Happy Tuesday, friends! I have been waiting to share some sweet pictures from our weekend away. We took a few days to go to Iowa and see some of my family, not only to celebrate Mother's Day, but also to celebrate some of our birthdays from April. It was a nice getaway and the Lord gave us perfect weather while we were there. Our kids are so tired still, which makes for a nice way to start the week! They played themselves silly and mostly outside, so I've got some late sleepers on my hands, a Mother's Day gift carried over from the weekend :)
I wanted to get on my blog for a few days last week, to write about motherhood and some thoughts on my heart, but the opportunities were exchanged for playdates with friends, time with family and the choice to just be present. I'm living in tension these days as the Lord reminds me to make the most of this season, while still pressing in me the desire to write and to wrestle through the truths of a daily struggle to be surrendered to Him. It's frustrating sometimes to lay down the desires of your heart for a better thing, because they are often God-given, and yet to live in tension is not a new thing. We are repeatedly taught to exercise a faith that walks a tight rope of trust, held up by the tension of obedience to Him over all else. The Lord instructs us in His Word, to be in this world, but not of it; to let your light shine before men, but to resist temptation and flee from evil; to hate the sin in our life, but always love people, despite sin. Not easy things to understand or to practice, but I think when we feel the tension of how to really obey Him in everything, we recognize our extreme dependence on Him and our need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Because when we are in relationship with Him, He is faithful to walk with us in the way He wants us to go. And while our desires may not always be sinful or selfish, He knows what's best for us in every season and stage and we are wise to be slaves to Him and not to our hearts. Which is not the wisdom of this world, or the Disney dream of every princess. But it's likely that if that desire is there in the first place and it is truly God-given, He will bring it to fruition in His perfect timing, which is almost never my definition of "perfect timing!"
Sort of like the fruit of nearly every photoshoot at this stage! A clear of example of imperfect timing :)
Motherhood and even Mother's Day itself, can also be flawed when our desires are not held in tension with a deep trust in the Lord. From as long as I can remember, I have longed to be a Mommy. My nurturing instincts were in overdrive from birth I think and I've just always known that I treasured the role of taking care of a little one, of loving them and raising them. But I knew a period of years when that very God-given desire was out of balance and became an idol for me. When I trusted my own heart over God's and when I despaired in His "imperfect timing."
Those were hard years, a season of pain and perseverence while I waited for a future I couldn't seem to grasp or foresee. Life felt upside down many days over. How could He give me the desire to be a Mom and then not grant it? Ever been there or felt that? I don't know where you find yourself in the world of mothering. Perhaps you've raised your kids and have moved on to being a Grandparent or maybe you are waiting for the opportunity to carry a child and it seems it may never come. Maybe you've known the pain of infant loss or a diagnosis that is devestating. Or maybe you are a new Mommy or an experienced one, deep in the trenches of daily training. No matter where you find yourself, Motherhood and Mother's Day isn't always rosy for everyone. Either we long for what we don't have or we set ourselves up with expectations that can't be attained or fulfilled.
I think one of our problems is that we long to make Motherhood all about us. I am as guilty as the days are long, of viewing everything through the lens of my own selfish heart. I want to recount how hard the day has been for me, how inconvenient my kids' behavior has been or how I deserve some help to survive! I catch myself dreaming of days when they'll be out of my hair and in the same dream, weeping over the fact that they are growing up too fast. Tension...
Even on Mother's Day, most our efforts to celebrate it, make it all about us. We long for a day off, for recognition, for a great gift. And while all of those things aren't inherently wrong and are the very things I have truly enjoyed, I've been thinking over the last few days that none of them are ultimately what I need. I got breakfast in bed, Travis let me sleep in, I put my feet up after Church and took a nap on the couch. He gave me a sweet card of thanks, bought me some chocolate and participated in a photoshoot happily :) I was a blessed Mommy on Sunday. And yet...
My kids still fought. They played in a huge puddle and soaked all their clothes. They whined about all the usual stuff and they didn't obey everytime when I asked them to. In short, on "my day" they weren't perfect :) Which is why I realized that even on a day when I felt appreciated and served, it still wasn't everything I hoped for...And that's because the thing I really need most as a Mom isn't breakfast in bed or a nice card, although I do love both of those things!
What I truly need is the same thing my Mom needed when she was raising us and what we both still need today. We need more of Jesus and we need to live in the power of the Gospel, every day.
Mothering is a privilege, a calling, and constant dying to self. It's a job that never really ends, it just changes with the seasons. No "day off" or special gift will ever satisfy our soul's deepest need, that job belongs to the one who created us and blessed us with our kids in the first place.
What I need on Mother's Day and every day is a fresh glimpse of Jesus. I need the Gospel to penetrate my heart everyday, to remember why He created us, why He died for us, the life of obedience and holiness He calls us to, and how He loves us...loves them...loves me.
I did have a sweet day and I appreciated all the ways I was served and loved. But even on the best day, without my heart tuned in to Him and His love meeting my needs and flowing through me, it all falls short of the mark. Mother's Day is a good thing, it's right to recognize and honor and thank our Moms, but I think it's easy to make that day a selfish one or a disappointing one if we don't look to Jesus for fresh inspiration and vision to live this calling He's placed on our lives. Not everyone is given the opportunity to be a biological or adoptive Mom. But I do think we are all called to mother. To pour God's wisdom and truth into the lives of a younger generation, to lead by example, to love those who need to be loved, to encourage and build up younger hearts, to bless another life out of the resources of our own blessed lives, to teach and live out the Gospel. We can all mother in our own way, in the life God has chosen for us. So regardless of how you spent Mother's day or if it was a hard day or a celebratory one, I hope that somehow you managed to catch a fresh vision for mothering, in the role that you've been called to. Our world has too many kids who are motherless and who need women like you and me to stand in the gaps for them. But even more than that, I hope you have been reminded anew that Jesus is all the gift you need. He brings grace and truth to our soul and He is the only One who can satisfy us forever.
I am so grateful for the two precious lives He's entrusted me with and for the equipping that the Gospel provides for every need and every situation. I'm also incredibly thankful for my own Mom and the way that she still mothers me at 32. She is often my cheerleader when I'm overwhelmed, lacking patience and in need of a listening ear. She was faithful from the start of our lives to point us to the Gospel, to teach us the Gospel and to live it out before us, messy as it might be sometimes.
An that is the same kind of mothering I hope to do for the rest of my life.
I love being a Mom and I hope you do too. There is a daily tension that calls us to trust Him, to obey Him and to surrender our desires to Him, believing that He knows what's best. It's not easy, but it's worth it to take Him at His Word and to do what He says. He never leads us astray, never leaves us alone.
I'm praying that your mothering heart is full today, not of leftover thanks and recognition, but of Jesus. Happy Mothering, friends!