When You Forget What ‘Mom’ MeansPayton Foeller
I use to joke that I wanted to be a stay at home mom with no kids.
I knew I always wanted kids. I loved kids. I loved babysitting. I loved the science of it, watching the way environment and nature played a role in who these tiny beings would become. Watching children grow and develop into adults is nothing short of watching a miracle. These tiny blobs of drool and noise turn into movers and shakers. They become senators, missionaries, astronauts, mothers, fathers, friends, teachers, husbands, wives, bakers, writers, and of course much more. I knew children could stare the world in the face and just think, bring it on.
But I also knew that the gravity of that was not something to consider lightly. I loved kids but I knew it would put the weight of the world, that child’s world, on my shoulders. I knew I wasn’t ready for that, so I joked.
‘What are you going to do?’ Well… until God gives me some strength to bear that weight I’m going to be a stay at home mom … with no kids.
It wasn’t long into married life that we were blessed with a little bundle of drool.
But for some reason what I knew before; that the weight of creating life was more than a job, that it was a miracle, I had forgotten. Instead, I only remembered it wasn’t just a job offer, it was a career I could never ever leave. And that weighs heavy when you forget who gave you that career. And you start feeling inadequate. You forget that molder and shaper is a challenge you had admired for so long and start feeling more that it something to be pitied. We start feeling like that challenge requires no intelligence. Start feeling tired of feeling tired. I started thinking this gift and blessing of time with my children was below me. And to be honest, motherhood still feels like that more than I would like it too.
I started forgetting the weight of this assigned task and I resented being given it.
I took a job interview and didn’t get it.
I started this blog and have continued to pour time and effort into strategies that only fail and overwhelm me. I wanted to ‘use my brain’ because raising a drooling blob into an astronaut requires no brains. [Not that we’re raising her to be an astronaut, I’m just making a point – stick with me] I continue to think there must be more I need to be doing – even though some days I feel I’m drowning trying to maintain my incredibly simple and blessed life. I read mom blogs talking about the incredible ‘mental load’ we carry and nod my head, feeling slightly consoled. I continue to seek and ask, ‘what next?’ only to be told – Shhhh.
And then I was reminded of the story of Naaman
(2 Kings 5) Naaman was a leper. A yucky, sad, gross, leper. He went off searching for a solution, a cure to his gross and sad condition. A messenger came to him with directions from the prophet – wash in the Jordan river seven times and be clean. That’s it.
But he was so put off by this. ‘There are fancier rivers elsewhere. Why didn’t they tell me to slay a lion? Why wouldn’t they require me to win a Spelling Bee to be healed? Then I could show off my mad spelling skills in the meantime.’ And the messenger looked at him and said, (I paraphrase) ‘Dude – he told you what to do to fix it – if he had ‘slay a lion’ you would have tried it, why won’t you try the river thing?’
Naaman (I’m guessing this is what happened anyway…) stormed off in a huff and reluctantly snuck down to the river to prove that the guy was an idiot and show everyone the river wouldn’t heal him, or more accurately that simple obedience couldn’t heal him. But he did it. And he was clean. It was that simple. Not easy. But simple.
I think we all expect we should be given a lofty task.
If no one famous has a reality tv show about it then it probably isn’t worth doing. No one’s died trying to do it then it probably isn’t very admirable. There isn’t a lifetime movie about it then it’s probably not a story worth living out. If the solution doesn’t sound challenging and if no one declares it to be a difficult endeavor, then it probably won’t fix my problem.
The phrase, ‘too good to be true,’ comes to mind. Which, when it comes to what we have to offer, is probably a good rule of thumb. But when it comes to what God has to offer nothing is too good to be true.
I’m starting to remember the awe I use to have for moms.
And I’m starting to allow myself to believe that we are worthy of that awe. I’m remembering that children are miracles. Watching them turn from drooling blobs to functioning adults is to witness a miracle. To be a mother is to aid in a miracle. To be so blessed to be able to devote my daily life to this miracle is something of which I can be proud.
If I had been asked to become a surgeon wouldn’t I have worked hard to do that? What if God said, become an Olympic athlete wouldn’t I have laughed and then set out on my way to at least try? If I was asked to be a soldier would I not step up to the plate?
I think sometimes we are looking around or waiting around to be challenged to do something we deem as ‘difficult,’ when really, He’s just asking us to bathe in the river. He’s asking me to rest. He’s asking me to participate in a miracle. And really, He’s asking me to sit back and say thank you. And for me… and maybe for you, that is not as easy as it sounds.
Maybe you are feeling the weight of this as a new mom. I have a resource for you to work through!
Maybe you are in the thick of it and you’re kids are feeling the tension you are creating… you might want to try this one.
Maybe you just want to soak up this word and share it with a friend – would you?