I can’t even begin to count the times that I have wondered how I’ve managed to survive life on Planet Mom. There are still those momentary “out of body” experiences where I seem to stand outside myself, looking in at the new me — the “Momma” me — and I am speechless that this woman is still making it work… somehow!

My life before arriving on Planet Mom was almost the opposite of what it is today. My “Bizarro World” (harkening back to my superhero cartoon-watching days) consisted of a highly controlled, organized existence where I was not only in the driver’s seat, I was already “winning” the race. As an executive editor at a national magazine, I was at the top of my game. I was living where I’d always planned to — a metropolitan Calif. city — enjoying life’s pleasures on the arm of my hot college sweetheart. Life was sweet, but the sweetness somehow turned bitter. Something was missing.

What I realize now is that my Bizarro World life was not the life God intended to fulfill my spirit — or His purpose. As bizarre, unfamiliar, and downright uncomfortable as the Momma me might feel, I know now that Planet Mom is not only where I belong, but where I truly thrive. Not only do I see God using the talents He gave me for a better purpose, but I feel Him stretching me to be strong where I am weak. It’s His strength, not mine, that makes it possible to succeed on Planet Mom.

Sure, I still stumble on Planet Mom. After raising two healthy daughters, how can I still fail to get the third one to eat what and when I want her to, escalating into a daily struggle that now threatens to affect her health? Why can’t I fix it? On the verge of my own “I give up!” tantrums, I ask God what He was thinking. Me, a Mom of three, away from family, in a small town… really?

But He got it right. This Thanksgiving, I’m so grateful for the 15 years of loving marriage, for three bright, creative, amazing daughters that blow my mind away, and for this chance to really live and love with all my heart. Planet Mom: I’m here to stay.

— Renée Gotcher, a Durango Mama

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” — Jeremiah 29:11-13

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