She sat, thankful to be off her feet after a long day, and relished the comfort of her grandmother’s rocker that looked perfect in her newly completed nursery. Her hands traveled to her swollen belly as she rocked, her mind adrift on daydreams of toothless grins and the powdery-scented goodness of velvet infant skin.

The light from the window caught the beautiful rose-colored glass heart that she’d received as a gift, bringing her out of her reverie. A “Mother’s Heart”, the giver had called it, and it seemed an appropriate name, as it looked as full and rosy as her own heart felt. With a sudden rush of anticipation, she thanked God for the millionth time for the incredible gift that she carried and the privilege of such a beautiful future.

Before she knew it, she was back in that nursery, rocking a squirming bundle of pink. The daughter of her dreams…her heart. She sang the songs she remembered from her youth and sat for long moments marveling at each finger and toe, each eyelash and curl. As she lay that sweet wonder in her crib, she noticed that the glass heart seemed bigger than she remembered. Figuring that it was just light play or lack of sleep, she dismissed it and turned, leaving the heart glowing in the dim nightlight, a silent sentinel.

Several nights later, she awoke with a start, glancing in horror at the clock as she realized her girl had slept through a feeding. Heart pounding with an unfamiliar, searing pain, she raced down the hall and into the nursery, placing a hand on the baby to feel for breath. Tears streamed down her face as she felt the gentle rise and fall of a tiny chest in the deepest slumber, and moments later, as she turned to walk out, she saw the small hairline crack in the rosy glass of the heart. Wondering how in the world it got there, she realized that it was exactly how her own heart felt.

Her grandmother had told her once that the years with her children would fly by. What she had taken as an old wives’ tale, she now realized was truth born of experience. The years were flying by, and as they flew, the glass heart continued to change. Growing ever-so-slightly with each milestone and achievement, cracking with each gut-wrenching fear and word spoken out of anger or frustration, it still sat on the shelf, now crowded by Barbies, stuffed animals and soccer trophies.

From changes in her room and clothes, to changes in her friends and activities, her daughter was trying hard to jump ahead to adulthood. Everything in her, as a mother, fought against this, and so ushered in the timeless conflict of parenting a teenager. The harder she held her ground, the harder her girl fought her, and the moment that the words “I hate you!” flew from her daughter’s mouth for the first time, there was a loud pop that issued from the glass heart as a wide fissure formed from top to bottom. The sound shook them both, and as they stood side by side assessing the damage, her daughter quietly took her hand. Glancing over from tear-filled eyes, she squeezed it three times for “I love you”, as she’d been taught as a small child and, together, they watched the glass heart grow. Wonder of wonders, it stayed intact.

The heart sat alone on the shelf again, now. Her girl was gone, off to college and chasing her own dreams. As she was dusting, she picked up the heart and marveled at how different it looked from when she’d first received it. It was bigger than she ever imagined, and rather misshapen from all the cracks, small and large. Wiping it off, she carefully placed it back on the shelf with a smile and prayer of thankfulness. They had made it through.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere came the news from her girl: There would be another baby – a grandchild – out of a relationship that had been kept secret. Fear of judgment over a myriad of differences had kept something that should have been shared, shrouded in secrecy, and as her dreams for her daughter died and her worries took control, it became too much. In the quiet of the house, the crash came. The sound of broken glass hitting the ground echoed what was happening in her own chest. She left it all where it lay, unable to even bear looking at it.

Each morning, she awoke and talked to no one but the only One who completely understood. He began to ease some of the ache, and when she walked past the room where the shards lay, she half expected the heart to be put back together, the way it was before.

But it wasn’t.

Then He gave her the reason…

She knew, then, that her heart would never be the same, but it would be healed…it would become a new thing.

Months passed, and, excited, she opened the door to the newly redecorated nursery. Her daughter walked in, cradling her own little bundle, and smiled when she spotted her great-grandmother’s rocker in the corner. But what stopped her short was the small, perfect “mother’s heart” that her mother held out to her, and the heart-shaped, rose-colored glass mosaic hanging in the window.