The first time I met Lisa Harper she was on a Harley. I’m serious. We were in an arena filled with nearly 10,000 women who had just settled in for a women’s conference sponsored by Focus on the Family. The loud roar of a motorcyle engine shattered the silence. We all turned around – straining our necks to see what was coming.
It was Lisa.
On a Harley Davidson.
Her Harley Davidson.
Driving up the center aisle.
She parked at the stage and then proceeded to mount the platform, open her Bible and teach us with clarity, power and passion. I’ve listened to every word out of her mouth ever since. Anyone this brave and bold and beautiful and deeply Biblical needs to be heard. (Plus, I secretly want to ride a motorcycle).
This is the dichotome of Lisa Harper. She cool and trendy, wise and insightful all at the same time. You’ve not seen anyone don a leather jacket and teach the Bible like Lisa can. She is one of my favorites. I look for opportunities to sit under her teaching any chance I can get whether she’s behind a podium or sharing her insights in books or her Bible studies.
And now, Lisa has added a new chapter to her already full and fabulous life. She’s a mother. For the first time in her 50 years, she’s cuddling a little one that calls her “Momma”. Today, she writes to us about the joyful exhaustion of motherhood.
Ride on, sweet Lisa! We’re cheering for you and that little girl of yours every single day!
To all of my friends who are parents,
I owe you an apology. A big, fat, red-faced, groveling apology. Because while I didn’t think you were lying exactly, I did think you were exaggerating about how exhausting raising kids is. When you talked about how you couldn’t keep up with the laundry or how you didn’t have time to get your Bible study homework done or feed the dog or brush your own hair or fix anything more time-consuming than microwaved chicken nuggets for dinner, I thought you were being a tad melodramatic. I mean, Goodnight, how much work does corralling one of those cute little toddlers require?
I so deserve a swift kick in the shins.
Now that my four and a half year old adopted daughter has been home with me for sixteen days, I’ve realized just how comically inaccurate my assumption was because I’m exhausted to the bone. To the very marrow of my bones to be more accurate. And much like Esau gave up his inheritance for his brother’s chow, I’d consider exchanging mine for a nap. You want the pearl and diamond necklace my jewelry designer sister gave me? Fine, just take my little girl to McDonald’s for an hour and point me in the direction of a soft mattress…or a dirty rug…it doesn’t matter. Just anywhere I can be unconscious for a while. This motherhood thing has Flat. Worn. Me. Out. I had to covertly sniff myself in public a few days ago because I couldn’t remember if I’d put on deodorant. Less than three weeks of parenthood and I backed into a friend’s car in my driveway yesterday because the bags under my eyes impeded my vision (okay, it was really because I was enchanted by my child’s pitch-perfect rendition of “Deep and Wide” and was gazing at her instead looking in the rear view mirror).
Truth be told and teasing aside, I wouldn’t trade this sleep-deprived bliss for anything in the world because other than my salvation being Missy’s mama is the sweetest gift God has ever given me. As a single, 50 year old whose imaginary husband seems to be permanently lost and unwilling to stop and ask for directions, I thought I’d missed out on being a mom. Thankfully, no good thing does He [God] withhold from those who walk uprightly [or her who stumbles frequently] (Psalm 84:11) and His plans for me included a bright-eyed, brown-skinned, joyful punkin’ from Haiti named Missy whose birth mama died of AIDS and unknowingly left her infected with HIV.
Our adoption process took two years. One hundred and four weeks of paperwork and disappointment and heartbreak and waiting and more paperwork. But by the grace of God two and a half weeks ago I finally got to bring my Missy home and we’ve spent every waking moment since then singing and laughing and hopping and splashing and coloring and visiting doctors offices and hospitals and pharmacies. Then today we got her lab results from the infectious disease doc at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and found out that against the odds her HIV is undetectable and her CD4 count is normal. Which means that as long as my baby stays on meds, her future looms bright. Which means our Redeemer still parts Red Seas, y’all! He can heal what’s broken in and around us; He can make old, AARP-card-carrying chicks new mamas; and for those of us who desperately need a nap, He created coffee. Hallelujah, what a Savior!