(Originally posted December 2008)
This has been a long and drawn out season of discovery for me. Painful, thankful, challenging (to say the least) and also frustrating. I tend to be more of a pessimist naturally by temperament. Pessimists unite! We change the world too! I often see what is missing as opposed to what is actually there. I make a great team manager, strategizer and problem solver. Yet this part of my personality, which often seems to dominate, does not always serve me well. I think of Adrian Monk who stresses to new acquaintances that his OCD is a ‘gift and a curse’. I hear him 100%.
It seems as though my temperament has served others more in their need for guidance or direction and their inability to see the hick-ups along the way. These days, however, I long to be right where I’m suppose to be. To live, love and enjoy in the moment. What is it with our worldview (particularly Christian worldview) that causes us to always feel we are missing something? I find that over many years I have thought I should be doing something else. Something more profound, more amazing and something that proves that I have made a success of my life. This part of me, the inability to live where I am in the season of my life, is tiring; it’s wearing me out.
I have have two amazing, glorious, spunky and beautiful kids who need a mother who is enjoying life with them. Really, it’s not that I don’t enjoy them. I can’t think of two little humans that I would rather stare at all day long. Mainly, the issue is being with them in body but dreaming, strategizing and contemplating far away lands that need saving. Oh the nerve! As much as I agree in theory that moms take on a different role after their children leave their bodies and that role can last for decades, I am hard pressed to actually believe in my core that this is what I should be doing. I guess it’s the vibe from culture around me that says that I should raise kids but also…. (fill in the blank).
Really, I have never been nor will I ever be one of those crafty moms that come up with fun projects to do with their kids all day. I won’t be making candles with my kids or a peanut butter bird feeder any time soon. Some of the reasons for this is that it’s just not even a notion that enters my mind until I see someone else doing it; I’ve got other giftings! Another reason is that my kids are more the ‘lets jump off the couch and ram into one another for fun’ type. They would just as soon eat the crayons rather than draw with them. You think I’m joking? Chloe has more than once ended a color time with rainbow colors smeared all over her mouth while the picture next to her remained unscribbled. Rather than make snakes or people with playdough my kids have always preferred to eat it. They are no more crafty than I am and you won’t see this cowgirl becoming a scrapbooker! Yet, I’d love to make you a sweet loaf of rustic, artisan bread or sew some curtains for you, maybe help you plant a garden. I do have a bit of oomph in me. I’d just rather not make sandalwood and oatmeal soap if that’s ok.
So needless to say I am still trying to discover myself and how my life has changed being with two little, wonderful, creative and bright children all day long. I have moments where I feel like I’m suppose to be changing the world just a bit more than I am. That moment runs into the next moment where I feel like flipping the bird to the stupid value system of the world and saying, “Forget you! I’ll just stay with my kids and you can change the world without me”. Of course if you say something like that while flipping the bird then you aren’t a very compassionate Christian. So I refrain. My feeling of anxiousness doesn’t come from Jesus or any expecations God puts on me. He’s really into what I’m doing with my life right now. I am fully aware of that and this is what makes the mental struggle even more frustrating; I know it in my thoughts but I fail to embrace it in my heart. I’m trying to hold onto a dream of being a mom and a missionary; carrying my babies on my back as I help the natives plow the fields. Teaching my children the local dialect while beating my clothes against the rock by the river to clean them. I’m fighting my condemning thoughts to enjoy my dear ones and to expand in my life now; to be exactly where I need to be.
I heard a song recently. It’s quite folky and not really my style but also beautifully scripted. The heart behind it was knowing who she is and not feeling she had to embrace another path alongside the one she was on. She doesn’t need to be this and then some. It actually made me very emotional as I listened to her Ani DeFranco-ish sound. Some of the style is not really my worldview but the words hit me in the sensitive spot of my soul where I am failing to grow and mature in my perspective. I sat teary eyed while my kids played with legos on the floor, unaware that mom is struggling to embrace who she is and the joy of living right where I am.