I am a firm believer in mothering. I mother from dawn till dusk and dusk till dawn. Mothering, it is what I did, what I do, and what I will be doing for the rest of my life. That switch that was turned on at the moment of conception, that forever gave me another soul—or 8—to shepherd. From that moment, I determined that I was going to do it right. I would right the mistakes of the past and mine would be the blessed generation. Oh, the worries I have given myself over this goal. How much stress I have put upon the shoulders of myself, my spouse, and unknowingly my children with my lofty goals.
I am exhausted from my goals. There are times I walk in a fog, dizzy from the overwhelming burdens I have placed upon myself. And the fox waits in the vineyard, ready to steal my joy.
Have you ever had that feeling that you are not enough? When you lose your patience, speak words of frustration, look around you and see the laundry, dust, cluttered email box, kids dressed with mismatched socks, and say you are not good enough? And say, I cannot do this. I am not doing this. Someone else better than me should be doing this. And then, if you are me, you imagine that faceless person caring for your children, the scene of neatly packed lunches and cheerful hugs as they leave for school, a spirit of joy as she goes to do the laundry and tidy up their bedrooms.
I fight that demon off by adding in the reality of my day. It can be fun. Add in a little going to school struggle, a juice box argument, the child who searches ( in vain) for matching socks and, not finding any, leaves the basket of socks in an upheaval, mixed in with the dirty laundry in the laundry room. Still thinking that Mrs. Perfect can handle it better than you? Turn up the heat on your airbrushed momma. Sound effects are always helpful. Someone has gotten hurt and is crying, another has just gotten in an argument with his sister upstairs, the dog is barking, the baby takes off her clothes for the third time, and you look in the bathroom to behold that your preschooler is using your hand towel to wipe her bottom because the toilet paper roll was not replaced. That one always wins for me. 🙂
Walls. We put them up. We wear masks to hide our faces and build up walls to create an image of ourselves in our minds that we, mothers “have got this.” Someone offers me help and I say, “No thanks, I’ve got it.” Tonight, I am reflecting on why we reject help. I think because by accepting the help, we allow people into our reality. We allow charity and vulnerability to creep in. We allow them to see that the Facebook snapshot is not a progressive moment; it is an image allowing the viewer to write the caption. A wise friend once shared that there can be no true Christian charity without those willing to accept it.
So…what is charity?
Webster has two definitions. Charity is generosity and helpfulness, especially toward the needy or suffering, and charity is also lenient judgment of others. It is the lenient judgment of others that speaks to me. In not wanting others to see my reality, I am judging them incapable of loving me through the messiness. When I let down my guard and allow the Holy Spirit to flow through me and lead the way for my day, amazing things happen. Today I had goals of getting my house put together and I felt convicted to give a friend a call and see if she wanted to have tea. The house was not put together. The kids were still in their pj’s and I was so tempted to retract my invitation. But God has great plans for us when we allow Him to work through the moments of our days. That friend came over and with eyes that see, grabbed a broom, and we shared some very intimate conversations. I believe because I let myself be vulnerable and show the imperfect, she felt comfortable enough to share her imperfect. Walls — They crumbled in that small moment, and we received each other as God sees us — with such gentleness and mercy.
God did not give me children to right the wrongs of the past. Our Lord put these children here for His purpose. What wondrous plans He has for them. I wish I had eyes that saw this from the beginning! I want to run upstairs to those 8 sleeping gifts and whisper to them, “You are such a gift! God has such plans for you! Oh, how He loves us!”
(But then they would think I am crazier than they already do.)