Did you know that Maslow’s has a Heirachry of Survival:
At the Tippy Top: Self-Fulfillment– achieving your full potential
Below that: Psychological Needs, which include:
Esteem needs-feeling accomplished
Belonging and love needs– intimate relationships and friendship
At the very bottom: Basic Needs, which include:
Safety Needs– security, safety
Physiological Needs: Food, clothes water, warmth, rest
I wonder how much this hierarchy changes once you have children. All the things that you would do for you first, you do for them first. You hear it all the time in people’s stories: “My parents did this so that I would have this.” “My mom worked two jobs so that I could have what I needed or wanted,” or “My mom and dad lived a certain way so that my mom could stay home with us kids.” There are a million different stories written for kids by parents who did things so that their kids had more and could be more. I did the same with Katie Grace….except everything with her was so counter-intutive. Her care re-defined Maslow’s Hierarchy of Survival. You see, in the winter where you would bundle up your child to keep them warm, I stripped her down so she could be cold. Where you would be cautious as to how much medicine your child was getting, I managed how much we overloaded her system with. I knew each shot of medicine put her a step closer to her body shutting down, yet she couldn’t live without it. Where you would push for certain foods, charging forward for health, I held a different ground. A ground close to famished (malnutrition) , a mere 4 oz of formula every 4 fours for almost her whole life. To fill her stomach too much meant suffocation, as food would then just pour out of her mouth, blocking her airway. So we filled that 4oz with the best formula we could find and oils that could add calories. Where you would rush your child to the hospital, I was deliberate and intentional, always waiting until it was bad. Always waiting for an emergency.
Each juncture that passed I pushed down the natural drive to protect Katie Grace, I suppressed a piece of my fleshly motherhood. The part of motherhood that is birthed not in your heart but in your flesh. The one brought on by the onslaught of hormones, and the 9 month bond you share while that baby is growing inside of your body. The one where your body changes its hierarchy of survival, where it feeds you last and the baby first. Your skin stretches making room for the growing child. Your veins carry more blood, your heart pumps harder and faster to supply that baby with life.
When I wrote the Deliberate Crumble, I underestimated what I was asking:
“Just ask and it will be given to you; seek after it and you will find. Continue to knock and the door will be opened for you. All who ask receive. Those who seek, find what they seek. And he who knocks, will have the door opened.”
-Matthew 7:7-8 (The Voice)
I asked the Lord to unwrap the gauze; what I didn’t recognize was the wound was the one of my fleshly motherhood and as he has begun the process, I want to run from him. Much like a child afraid to let anyone touch their boo boo. If I can just hold the wound close I know for sure it won’t hurt. Or at least if it is hurting, I know that pain. The pain of life with Katie Grace, with denying my natural fleshly motherhood, with the trauma, with the upside down hierarchy of survival. It makes me feel close to her. It is as if she is still with me. What if God touching that fleshly part of my motherhood, takes from me that connection. I am so afraid I will lose her completely, that she will be forgotten.
All he wants to do is change the nature of my fleshly connection with her. To no longer let pain be our connector or our definer. But to let our relationship transform. He wants me to trust that what he has, his connection for us beyond the pain is greater than what I have.
But my fleshly heart does not want to let go. I have miscalculated how much I am a mother to my core. I have doubted my love for my children and the tenacity with which I care for them. As I stand before the Lord fighting him, I am actually blown away by my own heart. Blown away by how much my flesh just wants her baby, how tenderly I am holding my own wound.
And again I am in awe of the Lord and how he loves. As he stands with me, delicately saying to my heart, I don’t fear how I made you. I don’t fear your tenacity. I fashioned that tenacity. I know your heart better then you, and I will wait. For as tenaciously as you fight for your wound, for your perspective, you will fight to hand it to me.
And I hear my daughter’s voice in my head, confidently declaring that the best is yet to come. That it has only just begun. Our story is nowhere near over….but merely just beginning.