Your Story: Betsy de Cruz

Her words rang of “real” at our online writer’s training site. It’s what drew me to this brave woman. Today, Betsy de Cruz has “real” words to share with us. It’s her story. It’s your encouragement for #walkingdeeper. Enjoy!

When my son was born, I didn’t know that a baby can be a mom’s greatest joy and her worst nightmare. The fact that he came out screaming should have been a clue. When the nurse put that squirming, squalling bundle in my arms on the delivery table, I started singing “Jesus Loves Me.” Andres quieted down instantly, and my heart nearly burst. I’d sung that song every day during my pregnancy. As soon as I finished my song, he went right back to crying.

The next day I walked out of the hospital holding my brand new baby, with no clue about what awaited me. I didn’t know about pacing the halls with a baby at 2:00 a.m. I survived the first months of mothering, and by the time my baby was 4 months old, I felt almost human.

Most days the joy swallowed up the nightmare part. I was over the moon with delight the first day Andres said, “Mama.” I fell in love all over again when we bought him his first guitar, a painted wooden toy. He plunked himself down on the cement at the market. He strummed and crooned, “Guitar, guitar, guitar.” My heart swooned.

And when my Camilla was born, her dad and I were goners. She stole our hearts.

Although I loved being a mom, some days went south.

After all, I hadn’t signed up for ear infections that kept me up all night or kids vomiting in the car. I’d think, “Whose idea was it to have these kids?” I’d rebel against my new role and read the riot act to my husband.

Some days still go south. My teens get mad when I insist they clean their rooms. Now they read the riot act to me, and I think, “Really?”

Initially, my desire to be a mom centered around me. I wanted happiness and fulfillment. I didn’t realize God had a bigger plan.

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God made me a mother to bless me and to mold me.

The blessings are many, but motherhood is a refining fire that enlarges our hearts. We learn love. We learn sacrifice as we get by on less sleep and stretch our money further. We learn giving as we sit down to one more game of Candy Land. It’s all part of God’s polishing process.

I can resist God’s molding or I can embrace it.

I hinder God’s work in me when I long for the past.

Some days on the outside I’m cooking and home schooling, but on the inside I’m yearning for the days when I could go have coffee with a friend whenever I wanted.

I miss what God wants to do in me today when I focus on the future.

On the dog-tired days and the pile of laundry days, my focus leaps into the future. I dream of taking that class, going to Target alone, and finally getting enough sleep.

Instead, I want to embrace what God’s doing today.

I want to enjoy the moments: playing gin rummy and belting out “Like a Rolling Stone” while we hang laundry. I want to keep my eyes open to the wonder of watching two teens grow into the people God created them to be. I want to let God have His way in me as I learn more about putting others before myself. And when I doubt I’ll ever learn, I want to trust that God will complete the good work He began in me.

Now it’s your turn: What’s one way God has used motherhood to mold you?

Betsy de Cruz headshot

Betsy de Cruz enjoys God, life, and dark roast coffee. She and her family live in the Middle East. Most days she feels privileged to live overseas; other days she wants to pull her hair out and catch the next plane home. Betsy’s vision is to encourage women to get God’s Word in, so their faith can spill out, even during life’s bumpy moments. You can find Betsy at her blog, faithspillingover.com , on Twitter, and on Facebook.

photo credit: creative commons

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50 Comments

  1. Betsy – I love what you have shared. When you state, “I can resist God’s molding or I can embrace it,” you are so right – I get to choose whether I allow God to use my circumstances to mold and refine me or whether I resist His work in me. Blessings to you today, friend!
    #RaRaLinkup #IntentionalTuesday
    Lisa Murray

    1. Isn’t it amazing, Lisa, that God allows us a choice to cooperate with Him or not. Believe me, I’ve done plenty of resisting! Oh Lord, change my heart!

  2. Gosh, I think I said similar words as I crashed into bed last night. What was God thinking when he gave me this job?!?! I think He has shown me more about Himself than I ever could have imagined. His immeasurable grace and His boundless love.

    1. Bless your heart, Kaylie. May the Lord wrap His loving and EMPOWERING arms around you and give you the strength and joy you need for each day. Believe me, I know what it’s like to fall into bed at night! Yes, God DOES reveal more of Himself to us when He makes us mothers, doesn’t he?

      I accidentally left a comment below, instead of replying to you, Kaylie. So now maybe everyone will see this answer twice. I’m kind of challenged!

