Saturday, September 13, 2014

Surviving Motherhood

Breathe.  Just breathe.  Stillness.  Silence.  Me....just me. 

My need to write is like a salve to my soul.  Especially now....when I'm surrounded by needs, but when?  Who has time?  When I can't let it out, it just sits there.  Festering.  An unhealing wound that needs air.  My entire being feels smothered when I can't let it out.  I need to breathe.  

My days are a whirlwind.  A never ending to do list filled with a balance of household chores and loving those beautiful faces God has given me to cherish.  By the end of the day I am so tired.  So spent.  Running on empty fumes.  I stumble to bed, often asking myself why?  Why do we do this? 

In those moments I have to believe it's worth it.  In those days when my tank seems to always be running on fumes.  When worries and guilt choke my soul like a parched garden full of thorns in mid August....I have to have faith that God has made me for this moment.  That right here, right matter how ill equipped I feel...He has prepared me for this.  

Some days are better than others.  Some days I feel like I kicked Pinterest in the butt.  Other days the tv has hardly been turned off because I can't do it.  I just can't muster up enough to make it on my own.  Some days I'm Martha Stewart on steroids-  cooking, baking, grocery shopping, checking off work tasks, showering, and still spending time with the kids throughout my day....others I collapse, and I just am.  I just allow myself to be.  

I'm better today though than I was 5 months ago.  God's worked out a lot in me though I still have far to go.  Having two is far harder than I ever dreamed it would be, though I hear that is not the case for everyone.  That's fine.  I'm glad, but for me.  For us....having two has been us giving more than we ever even thought we had to give.  

There have been a few things that have helped my days take a turn for the better.  I'm feeling hope again.  I'm feeling less suffocated, and some days even feeling joy, and because I know I am not the only one struggling with this part of the motherhood journey.  I share from my heart to yours....

I'm learning to lower my expectations.  When I wake up in the morning and give God my whole day....things always go much better.  I expect less of the kids.  I expect less of myself.  No worries...I still have my to do list, but it becomes His when I give it to Him.  I let go a lot more.  I trust Him more.  

I've started telling myself "it's their day too."  Katie over at Coffee and Crumbs introduced this idea to me. When I started adopting this concept, it made an even bigger impact on me than lowering my expectations.  When I get down on the floor and see the world through their eyes, I see things a lot differently.  When my day is based only on what I want to accomplish I forget how important their needs and wants are, because to a certain 3 year old I know....mommy playing ponies with her is almost equivalent to visiting Disneyworld, and to a little sweet boy I know, mommies cuddles and snuggles are his only sense of security in this big world.  So go ahead...I dare you.  Get down on the floor and evaluate what "their day" means to them.  It will change your perspective completely.

Finally, I'm learning to stop waiting for this season to pass.  I recently came across a blog written by Sally Clarkson.  You can find her article here.  I love what she has to say about Waiting Through Seasons of Parenting....

"Somewhere amidst all of this impatient waiting, I realized that I could miss life if I just waited for a season to pass or something to change.  God, however,  seems to be more concerned with the process, the shaping of my own soul in the midst of the daily steps of life.....How much time I have wasted when I was waiting for a season to pass so that I could “get on” with life, when God is strategically using those moments to stretch me, to make me more unselfish, more compassionate, more humble."
It's interesting....somewhere along the line I had this misconception that days as a stay at home mom would be fun.  Filled with cute kids, and craft projects and play dates.  Don't get me wrong.  They can be fun.  Just the same as working at a job can be fun with the right mentality.  I can be just as discontent at work as I can at home.  

In his book the Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas challenges our concept about marriage:

 "what if God designed marriage to make us more holy than to make us happy." 

 I have to say I think that concept applies to all of life in general-  our jobs, our marriages, our children...all of it.  God's job isn't to be my genie in a bottle and grant me three wishes.  No, our God loves his children and sometimes love is tough love.  Sometimes love is discipline.  Sometimes love is not giving our children what they want, because we know they will grow more character if they have to work for it. the hardest thing God has asked me to do thus far  I have watched more selfishness come out of me in the last 3 1/2 years than I ever thought possible.  I've watched calloused parts of me melt away, and love come out of me that I never knew existed.  I've seen him using my gifts in ways I didn't know they could be used, while at the same time feeling more helpless than I ever have before.

 In Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary on 2 Chronicles 16, He writes....

"We trust in God when we have nothing else to trust to, when need drives us to Him, but when we have other things to stay on we are apt to depend too much on them."

God often times has to sweep away everything around us that we are clinging so tightly to to hold us afloat in order to remind us that He is our rock.  He is the foundation we stand on and it is only when we build upon Him that we build on solid ground.

Fellow moms I want you to know that you've got this.  You are doing great.  Besides what the world tells you with their photoshopped Facebook photos of Pinterest crafts and millions of books telling you how to and how not to parent, and people wagging their fingers at you in grocery stores scolding your parenting've got this.  You know why?  Because you've got Him, and at the end of the day, at the end of this life our Facebook photos and Pinterest crafts won't matter.  What will matter is if we chose to live each day for Him.  That we got down on the ground on our knees, in tears and said "God, I can't do this on my own.  I need you."  And that moment when you let go and let Him and recognize your real need....that's when your season will start to matter.  That's when you will see past the mundane.  That is when you will truly start to live.