“I always wanted to be a hero–to sacrifice my life in a big way one time–and yet, God has required my sacrifice to be thousands of days, over many years, with one more kiss, one more story, one more meal.” -Sally Clarkson
I’m pasting leaves to mason jars and flipping ‘fake’ grilled cheese sandwiches at noon. The laundry is piled in the living room and there’s chicken poop on Alex’s feet. The Legos, oh, the Legos – they’re in every inch of spare space in this house. Have you ever stepped on a Lego…? Every single one of my tupperware containers has Lego in it. Not chopped fruit or leftovers, nope – Lego.
The map of Canada is peeling off the kitchen wall, our school binders and books are toppling over on the country hutch. It’s a messy, beautiful life.
But it’s a quiet life.
Motherhood, I mean.
Not quiet, as in silent. Now, that’s just plain suspicious around here. Quiet, as in, no one really sees me. I go about my daily life mostly, in silence from the outside world. As with so many mothers who stay home with their children, it is a silent surrender of self.
Can you relate, Mamas out there?
And it’s not to say we’re whining or we are not blessed and do not enjoy being with our children. We do. We cherish it. But we can still cherish that which is unbearably hard some days. When we are cleaning and cooking and cleaning again and cooking again, it feels like the whole world is one big domestic hamster wheel.
Then, it comes: “What do you do?”
Ah, the million dollar question. Don’t we all, somewhere deep inside, want to have a fancy and impressive answer? What do I do? Well… let me tell you all the amazing things I do and all the meaningful things I’ve accomplished in my life! Or, the Christian version: Let me tell you all the amazing ways “God is using me/God has called me”. (Come on, let’s be real…)
But, what if what we are called to do as Moms is incredibly simple?
What if what we are called to do in this season of life is raise a family.
I know, earth shattering, right? But -only for the last 60 or so years. Since we were, well, liberated.
Over the past few decades, haven’t women learned that being a Mom is not enough? That choosing to stay home with our children and raise them wholeheartedly is not enough? We are haunted with those pestering questions that imply: when will you get a real job? You know, and contribute something to society. As if serving our husbands and raising up human beings isn’t contributing something.
You know, to do the unseen. To lay down our own desires for the needs of our children and families. Maybe to pray that God might change our desires to His desires. There is no higher calling then to serve. Isn’t this Christ’s very message? The complete upside down world-view? Love God, love others – become a servant, just as He served- so shall we. But it’s not easy. It takes heart changes. For me, it took a complete open-soul-surgery. News Flash! Life isn’t all about me anymore. These babies are telling me so.
It took me a while to truly understand that this wasn’t a blip in life, this was a calling – a divine calling. Children are not an interruption to my true purpose, the Lord’s purposes are accomplished as I walk faithfully as a Mom.
I love this:
So, there’s no formula. There is no checklist. There are no “40 steps to great kids”.
It’s all about my relationship with my child. I read this, I know this, I believe this, I’ve seen this. And can I share something with you? My ability to relate to my children in the way I desperately want hinges on my relationship with my Lord. I’ve heard it said before – the strength of the Mother relies on the strength of the mother’s relationship with her Father. Her Heavenly Father. Christ in me is the only way. On my own, I fail. But through His love, I can. I can serve, and I can build these trusting, loving, authentic relationships.
I can respond in love. True agape, deep love and tenderness to every situation.
Because some days, it really doesn’t feel like we doing anything earth shattering.
When they are babies, we rock and walk and wrap and nurse until all hours of the night. We wake and watch and worry when they are sick. We wipe noses and all those parts that always seem to need wiping. We let go of what we might have wanted for what we know is needed. As they grow we teach them, lead them, read to them, we go for nature walks and climb trees and teach them to ride a bike and visit chicken friends and chat late into the night. We patiently embrace them when they are grouchy and trust that they will have grace when we’re grumpy.
In some seasons (and I know some of you are right smack in the middle of it) the days seem never-ending. I remember all too well the counting of the minutes until my husband came home so I could pass the baby and the toddler and the preschooler and start trying to scrape something together for dinner. I remember falling into bed exhausted only to be woken up within minutes.
Oh, it’s hard. There’s no doubt, it’s hard. But everything worthwhile in this precious and short life is hard. And raising children? It’s worth it. There is no higher calling – and please, Mama, don’t forget it.