Aug 2013 27

I have never been a huge fan of sugary things.  Pie or cake? Nah. Chocolate? Meh.  With the exception of gummi bears, I can pretty much take it or leave it.  But I have learned that I can’t live without a certain kind of sweet.

One morning after I had spoken at a women’s event, a young woman came up to me at my CD table.  She introduced herself and said she had a question for me after hearing my story.

“You seem so content that you never got to be a mom”, she said. And then asked “Are you content?”

I had to stop for a second and think. Was I indeed… content?

Here’s the thing: I had always wanted to be a mom.  From as far back as I could remember I wanted it more than anything.

I had been a focused businesswoman up through my forties and hadn’t married until I was 41.  And with a new husband 11 years my senior, it became clear to me that having a child together was not the right path for us.  So although my dream of finding my lifelong partner was exceeded beyond my wildest dreams, the dream of ever having a child… died.

I’m not going to lie.  Waiting all those years to find God’s man for me was tough but this… this was a bitter pill to swallow.

But 14 years ago, disguised as a personal crisis, God gave me a shot at a “do over”.  Doggone it if He didn’t let me start my life all over again when He gave me the chance to get out of myself, grow up and grow deep with Him, and I grabbed it with gusto.  He began maturing me in all areas of my life, showing me in spades that He had my back and wanted me to experience all that life had to offer.  I dug deep into His Word to learn more what that meant and realized one day that I had given in, had completely accepted what He had for me, and had developed a desire to want what He wanted for my life.

It just didn’t appear that having a child was going to be one of those things.

But here’s the thing. Over time, I began to realize that accepting life on life’s terms left a sweet taste in my mouth… and besides, I learned there are a lot of other ways to be a real mom.  Here are a few I’ve found:

When I married Wolf, an extraordinary stepdaughter came with the deal who I couldn’t love any more than if I’d given birth to her myself.  (Mariah often jokes that it’s a darned good thing I didn’t because if I had, she might’ve gotten my thin hair!)

Wolf and I host young people in our home from all over the world who come here to study English.  In the time they are with us, we are given entrance into their hearts and thoughts as we pour into them, striving to provide as full a cultural, family, and spiritual experience as possible.  Some of the richest times we’ve had in the last few years have been with these kids and I wouldn’t trade the experience of being “Mama Sillye” for anything.

For 13 years, I’ve gotten to be a “co-mom” with moms all over the third world who are unable to take care of their children on their own.   As a result of events at which I and my partner Billye have spoken, over 5,000 moms have fewer worries about their kids’ futures because American “moms” have sponsored their child*.  The mother of a child I sponsor in Africa humbled me to my bones when she thanked me for helping her raise her children. Me??

 Up until very recently, I had the honor of hosting a group of young women in my living room every Tuesday night for five years who still call me their “BFF spiritual mom”.  Each week, I got to guide them through God’s Word where I wanted them to see how sweet their life could be if they could  just develop a taste to want what He wants.  We went through breakups, marriages, cancer, pregnancy, and job woes and they began to see that peace is possible, regardless of our circumstances.

You can’t tell me I haven’t been able to be a mom.

So when that young woman asked me that day if I was content, I had to be honest when I said I was not.  But what I could tell her was that, in all honestly, I was in full agreement with God on His choice for my life.  Today, I get it.  Today I see why He withheld this “dream” of mine and I joyfully accept and embrace the extraordinary life He has given me in exchange.

When life turns out differently than the stuff of our dreams, we have a choice.  We can get bitter, wasting months and years pining for what we didn’t get, or we can begin to recognize there are just simply things we won’t understand on this earth and accept what comes our way, relishing what we DO have.

And with that, taste the delectable calm that accompanies the sweetness of acceptance.

With all your heart trust the Lord and not
your own judgment. Always let
Him lead you, and He will clear the road 
for you to follow.
Proverbs 3:5-6 CEV

*Click here for info on how $1.18/day can help a 3rd-world mom provide a better future for her child .  

Sylvia Lange is a Christian women’s speaker living in Southern California.

See Sylvia’s other posts.

50 Comments

  1. Mandy Bo says:

    I have no Web site, no blog, no published book. I am simply a most ordinary woman who has been with Jesus. I concur with you, dear, that giving up my dreams in exchange for His perfect will is, in fact, a step of surrender that leads me straight into His arms and into deeper intimacy with Him.

  2. Steph says:

    I finally had a chance to sit and read this. Love you Syl. Thank you for always being there for me. I am forever grateful for my BFFSDM Xoxo

  3. Demi W. says:

    This one challenged me to be more aware of my acceptance (or lack thereof) of what God has given me in life. I’m so much better than I used to be but there’s always room for improvement! When I look back on my life I can so clearly see God’s handiwork in what was (at the time) devastating circumstances. I’ve learned to be content in the knowledge that God knows what’s next. Sometimes I have remember to “look back” sooner rather than later!

    Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

  4. Sheri says:

    Love this! That is my life! I couldn’t say it better. God has given me “the desire of my heart”. He just changed my ultimate desire to be His will for my life!

    • Sylvia Lange says:

      Ain’t that interesting how that happens? I hear once that the definition of “obey” is to be “in alignment”. Isn’t that what we’re talking about here anyway? Thanks for leaving a note!

