Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fearfully and Wonderfully...a Mom

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Your works are wonderful; I know that full well."
Psalm 139:14

Being a mom is one of the trickiest parts of my identity to embrace.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my kids as much as any mom.  I love being a mom, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  So stick with me here...this is not in any way intended to be a kid-bashing session.

There was such a longing and a waiting before I became a mom.  I knew that is what I wanted to be for years before I felt "ready" to take on that role.  Go ahead and laugh now...No matter how ready you think you are, you are never really ready when you have children.  No matter how many child development classes you may have had, that precious little baby in your arms will still throw you for a loop!

God created each one of my children with such care and detail.  I love how He took parts from my husband and from me and made them brand new creations.  I know my children and all their intricacies and quirks.  I know who likes what food.  I know who jumps into new things and who soaks in everything like a sponge.  I know who is most likely to get chores and homework done first.  I know who is more likely to be in tune with someone else's emotions and give a spontaneous hug or back rub.  I know their strengths, their weaknesses, and their passions.

Not Robots
But even knowing all of that, they are not robots.  They surprise me (for good or bad) on a daily basis.  I cannot predict their every move.  That unpredictability makes life challenging at times.  It also makes it  incredibly beautiful.  (You can read more about Not Raising Robots here.)

Time Management
A part of motherhood that has been challenging for me is the sheer time management of it all.  The daily balancing act of laundry, errands, quality time, homework, activities, trimming fingernails, cleaning ears, cooking and cleaning up can be exhausting.  This is still a growing process for me.  Some days are better than others.

Dying to Self
I never knew how selfish I was before I had children.  I pretty much did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.  Even getting married didn't change that much: we both pretty well did what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it.  Some of that was together, and some of it was independent.  We were both cool with that.

But parenting... Whoa!  That is a game changer.  Want to take a nap in the middle of the day?  Only if the baby is napping too.  Have more than one child?  The likelihood that simultaneous sleeping in the middle of the day is very, very slim.  Even if you haven't had more than ten minutes of sleep in the last three days, you have to die to yourself a bit and take care of that baby's needs first.  OR, you have to have some sort of communication with your spouse, neighbor, grandma, or friend to take care of that baby so you can get the much-deserved rest that you require.

I used to have a habit of treating myself to a Blizzard from DQ on a somewhat frequent basis.  I would drive through on my way to somewhere and eat it on the road.  A special treat for being stressed or a mini-celebration or whatever.  I will never forget a day shortly after my son was old enough to have a forward-facing car seat.  I went through DQ as per my habit.  I didn't time it, but I believe it took my son 17 seconds or less to recognize and make known that Mama had something he didn't have.  There I was, spoon in hand, turned half around looking at my son, as he verbalized the unfairness of what was happening.  I was frozen as the recognition of my deep selfishness washed over me.

Moments like these-and they are many-have made me refine my motives.  Why am I doing this?  Is it good for my children?  If it's not good for my children, is it really good for me?  I have laid down some things like frequent Blizzards from DQ that were not great for me because I couldn't justify it to myself or anyone else.

Along those same lines, I think being a mother makes me a better Christian.  I do have to lay down my selfish desires on a daily basis.  That may be sharing my Diet Coke (No!  It's mine!) or stopping what I'm currently doing to get a ponytail out of Barbie's hair, or really intently listening to the details of the latest and most improved Lego creation.  But also, I am constantly evaluating and re-evaluating the example I am setting.  If I do this now, is it something I want my children to do now or in the future?  We have conversations regularly about why we do or don't do something.  Most often my answer is "Because Jesus said..."    If I am going to "talk the talk" of bringing Jesus into the conversation, I have to be doing it too.  My kids will call me out when my words and actions don't match.

Does this mean I'm perfect?  Of course not.  Does this mean every day is a great day?  Definitely not.  I get stressed.  I yell.  I make mistakes.  Things don't go as planned.  This is life.  

But here is the identity piece for me.  God made me to be a mother.  It's part of His perfect plan.  But He didn't just make me any mother.  He made me specifically to be Seth's mom and Hannah's mom.  He created each and every single stitch of them with the same care and love He created me.  He placed these precious gifts called children in my care.  Whether I mess up or get it right, I find my identity in being the mother He created me to be.

Who am I?  I am fearfully and wonderfully a mother. 

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