Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Am I Ever Enough?

As moms, we sometimes (often) feel that we are never enough.  We cannot get all of the dust bunnies and dirty dishes banished, and feed and clothe and clean our children, much less tend the bumps and bruises on the little hearts and minds of our sweet (needy, demanding, hungry) little ones.

Being a mother is an all-encompassing and is a full-time occupation of our entire being.  It takes more than a body to cuddle, it takes more than a mind to answer a question.  It takes more than the sum of who I am to mother these children that have been entrusted to me by God.

As a young mother, I was overwhelmed a lot of the time.  I felt  like I was at the end of my rope, at some point, pretty much every day.  No matter how hard I worked, there was more to do than I could get done.  If I cleaned something, it just got dirty again.  If I made something, it got eaten or slept in.  I did not fully understand the fact that this is actually the work God has put before us, not by accident, but on purpose.  It is Repetitive, this beating back the effects of the fall - preparing, cleaning, restoring order, taming chaos.  It is daily, nightly, weekly, monthly, yearly, on and on, as far as the eye can see, and the children:  they will still get hungry, they will still need washing, they will make messes and messes and still need my heart and my physical being.  I saw it all as so much weariness and did not embrace this load gladly.

As an older mother, I have learned such a valuable lesson that I SOOO wish I had learned much earlier in life.  Each day does have enough trouble.  It takes more strength than you or I have to do it.  We aren't enough in and of ourselves.  We need the Lord to do more than survive, but truly live this life in joy and freedom.

The lesson I learned late in life is to be thankful - for everything - to give thanks for all the good and the bad - to see each thing through the lens of gratitude rather than resentfulness.  It is true, I lived a lot of my life resenting the interruptions, the spills, the unexpected vomiting in the back seat of the car on the way to church, the poopy diaper right as we are running out the door, late again, the lack of sleep and stained, ruined clothes and so many other such NOT IMPORTANT things that robbed me of joy and delight in my children and laughter in my life and made me feel constantly inadequate.

If I had seen how awesome it was that I even had a child to throw up on me - that this temporary illness was no big deal compared to what could be.  If I had appreciated how truly gifted I was to have a baby with a diaper to change, even if we were going to be later, now.  So what, really??? If I had remembered that God clothes the lilies of the fields, so surely He can replace whatever silly dress I "loved" and feel sad about losing to stains or tears, oh how foolish it all seems now, now that I am older.  None of that was central to my calling. 

I live here and now to love God and to love people.  I thank God for whatever He puts before me - all the so-called GOOD AND all the so-called BAD, knowing that He has His Hand in this, and He has a purpose.  Oh, there is peace in truly realizing this.  I ask Him for eyes to see it, for a heart to praise Him, for the grace and strength to genuinely love each and every person He puts in my life today.  I can live in the moment with gladness instead of the grumpy, impatient, exasperated way I used to approach laundry, dirty dishes, and whining children.

Twenty six years have gone by since I became a mother.  I have six older children,  I am a grandmother and I have a one year old.  I think I would have fainted with exhaustion had I known that was coming, all those years ago.  It is a blessing, though, that is all it is.  Blessings, blessings, and more blessings.  And opportunities to grow in love and grace and patience.  And lots of pain along the way, too. But that is another blog, another day.

Today, I am humbled with thankfulness.

Just a few of my sweet blessings from the Lord.
Alejandro, my resident mess maker

Leah, my sweet 20 year old, and Alejandro, our chubby cute baby

Joel, the "lives in his own world" ten year old, and Alejandro again

Susanna my awesome clarinet-playing, singing athlete, with the baby
(again, really? yes, he is in most every picture lately.  Can't say why, exactly, haha.)

My wonderful and lovely husband, with our baby.  So thankful.