In the weeks and months since the birth of our second child, The Lord has been refining my soul in many ways. Ella and Jacob add so much sunshine to my days, and I put every ounce of energy I have into them. I think that as moms, that’s just what we do. And we all desire to do it well. We know motherhood is our calling, so we run full speed ahead toward everything that good mommies should. I believe that The Lord is pleased with the intentions in our hearts, but I also believe that our mothering is most pleasing to Him when we cease striving long enough for His grace to permeate our hearts and our homes. Because the truth is, He didn’t call us to be super mom. He called us to be His hands and feet in our homes.Shortly after Ella was born, someone came to my house and made a snide comment that stuck with me. Not many thoughts stick with me these days, but this one did. The comment was, “every room in your house looks like a playroom.” There’s a lot of truth to that. The guest bathroom is a perpetual sea of squirting toys, and Thomas the Tank Engine has indeed taken up residence in the dining room. I don’t mind a bit, but that comment stirred up all kinds of thoughts. Being mommy is hard. It’s messy. I’ve had days full of so many mommy mishaps that I start wondering if I really should have signed up for this. Our perfection and success-driven culture has led us to believe that motherhood is a picturesque fairytale of textbook pregnancies, beautiful and epidural-free deliveries, and the subsequent raising of exclusively breastfed, even tempered children who meet (and of course exceed) every developmental milestone exactly on the day the scientific timelines say they should. All while we maintain a Pottery Barn home (because those tufted linen couches pair perfectly with toddlers), attend pi-yo every night, and prepare (from scratch) dinners that incorporate all current super foods. When things go slightly awry – such as when pregnancy becomes traumatic, delivery is difficult, and our children aren’t as crazy for multigrain quinoa kale antioxidant puffs as that Buzz Feed article says they should be, we feel overwhelmed and defeated. We feel that our homes with visible signs of wear and our meals with even more visible signs of exhaustion are just inadequate. Satan loves to plant those seeds of disappointment in our minds because they’ll quickly take root in our hearts. He wants us to run so hard after perfection that we overlook the grace that is ours in Christ.
Motherhood is all about grace – grace with our children and grace with our husbands, and grace with ourselves. Yes I said it – grace with ourselves. Grace to realize that you are enough even when your lipstick didn’t make it anywhere near your face today, that your child isn’t delayed just because he prefers animal sounds over words, and that no one ever died from the coffee table going un-dusted for a a few weeks or from daddy picking up Chick fil A when dinner just didn’t nab a spot on the priority list. Its grace to put the to-do list down and the Pinterest projects aside long enough to soak up the things that are so preciously fleeting about these days – the slobbery kisses, the chubby hands poking partially chewed pretzel sticks into my mouth, the sweet and pudgy toddler bellies. It’s okay to be finished with those multigrain super duper seaweed crisps and the handmade goldfish snacks (it’s really a thing on Pinterest) and the impending registration deadline for thrice-weekly baby boot camp. Despite what the world wants us mommies to believe, there aren’t any extra trophies for all of those things. I actually just bought a sparkly hula hoop because that’s pretty much the only kind of exercise I have time for. And that’s okay. What we need to realize is that this constant, exhausting pursuit of the unattainable is not what The Lord intends for us as moms. His heart for us and for our children is quite the opposite. It’s to cease striving and seek Him. It’s to conform ourselves and our children to His standards rather than those of this world. It’s to start each morning in His Word rather than on our phones so that we can be transformed every day by the renewing of our minds. That’s what it takes to battle against a Godless culture that desires to engulf us. Our God is not bound nor impressed by catalog-worthy homes or the 50th percentile on the CDC growth charts. His abilities are limitless when we entrust ourselves and our children to Him. Satan knows that if we are physically and mentally wiped out, we won’t have the energy for what God has called us to do. Nowhere does His Word say that motherhood is supposed to be easy. In fact, He tells us that we will have trouble. Plenty of it. We weren’t meant to tackle everything on the super mommy checklist. Instead, we are to take heart, because He has overcome! And at the end of the day, what is it that my mama heart really thirsts for? And what is it that I’ll tell my God when I stand before Him at the end of my days? Is it that that my children have never tasted a morsel that wasn’t organic, cage free, grass fed, free range, and non-GMO? Or is it the blessed assurance that they are God-fearing sons and daughters of the Most High who have learned to embody compassion, humility, and forgiveness just like their Savior? Definitely that one.
So instead of beating yourself up for all the things you didn’t get done, be still, take heart, and give the grace that our Savior died for. Because we are imperfect women immensely loved by a perfect God and entrusted with the holy task of raising up our sons and daughters to love Him back. I rejoice in the fact that my days are often spent in a messy ponytail, eating non-organic cheese sticks and store brand peanut butter Cheerios and dancing to silly Daniel Tiger songs in the living room of our little home. Where every room looks like a playroom. Nothing makes me happier.
One thing I ask from The Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of The Lord all the days of my life. | Psalm 27:4