You are here. Right now.
If I’m being really truly honest, here isn't a place I'm enjoying…and I know it’s kind of icky to read a mom say that…it’s icky to be the mom who feels it. I love my kids so much it actually hurts sometimes, I love them to the tips of my toes. But this season of motherhood is just plain hard and so tiring. Wouldn’t it be delightful if enchantment for every single season of life just naturally swelled in us and flowed out of us? Instead, I’ve been fighting, sometimes spitting mad, against this season and I’m exhausted…so I’m done. I’m done fighting it. I’m here. Here is where I am right now, today.
Accepting this basic condition of my reality means admitting an ugly truth to myself and even more so to the Giver of Life. Facing the nasty brass tacks of my sinfulness, yet again, I found mercy and grace on the other side. And that brings me here, to all of you, because I have this little inkling that maybe…just maybe I’m not the only one digging my heels in and demanding to be somewhere else past or future but this present place just isn’t my cup of tea. In a culture full of Instagram comparisons and mommy wars, the world would tell me that I should be floating on motherhood bliss at least most of the time--but scripture tells me that my heart is a deceitful thing. My heart swells with all the good feels in the family dance parties and the sweet bedtimes, and the same heart resents my responsibilities when the whining and limitations surface.
YOU ARE HERE.
I’d rather fantasize about what the future might be like…peaceful, orderly, sprinkled with free time and the chasing of personal dreams or reminisce on the past in sepia toned memories of sweet babies, first milestones, easily controlled schedules, and multiple nap times a day.
Here’s why I feel extra icky on this thing: because life, as our family knows it today, is really pretty great. We aren’t in a “bad time” as we like to call them, we aren’t facing insurmountable odds, we are healthy and happy and pretty much thriving. We have everything, EVERYTHING to be thankful for. And I think that’s why those of us who have a lead foot on the gas pedal of the struggle bus have a hard time being honest: because we know it’s not right, but we also don’t know what to do about it.
I feel trapped because I can’t nonchalantly hop in the car and over to the store when I realize I forgot one ingredient for dinner without sacrificing everything else on my to do list because of the time, energy and sanity required to take little kids to the store. I get frustrated putting my writing mojo on hold and losing my inspiration because someone pushed someone and the pushed cannot pull himself or herself together and the pusher has no remorse. I get worn down with the loud, the busy, and the relentless nature of preschool emotions. I get personally offended that they would listen to their sin nature and not to me. I even get annoyed with simply living within the limits that come with little kids, the schedules, the money, the whole you can't leave your kids at home alone by themselves until they are practically old enough to move out (or that's how it feels when I pay the sitter). Sometimes I still feel overwhelmed that these small people still completely depend on me for survival, safety, transportation (pick up line, I’m looking at you) and development. I have a hard time accepting that at the end of each day I have almost nothing left because I’ve wrung out every droplet of energy and attention.
I'm here, there's no changing that, but I desperately want my heart to get on board too. I want to be all in. I have a higher calling than my begrudging service, being here and being all here…living to the fullest in a way that glorifies God to my kids and my husband and stirs joy in my own life, that’s what my calling is. That’s the fight I’m drafted for, not this petty tug of war I’ve been petulantly playing.
The first step, the first move toward being all here...I kid you not, was acceptance. It sounds so trite but accepting that this is where I am was actually really hard because it meant I had to stop fighting it. I had to face that no amount complaining or being jealous about friends behind or ahead of our stage will benefit me. I had to accept that hmm, wow, crazy--life has limitations and crazier still....it's not all about me.
Repentance and a call to obedience followed suite once I'd faced the gross reality of my heart here. Obedience isn’t something our culture is real big on. Yet, if God is both good and great, then obedience of him is going to yield the best possible outcome. You won't read many books or blogs saying, "You want to know how to be the best *fillintheblank*? Learn obedience, the rest of the how to's are pretty easy to figure out along the way." The world isn't about obedience, it's about self-sufficiency and independence. At the end of the day, for the believer, obeying and following the Lord's perfect will is the bottom line and it's the only source of immeasurable joy. We aren't just obeying rules, we're following his leading for rest, for worship, for order, for guidance, for love, for service, for compassion, for friendship--for all the very best things in life are found in Him and through him.
We teach our kids that obedience leads to blessing and disobedience leads to consequences. Well, here's a shocker: it’s the same for me as their mom. Sometimes my obedience to lead them from love, grace and discipline will only bear blessings between me and God, and other times those blessings will also take the form of a happier family. A happier, more peaceful family has too often been my goal--rather than a byproduct of my worship. And a happier, more peaceful family, albeit a lovely endeavor and ideal, is as cheap an idol as any other. If the goal of my life as a believer is to glorify and enjoy God, wouldn’t obedience in my motherhood be the best worship I could offer as my living sacrifice? Isn't he asking me to stop worrying about myself, about what I can get or do or be? Wouldn’t it be holy and pleasing to the Lord to be grace filled, long suffering, and steadfast in my discipline [without becoming an angry mess]? Isn't he telling me to make disciples? Hasn't he given me three small disciples, three world changers under my mentorship? Isn't he asking me to die to myself every day? And isn't it actually his grace to me that he would give me these three little sanctification-intensifiers to help me depend on Him and see my need for Him in every hour?
God isn’t done working. I haven’t “arrived” spiritually just because I’m a mom. Far be it from me to act spiritually entitled just because I’m a parent. I need, from my gut in the most humbling way, I need go every single day and ask that he would help me to be all here, right here, where I am.
Maybe some of you might need the same reminder I do, wherever you find yourself-- you are here, so be ALL here. Here is the best place to worship, I promise.
And if you didn’t need that reminder, thanks for letting me work it out on cyber paper.