Saturday, May 7, 2016
When you fail as a mother
I clearly remember coming home from the hospital after Spencer was born and feeling completely inexperienced, untrained and totally ill-prepared. With a touch of postpartum depression I imagined the Police arriving with Child Protection Services to our front door to take him away because I had absolutely no qualifications to take care of a newborn baby. I remember kneeling on the floor, leaning on a chair and sobbing.
Today I have two beautiful children (Spencer 21 and Chloe 19) and they survived and thrived despite their mother’s lack of qualifications, and I am so very proud of the young adults that they have become.
Now I have 117 other children whom I (Ian and I) are legally responsible for and while I feel much more prepared than I did when Spencer arrived, there are so many complicated levels to raising, educating, loving and protecting children.
Last week we had a huge scare at the new Emseni building, and one that made me feel like a total failure as a mother and protector. We had an electrical fire.
“Coincidentally” (or because the God is God) I just happened to be in the building, with my friend Pete Wilkerson, when the power went off, the sparks started and fire started to pour down from the ceiling as the plastic light ballast melted. Within ONE minute the flames were big and hitting the carpet below. Pete and Allen were able to put the fire out by jumping off the counter top and flicking it with sheets and a teddy bear (not ideal, we know), while I helped the caregivers get all of the children out of the building to safety.
I lost years off my life that day and (more) gray hair suddenly appeared. Why had that fluke fire happened? How was it possible that Pete and I were in the building for only 90 seconds and in 60 of those seconds a fire had started? What if we had not been there to help? And then there was the next level of questions… where was the fire extinguisher? When did we do our last fire drill? Why haven’t we installed smoke alarms yet?
And there I was, a complete failure, again.
Now, if my mom was here she would say, “Jan, you can’t blame yourself for that. It was not your fault.” And I would argue with her that it is my responsibility to make sure our children are safe at all times. We moms carry the weight of the world, my mom taught me that and there is no talking us out of that. But my mom also taught me that when we are weak, He is strong, and on Tuesday morning our heavenly Father knew exactly where I was to be when that fire started. The fire wasn’t a surprise to Him and He was right there with us to protect His children.
Ian picked me up and brushed me off after a good cry, fire extinguishers were purchased (we do have them in all the other buildings, but they were on back order), smoke alarms are being ordered and an investigation in to the root of the problem is still happening. We are to give thanks in all things, so I give thanks for His hand of protection over my life and the lives of my family.
“…we are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me.”
Live from Swaziland… I miss you mom.