  5. Tina Crawford says:

    I posted a note on Facebook but wanted to let you know that I thank you for the wisdom you share with us. After your post on your new love of your SUP, I think of you everytime I go out on mine on Canyon Lake – and that is several times a week you’re getting prayed for.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I couldn’t agree more about the importance of treasuring what we do have. We can grumble and moan and try to understand what’s beyond our understanding, or we can trust our lives and work each day to make them the best they can be. A gratitude journal (or blog!) can be a good practice along this line, I find.

    • Sylvia Lange says:

      Committing the things we’re grateful for in writing is a great practice. The “discipline of gratitude” my father has always called it!

  7. Janie says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic–and for spreading the word about your experiences with World Vision. I live in Washington state so have heard about their good works in the local news and through local fund/supply drives. It’s wonderful that you are forging connections with kids far and near.

  8. Mya says:

    As always, your words have a beautiful way of reflecting your wise thoughts about life with such honesty. love, compassion, and hope. Thank you for this article. It came at a good time for me, and I’m certain, for many others as well.

  9. Stacee Freeman says:

    Beautiful article!

  10. Tamia Hope says:

    Wow! You are amazing! I remember how wonderfully you described your relationship with your exceptional step-daughter at Hume Lake Women’s Retreat and at the California Women’s Retreat, sharing how grateful you were to have the opportunity to lead her and her friends in a Bible Study class. And tonight, as I read your words, I am once again inspired by your beautifully expressed description of what it truly means to be a “mother”. Thank you!

  11. Mandy says:

    I think there are a lot of important supportive/guiding roles that we play in the lives of others. Some of my closest family members in my life have been people who aren’t biologically related to me; as a child, my neighbors were a third set of grandparents, and it was a wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. :)

  12. Agreed that you don’t have to give birth to love and care as a mom. God gives us the desires of our heart when we walk in His will. Sometimes, those desires are fulfilled just a little differently than we planned.. but just as sweet. (Here are some Gummy Bears treats for you! http://www.sherrylwilson.com/chocolate-covered-gummy-bears)

    • Mandy says:

      Thank goodness you posted this link because I was worried that maybe Sylvia hadn’t experienced chocolate covered gummy bears, based on her comments in the first paragraph. ;) I happened upon them in the bulk foods section of a local store recently, and they are delicious!

  13. Susan Kennedy says:

    A wonderful message, thank you for the reminder. I have really enjoyed your blogs!

  14. Patti says:

    Well said and AMEN!!!!

  15. Sharon Force says:

    Beautiful & thank you

  16. Brian says:

    How different would this world be if more mature wise people poured their hearts and time into the lives of other people’s kids. Even when blessed to have great parents, who wouldn’t benefit from a surrogate or co-parent as well? Well said, as always. Keep writing.

  17. Gloria Rossiter says:

    Sylvia, your dreams were mine! I got my “girls” through marriage to my best friend as well. After going through a miscarriage after invitro with him, I accepted that I would not have a child of my blood but am very thankful for the children of my heart that God did give me. My husband’s twin daughters could not be more mine if I had given birth to them–they even look like me! Thank you for your thoughts and inspiration. I appreciate you more, every blog!

    • Sylvia Lange says:

      Thank you for those incredibly kind words, Gloria. It sounds like your best friend is blessed to have such a best friend of his own.

  18. Annette says:

    I absolutely loved this one. Without a doubt, you are a Mom to so many, I bet there’s even a few that you’re not aware of as well. I’m so proud of the amazing Mom that you are.

  19. Geralyn says:

    Always a pleasure to hear from your heart!

  20. Kay Norris says:

    Thank you Sylvia for all your blogs filled with great insight and encouragement. I pass them on to many others to enjoy and soak up God’s greatest through you, His humble servant. I bless the day God introduced us to each other in ministry and I am humbled to now be able to call you friend!

  21. Jeri Koltun says:

    Hard to see the keyboard through the tears…beautiful!

  22. Beth says:

    You have a gift with words. Loved this. Keep on going!

  23. Carol LeBeau says:

    Wonderful! Thanks for the pep talk! :)

  24. Anne says:

    This blog hits home more than any other because, like you, my biggest dream from childhood was to be a mom. My heart at times ached with the emptiness of not having children that I could raise and love in a way I was not. Several have helped fill a portion of the gap but a few years ago The Lord brought a young woman into my life that for sure filled the gap to overflowing. She and her wonderful husband became the son and daughter I always wanted. I could not have been happier if I had given birth to them both. God truly has at long last given me the desire of my heart and it has been more than worth waiting for. He indeed gave me beyond what I could ask or think.

  25. Junko says:

    Well said. You are a supermom, indeed!

  26. Dot Turner says:

    Oh, I loved reading this one, thank you for baring your soul and I send you respect and love and admiration for the person you have allowed God to make you into.

    You are soooooo beautiful. Praise to God, you are truly one of His jewels and you shine so brightly, thank you for that.

  27. Meg Komata says:

    What’s important for relationship is not necessary blood-relations but our mind; you are exactly my mother for me.

  28. Marty Liggett Smith says:

    Lovely, Sylvia. As are you, and I am so happy for you. I’ve watched you for many years and love reading this.

  29. Mar says:

    Love you!

  30. Vicki says:

    Love, love this. So well written, you took me on the adventure with you.

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