My Slow and Imminent Death

unnamed-2.jpg

At the risk of this blog sounding extremely melodramatic, motherhood is hitting me like a truck.

A big, fat dump truck with unrelenting 4-wheel-drive.

Motherhood feels like contractions.

The one thing that I tell people the hardest part of labor was, was how relentless the contractions were. They just never seemed to end. I would power through one… try to catch my breath… and then BAM. Another one would come, just as painful, if not more so, than the last.

If you’re about to have a baby, don’t let that be discouraging. Labor is what it is. Women do it all the time and you can do it too.

 

But since Bradley has been born, I have felt this consistent pressure to hold our family together.

I’m putting it on myself, I know, but I feel myself sliding slowly under the weight of the title that is “Mom”.

How the heck do women have more than one child?

And more importantly, how in the heck will I ever feel like a thriving human again?

 

Recently, I have had legitimate anger towards my single or even childless couple friends. Jealousy and anger as they have told me about their upcoming travels (where they don’t have a lap child on their flight or have to worry about checking a stroller) or spontaneous date nights with their husbands where they didn’t have a babysitter to come home to, or how they’re really focusing on stillness and getting a good solid hour, maybe even an hour and a half, in with the Lord every day.

 

This is not what my life looks like.

And I’m mad about it.

Mad that at one time it did and when I was in it, all I was doing was begging to be in the next season – the one with a husband and baby.

 

And yet here I am… mourning my singleness in a way I never expected.

 

Please understand:

My husband and child are the single best things in my life. While I mourn a previous season, I do not wish I was anywhere else but where I currently am. I adore my family. They are my glue.

 

The past two weekends, I have had moments of breaking.

Moments where my husband found me in our daughter’s room, weeping over unfinished laundry and an untidy living room that “I just can’t keep up.”

Moments where I told him that I felt like a dead slave to our family.

Moments where I realized that my entire thought life lately is only consumed with “To-Do lists” and I have no clue how to make it stop or what to delegate.

 

And there’s a big ginormous part of me that thinks… is this just in the job description?

Has this always been the list of duties under “motherhood”? Have women been for centuries feeling the exact same thing I’m feeling and I’m just weak and complaining?

 

Motherhood is hard. Not in the ways you expect it. But in the ways that you have to choose if you want to clean your kitchen, shower, lesson plan, grade projects, pump your child a bottle, do laundry, sleep or spend time with the Lord.

And you can only choose one in the time you have.

And sleep often wins.

 

You have no idea what it is to die to yourself until you have a child.

You don’t.

Not really.

Every selfish inkling in you must disappear in order for that child to live and thrive.

 

You acknowledge your exhaustion and want to sleep in? It doesn’t matter.

Because your 5 month old loves to wake up at 6:00 am, ready for the day, even on Saturdays.

So your options are:

1) Ignore her, her voice becoming a shrill cry, as you try to get a few more minutes.

or

2) Die to every ounce of exhaustion in your body, lug yourself out of bed, and feel your heart burst into a million pieces as you say “GOOD MORNING!” to her and she grins so big you think her face might break.

 

Time after time, as parents, we have to choose option number 2. Yet many times… that option doesn’t always come with the heart-splosion moment.

Many times, the option to leave an outing with friends early because your child is tired beyond her limit and just wants her bed, means that you get to deal with the cries and screaming as you change her into her PJs to finally get her settled, all the while wishing you were still back hanging out with your friends.

 

There is no face-breaking grin.

 

There is no “thank you, mom. I love you so much.”

 

There is no flash forward showing you your eternal reward or how by choosing your daughter over your social life in that moment, she will learn her worth and value.

 

All of me feels even more dead than ever before. Making the constant decision to choose her again and again and again… watching my selfishness wither and die in often the most painful ways.

 

I wish I could say every choice was easy.

 

I wish I could say that dying to myself has been a walk in the park.

 

Maybe I’m way more selfish than I ever realized.

 

But also, maybe we all have to go through this at some point to look even more like the selfless, ever-compassionate Savior who is more patient than we deserve.

 

“No one has shown greater love than this; than when he laid down his life for his friend.” – John 15:13

What about than when He laid down His life for his children?

 

And maybe my flesh, fighting against its slow and imminent death, is making way for a greater more glorious version of me on the other side.

unnamed-1.jpg

Side note:
Hug your parents

Advertisements

My Parents are Hotter Than Me

My parents anniversary is tomorrow. I’m going to be entirely honest and assure you that I have no idea if it’s their 25th or 26th anniversary. Regardless, they’ve been married for a really LONG time. And today I began thinking about how grateful I am for them. And how stinkin hot they are.

Now while I can assure you that my parents are both extremely good-looking people, let me explain.

Sometime in my years in Antioch’s college ministry, our college pastor, Carl Gulley,ย did a sermon series (probably about dating) in which he explained that the word “hot” can really be defined as being “hungry, obedient and teachable.”

My parents exude these characteristics, especially recently. They have learned what it is to listen to the voice of God before any other voice and act obediently towards His calling. And I think they would both tell you that this isn’t something they’ve done their whole lives. This is further proof of their amazing humility and willingness to keep learning. While they are rooted and grounded and established, they are still learning. It’s both challenging and encouraging for me to witness and realize that for the rest of my life,ย I’m always going to keep learning more about God.ย There’s never an end to Him. What a relief that life will always be full of adventures that seek out the character of God. What a conviction that I will never know it all. It’s foolish for me to think I will ever “arrive” at my fullest knowledge potential of God in my 20’s. I’m always going to get closer. And it’s always going to get better. My parents are proof of that.

Something shifted when I went to college. While I was still submitted to my parents, something changed in the dynamics of our relationship. I’m not sure exactly how I can explain it but somewhere in the mix of a parent-child relationship, the characteristics of a deep friendship were intermingled. It’s surpassed a relationship of authority and submission and I can say my parents truly are my close friends that I love and value and support. Mind you, they are still my parents and more than once have they given me advice that I foolishly neglected only to come crawling back to them, tail between my legs, realizing they had been right. I think the moment I entered my 20s, it hit me that they actually knew what they were talking about.

photo

My parents have taught me about commitment. The way they fight for their marriage and for us, their children, gives me a glimpse into the heart of God like nothing else. I see the way Jesus fights for me, his bride, by the way my dad continues to pursue my mom. And the way they would absolutely go to war for their children is astounding. It makes my heart completely overwhelmed to know that God is even more for me than my parents are.

Somehow, my parents have remained supportive of me. I have done things to give them more than 3 grey hairs each. Things like move to Texas, travel to the other side of the world with no one over the age of 22 and most recently, move to Raleigh without a job…probably the scariest one for them of all. But they trusted God. Yes…there was fear, from both me and them. But because of their whole-hearted submission to Jesus, all of us have survived this transition. There’s a deep trust that’s being established in our family now because of the examples they are setting to believe Him no matter what. They are hungry, obedient, and teachable followers of Jesus. And I’m glad they’re my parents.

Happy anniversary you two! Here’s to 25 (or 26) more. ๐Ÿ™‚