We’ve had some beautiful summer moments lately — kicking and splashing all hot afternoon in the blow-up pool in the backyard; early member mornings at the zoo (as a family) before it gets crazy busy; the most beautiful evening in memory spent at a local nature conservatory listening to music. Sigh. These moments have been beautiful and have helped breath new air into my sometimes failing lungs of quotidian living. I have seen these moments from both the inside and outside and am grateful for this gift.
In all of this beauty, though, it can sometimes be my curse that I can’t turn off the thinking. Sometimes its enough to just hold those moments, and I have, truly. But for me, there is always a balance to this life that I have that requires deeper engagement. I think this is why I often have such a struggle with living in the present moment. I can’t just let go of everything that has preceded it, or what could possibly follow. It feels too irresponsible and careless to me. So this is where my mind has been recently: it is in this balance that I find my self.
Some women come in to motherhood with joy and full embrace. They truly feel that this is the fullest completion of their gifts and their journey. Others dig their heels in, never completely giving into to all that motherhood has to offer. For me, I find that I’m somewhere in the middle. Of course I am joyful to be a mother, and feel that it is something I do well, even. But I wouldn’t be honest if I said that I felt completed, whole, in my role as mother. Often, I wonder if I’m being inauthentic to myself, and even to my kids, thinking of things that I’d like to do with my life, challenges, tasks I’d like to take up, grow myself, even ways I can offer back to this world. It’s just that in this season of small chilren, their demands can be overwhelming, and at the end of the day I can often forget who I am. What do I like to do? What makes me happy? I get scared that in this journey of mothering, I can sometimes lose myself. And again, it comes back to balance.
There is sacrifice in mothering, yes, as there is sacrifice in life. And this is what I cling to: that mothering is another component of my life. A huge one, right now, encompassing almost all else in my life, but just another venue for me to grow. Every piece of my life should be a challenge to follow Christ. Instead of seeing my daily struggles as a burden, something to be avoided, I should see it as way to continue growing and eventually being more sure of myself.
A Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.
— Motherhood is a calling by Rachel Jankovic
It’s only in this moment to moment dying to myself that I am being created masterfully by my Creator. I know that I want more for myself than what my eyes can see in front of me, but if I’m honest with myself I don’t even know what that is. He does. And it is through His breath, and His living in me that I am made full, and given a true identity. My freedom is in these moments, then, of beauty and of struggle.
This season is intense, and short-lived, and the things that I can pursue for myself may seem small or unimportant, but that too is part of the balance.
And I lay down my perfectly clean house a long time ago.