison hit me: this bird was also 'trapped' in the responsibility of incubating a tiny bit of life. There she sat, in the chilling rain, but she didn't even consider deserting her post. She wasn't questioning the wisdom of her Maker Whose plan included this forfeiture of freedom as part of motherhood.
Morning after morning, before I started my daily responsibilities, I checked up on my little friend, the mourning dove.
Without fail, I would find her in the crook of that tree, feathers unruffled, peace on her face - and in her heart - if that is possible in the bird kingdom. She did not waste one moment in doubting that this was her place to fill. She embraced motherhood, yes- even if it meant being 'tied down' to the nest in the tree.
When the rest of the world was stirring to new life and new opportunities, she sat, trapped, for the sake of her young. She was absent from soaring over fresh green fields, finding nourishing seeds near the rich earthy soil, and drinking deeply from mountain springs while tiny crocuses blinked sleepy eyes and awakened nearby. But she left that all to her mate, willingly. She didn't think that life was unfair, or that motherhood was a cumbersome responsibility. She didn't resent her mate for his apparent freedom. She was simply and humbly fulfilling her Creator's will.
I cannot say that I never again complained about the increasing discomfort of pregnancy and the sacrifices I was making. It didn't happen overnight, but with God's help in those laborious days, I tried to see motherhood as a noble calling.
God was using the mourning dove to change my perspective. The mother bird nested there each day until my pregnancy ended in the birth of a precious baby girl. I have no doubt that God sent the little bird to teach me a lesson.
I never saw the additions to her family; I was too busy with mine. But one morning, I paused at the window and noticed the vacant spot in the tree. I whispered, “Thank you, little bird, for your example in untiring commitment. Blessings to your little family! Good-bye! And, thank you, God!”
Regina and her husband live on a small farmette in Myerstown, PA, where Glendon is in the business of antique tractor restoration, and Regina's business is the restorations that come with motherhood- fixing toppled laundry piles, replenishing empty fridges and freezers, and band-aiding bruised knees and hearts in sibling relationships....May you be encouraged as you are reminded that you are not alone in the 'trenches' of trying to raise your children for God in this increasingly-dark world.