  3. The picture you paint, Betsy, is one most moms can relate to! I love the encouragement you provide to embrace what God is doing today. It can be so tempting to look back with longing, or forward with fear. You are so very right when you say that in doing that, we miss out on God’s bigger plan for our life. Thank you for these reminders and for your sweet words. And, thank you Kristi for sharing your platform to allow Betsy to speak to our hearts today!

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Tina. May God bless you as you seek to embrace what He’s doing in you each day! We’re all on a journey, and being mothers is part of that journey.

    2. Didn’t Betsy start the #yourstory series fabulously, Tina?! (And I thought I was all alone with those mothering thoughts.) It’s refreshing that there’s no veil covering her honesty. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Bless your heart, Kaylie. May the Lord wrap His loving and EMPOWERING arms around you and give you the strength and joy you need for each day. Believe me, I know what it’s like to fall into bed at night! Yes, God DOES reveal more of Himself to us when He makes us mothers, doesn’t he?

  5. Betsy- What a beautiful piece on motherhood. Yes to it all! What joy it is when we realize that the transformation which motherhood brings to our own hearts is worth the sleeplessness, frustrations, and failures. I loved the sweet image of your baby calming down as you sang “Yes, Jesus Loves Me” what a picture of grace and God’s gentleness. Your writing is beautiful. Your heart is the same. Thanks for sharing your gift here. It blessed me today.

  6. Hi Betsy! I am right behind you in the complaint department. I wanted my children SO badly. They were a total gift from God. We couldn’t get pregnant, so we adopted both of them. But oy, the sleeplessness, the noise, the fighting, the croup, the attitudes…it’s exhausting!

    I can tell you that my children are the ones who shoved me into God’s arms. I was always an observant Christian, participated in leadership roles at church etc. But NOTHING deepened my relationship with Him more than the helplessness you feel as a parent. Am I good enough? Did I handle that right?
    Only with Jesus. That’s what I learned.
    Great, honest post!
    Ceil

    1. Ceil, I think you could write your own post about this! You’d have so much to share. How precious that you were able to adopt. And yes, nothing deepens our relationship with Him like having to depend on Him with all we’ve got to make it through as parents. Thanks for being here today.

  7. Motherhood and homeschooling have brought out all of the selfishness in my heart. At times I have wanted to resist God as He tries to flush it out, but I pray that each day I learn to embrace it more and more. Thanks for sharing your story. Motherhood is hard, and it is encouraging to know that so many other moms face/have faced the same things I do, and are still going strong!

    1. We’re hanging in together on this, Michelle! I agree that nothing makes you realize how selfish you are like being a mom. Oh how my flesh rebels some days, but God doesn’t give up on me. He keeps changing me!

  8. Betsy, yes! I am so with you. Oh, how I don’t want to miss things. Your words resonate as true – so true. I cheer you! Thank you for sharing your heart. I have a lot of those “southern” days. You encourage me. Cheering you from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.

    1. Yep, lots of my days to south too, Kelly! But we’re hanging in there, aren’t we? Thanks for your encouragement, friend. The RaRaLinkup blesses me, and you’re such a big part of it.

  9. Betsy, you drew me right in with this post. I, too, want to embrace what God has for me now instead of worrying about the future. Thank you for this lovely reminder that I have a ministry right now, in this moment, and it is so important for me to remember that. Blessed by you today. <3

    1. Yes, Abby! We have a ministry right NOW as we seek to honor God in the small, daily things. (And I believe He has big things also for your future, friend. 🙂 )

  10. Betsy, so many of God’s blessings are found in the todays. Thank you for reminding me to embrace my today and the work God is doing in me.

    Thank you, Kristi, for sharing Betsy’s heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. I’m loving this series and look forward to reading more. : )

    1. Oh good, Crystal. I’m glad you’re looking forward to it. Betsy’s post has been a wonderful start for the #yourstory series. See you back here next 1st Tuesday for another goodie. 🙂

  11. Beautiful, Betsy … I love “motherhood is a refining fire that enlarges our hearts. We learn love. We learn sacrifice …We learn giving.” And it seems that through each phase, the lessons are more intense. very encouraging for this mamma.

