Somehow yesterday we got a beautiful blessing of a day with the weather. We went from below freezing temps to 60 degrees in the matter of days. It was awesome. So, when me and the two boys were headed out first thing in the morning for “Mom to Mom” (which is a Christian mentor program for moms) I heard the birds chirping and felt the sunshine on my face. I took a deep breath in and felt thankful. And for the first time in a long time, I felt relaxed and confident in my calling.
For about 7 months after child birth, life was beautiful but SO tough. I felt insecure and unsure of who I was supposed to be but at the same time, I was so in love. But the love I felt wasn’t enough to quiet the pounding questions in my head. Was I supposed to be the girl who still lived her life for faith, fashion, fun, fitness and herself? Was I supposed to grab tooth and nail fighting for the girl I used to be pre-baby? Or was I supposed to be in full mom mode, knee deep in diapers, forgetting who I was and just being happy that I got to take a shower that day and hold my baby?
Well ladies, I tried it both ways.
Initially I tried to hold on so tight to the girl I used to be. To prove to myself that I could still feel like an independent woman, pursuing everything the way I always had, and also have a baby depending on me too. I. failed. miserably. I was overwhelmed, I was unhappy, and at the end of everyday I felt heavy guilt and conviction, knowing in my heart I wasn’t doing life right. But because I wanted it to look a certain way, I’d tweak a thing or two in hopes that it would change things for the next day. I’d get up, do it all over again and find myself in the same place again. Left feeling sad, completely drained and empty, even though I thought I was “filling my cup”, I realized that I needed to make a change. Not just little one here in there. But a big one.
So, then I just stopped caring for myself completely and gave it all to motherhood. I’d stay in my pajamas. Brush my teeth when I’d think of it. Watch countless episodes of kids shows. I’d fold laundry, do dishes and pick up toys when the baby was asleep. I’d watch Hallmark or Gilmore Girls and take naps too. I was bored, unhealthy and again I’d go to bed “empty.” This time it wasn’t because I was overworked by my to do list, but instead because I was just waiting to do for my kids but felt somewhat worthless inside.
Neither of these two versions of life are me. And I’m not knocking either one. They just aren’t my calling.
In both seasons, I was asking God to show me WHO I was supposed to be. At the time I was annoyed because it didn’t feel like he was giving me an answer. Well, other than making it clear that “this wasn’t His plan” or what He wanted for me. But now looking back, I clearly see the parental lesson and the route He took to show me. And what’s funny is, he taught me directly through my own parenting tactics.
Let me tell you what I mean. Silas has learned to crawl. He is a real go getter. He’s curious and nosey. He wants to do things, but he is clueless of the consequences of his actions. He will crawl on the couch and try to crawl right off the edge. He will crawl and reach up to the fireplace ledge as if he’s going to try and crawl into the fireplace. The kid is on the move! So as a mom, I’ve let him get just to the point of falling off the couch and catch him right before he hits the ground. I let him climb up the fireplace ledge and even let him bump his chin, so he sees that he’s not ready.
God wasn’t absent. Every time I was begging for an answer, he was letting me bump my chin but also catching me before I fell into what could have completely scarred me for life.
Women, our God is not absent. If he recognizes we are trying to figure it out and not sitting still and prayerfully coming to Him in request, He will show us the way.
And He did. Though my chin is a little busted, I’m starting to feel confident. He wants me to grow in this whole mom thing. But He also wants me to be myself and sometimes give to myself too. Part of my calling now is a mom. And the interlude of “mom and me” is a beautiful thing. What was once my calling as “just me” and blending that with “mom”, is my perfect calling. Giving into the exact season I am in but including that into my desires and abilities is where God has placed me.
So buying clothes and make up all the time, or spending a ton of time working out, and having constant date nights with my husband was great. And writing about independence, fashion, and fitness was a joy! But it isn’t completely authentic to me anymore.
As I sat there yesterday, windows open, I had a paint brush in one hand and rocks and sticks in the other creating “nature art.” I looked at my baby in the high chair and my five-year-old with paint on his cheek and saw my true calling in front of me. I felt JOY and fullness.
While I’ll still love a good clothing sale, new shoes and buying lipstick every time I’m at Target. Writing about the quick dinner recipe I’m making, the tired day I’ve had, the lesson with my husband, the fun activity I’ve found for the kids and my new favorite 20-minute workout during nap time- that’s the new me. It took a while to get here. But we are all infants in new seasons of life. Going from crawling with curiosity and confusion, to one step at a time, walking confidently in our new callings. And what we can trust during all of it is that God is with us.
“Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Nature Art by Jameson and I. 🙂