This post is part 3 of a 30-day long series of reflections on my life as I approach my 30th birthday. If you’d like to catch up and follow along, you can find part 1 here.
Last month, John Piper tweeted the following:
Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.
High school and those first couple of years of college were rough, weren’t they? All the mother/daughter things. Mani/pedis with mom. Moms passing on how to do makeup or style hair. Rushing sororities based on mom’s legacy. Heck, even my favorite character/TV show at that time featured a strong mother/daughter relationship. I certainly grieved this absence in my life. I felt inferior to other girls my age so many times because I didn’t have that kind of mom.
I didn’t talk about that emptiness often. I preferred to put up a brave face. I’d wear my childhood like a sanctimonious badge of honor that somehow made me stronger, wiser, more resilient than other young people who didn’t have half the life experience I did at 20 years old. Yet, behind that bravado was an insecure young woman who desperately wanted to chat with my mom about boys, get our nails done together, go to the salon or to the movies.
So, to 20-year-old Rachel, I want to say: it’s okay to grieve over the loss of that life you hoped would be, but be real about the grief. Don’t hide behind your bravado, burying your insecurities in the dark. Bear them in the light and strip them of their power. Don’t dwell in that grief for too long, either.
Trust God, and embrace the life you’ve been given. It will make you a better wife and mother. When you fight with your husband, your past will help you understand how to make amends, apologize, admit when you’ve been wrong and seek reconciliation. When your children push you to the end of yourself, remembering your mom’s anger will help you find grace in the trenches of parenting.
So, embrace the life you have. It’s far more than what you hoped would be.