  12. Oh, boy. Let me count the ways. Well, instead of taking up lines and lines of cyberspace, I’ll just share my most recent experience ;). God has molded me by showing me my sins of pride and judgmentalism. I thought we had the whole parenting gig in the bag, so to speak, with both of our daughters turning out pretty good and not TOO many major hiccups during adolescence. And then our youngest seemed to go off the deep end with bizarre for her behavior, cursing, swearing, always wanting to pick a fight over the smallest things. And then it went downhill from there (she and I will be sharing the long version for Write31Days in October). Needless to say, I realized how many times I failed to come alongside the parents of struggling children throughout the years. I failed to show empathy, I judged them and their parenting in my heart. God has molded a new attitude within me.

    1. Oh Anita, I’ll look forward to reading this! It IS so EASY to judge other parents, isn’t it? It sounds like your daughter is coming around again? I’m praying for her now. Blessings.

  13. Such good food for thought – especially in a tough mothering week… Being a mom has taught me to broaden my perspectives and put others first. Realizing the joy of snuggling with a little one who’s having a hard time sleeping, instead of grumbling about my own interrupted sleep – as an example. Even though these days may be challenging and sleep-deprived, I know they’ll be all grown up before I know it. Motherhood as a refining fire – love that!

    1. That’s a great example, Kathryn. Looking at things as a joy instead of grumbling about them! Grace to you if you’ve having a tough mothering week!

  14. I was married 12 years before I got to be a Mom and it was after 6 miscarriages. Thankful for the love that over whelmed me seeing our new born daughter. Of course there were times I would become overwhelmed my anger or frustration at that precious little girl, thank God they were few times. The only things that tops being a parent is being a grand parent…I can hand them back to their parents when I get frustrated…only joking. Beautiful post for this Mother’s Day week.

    1. Oh I can only imagine how overjoyed you were when your daughter was born, Betty. What a testimony! And yes, I’m laughing along with you at the thought of one day handing the grandkids back over to their parents!

  15. I have those days too. What was God thinking? ha. So glad that his thoughts are higher than our thoughts on EVERY matter, even our callings. Thanks for sharing this, Betsy.

  16. Yes, motherhood has definitely molded me. I have learned how to give more of myself away. And keep on giving even when tired. I learned the sleepless nights do end and you finally get a full night sleep again and then they go off to college and it’s a different kind of sleepless nights! I can so relate to your words written here. Thank you for your encouragement!

  17. I can totally relate:) Teen life has its challenges, but we love singing classic rock tunes and being super silly (especially in public.) I’m trying to let go of the reins little by little, but still give guidance. I can’t imagine what it will feel like when he moves off to college. I’ll be asking for guidance from you, Betsy!

    1. Yes, Kristine, I’m also experimenting with letting go of the reins a bit! So hard to do, isn’t it? But it’s the best way for them to grow, is what I’m thinking. 🙂 My oldest goes to college in August!

  18. Betsy, I love seeing you here at Kristi’s place just in time for Mothers Day, what a beautiful post! You encourage me SO! “I can resist God’s molding or I can embrace it.” I may not have wanted God to mold me into a “special needs mom” but I’m trying to embrace it every day. Love you!

  19. Being a Mama is quite the experience! Such a gift, and God often teaches me more about Himself through my children. So thankful to be a Mama! Thanks for sharing! #DancewithJesus

  20. thanks for a great post betsy:) i remember particularly our #2 daughter seemed to always know how to push my buttons when she was older. she was as cute and charming as could be, but she could also say the thing that could set me off quicker than anyone.

    i used to get upset that i would get so angry and i realized that often what led to those “freak outs” was fear. i was afraid of what she was going to become, afraid of what people would think, afraid of…you name it. i knew that where fear was living, GOD wasn’t.

    she was the child, more than any other, that pushed me to jesus. of course, i needed jesus for all of them, but she made me realize how MUCH i needed Him! in her early teens, she did some things that dumbfounded me! i knew that for her to survive to adulthood, GOD was going to have to protect her both physically and spiritually.

    He did. she is now married with 3 daughters of her own. the point is not really how the story came out, but how i was changed. i learned to listen more and preach less. i learned to trust GOD to do His work and not be her holy spirit. i am only her mom, not her holy spirit. there is a difference.

  21. Hi Betsy! Another great article! I plan to feature this at Grace & Truth Friday May 15. I will be adding a link to your blog & Kristi’s. Thank you! Blessings!

  22. Hi Betsy, I love that God molds us and shapes us into the people He wants us to be. I became a Mom to a 19 yr old when I married. It was the most precious gift I have ever received. Motherhood continues to be the most rewarding and most challenging roles of my life.

    It is so difficult to know when to hold tight and when to let go and let God take over.