Thursday, March 7, 2013

You Can't Always Get What You Want

My son has started speaking in sentences.

This is a huge development for our little wolf pack. Especially, since my two-and-a-half year old would have been considered a "late talker" by those extremely helpful experts online and their ridiculous milestones, charts, and worry wort concoctions.

And while his little voice- (which sounds to me like mash up between Mickey Mouse and Shaggy from Scooby Doo) is outright adorable, I have begun to see a new layer of his humanity unfolding. And as always with motherhood, mine as well.

Most mornings he wakes up from his deep slumber-- his sandy brown hair tossed about like riveted peaks of the Badlands, muttering, "Mama, I want more." 

This then rolls into the guessing game of what he wants more of. Usually it boils down to juice, a show, or more playtime. Some of which I am happy to provide and others I have to fight him on from the moment he rises.

He isn't unlike me.

I wake up many mornings whispering in my soul, "I want more." I want more money, I want more honor for myself, I want more glamor, I want a more interesting life, I want, I want, I want..."

I am knee deep in a new book by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson, Desperate. And I am entranced. My highlighter can't go fast enough, and every free moment I crack open the book and find myself emphatically nodding my head, scribbling a few thoughts, reading a verse and then repeating. This book is water to my soul. And I have been in a dry spell for awhile. 

First, while I only believe that the Bible has been God-breathed- this book did come to me through a series of circumstances that can only point back to the amazing timing of a God who I believe is dramatically  involved in every nanosecond of our mundane. First, when I originally ordered the book it was sent to my old address in Nashville. When I finally caught the mistake, it was too late to retrieve it and so the website I ordered it from was kind enough to send me a replacement. However, it cost me a few days in waiting. But to be honest, I forgot about it.
However, what was at that point nothing but an annoying delay turned out to be Providence. 

Instead of the book arriving a few days earlier, it arrived at the end of a very dark and frustrating day of my first attempt at potty training. I was on my third day of 3-day potty training  when  my son began refusing to "go" and held it for Olympic record-worthy amounts of time. I was amazed (and inwardly furious) with his bladder of steel that delayed our training leaving us both frustrated to the point of tears and temper tantrums on the floor.

I say us, because I was a willing participant. I was on the floor too. Mature, right? When my son saw my tears of frustration he rushed his favorite teddy bear against my cheek and began making kissing sounds. It was one of the most humbling and beautiful acts of love I've ever experienced with my son, which in turn, left me in another round of puddles.

Face still puffy from the potty power struggle, I heard a faint knock on the door and saw the delivery man drop a small package on the doorstep. Nothing more appropriate than the book, Desperate, could have been delivered at that exact time. 

And that leads to me to what I am learning today. In 1 Corinthians 7:17 it says, "Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him." For some reason, ever since my life has taken on some semblance of domestic routine and predictability, I have bought into the lie that I am the one who has made the decisions leading me to my current life. But I'm wrong. Here the Bible teaches that in His sovereignty he has assigned this to me. This address, this child, this husband, this very pregnant 36-week along body.

Once an aspiring actress, singer, songwriter, and author (all of which I still dabble in), I have secretly thought that I didn't have "more" commercial success in those areas because I had not measured up, tried hard enough, met the right people, done enough PR etc., when in reality-- if I fully believe what God is teaching me-- he didn't choose that path for me. He has assigned me this life. This is right where I'm supposed to be. And you, whether you have young kids or not, are right where you are supposed to be as well.

But for those of us who do have "littles", let me share an excerpt from Sarah Mae's chapter on "Escaping". She paints this gorgeous mandate for mothers everywhere. "Choosing to enter into the mundane with our children, who see playing ponies as anything but ordinary, is a sacrifice of love. Choosing to enter into a project that will probably turn into a training session is also a sacrifice of love. We will have to choose patience and kindness over frustration and giving up."

Sacrifice. Patience, Frustration. Giving Up. All words that we know all too well as mothers. However, in our culture of 'me-first' it seems appalling to not take time for ourselves or to always be throwing ourselves on the altar of our family. And in a sense, that is true- nobody needs a zombie mother who never does anything she enjoys. Instead, we need to be absolutely sure that we are finding beauty in our everyday and seeking out things that make us joyful so that can translate to our kids.

As Sarah goes on to say, we need to be sure we are co-creating "beauty in our own realms, through the power of His spirit" for our kids too. Our affinity toward music, art, theater, nature and all of the wonderful things in life shouldn't be replaced with reading the same children's book 50 times a day or never taking our kids on the adventures we imagine ourselves taking. We need to invite our kids into our passions and teach them how to look for "more" through the context and lens of God's assignment for our life.

As Sally Clarkson  says, "One of the marks of a godly woman is that she takes responsibility for her soul's need for joy and delight."

So I guess what I am saying is this. We all want more. From the moment we wake up to the moment we sleep, that is a human condition we can not escape. I am being taught that I need to cosign that desire for more with the life assignment God has entrusted to me in this moment. In this now.

I need to share my heart's joy with my son and soon-to-be daughter instead of thinking of this "job" as a means to an end with the ultimate goal being to produce two obedient, likeable children. Because the truth is neither of my children will be obedient or likeable all of the time. How do I know that? I'm not. And I've got a few years on them. 

Being a mom with passions and a propensity for more isn't wrong, but I needed this encouragement to realize that there is plenty out there for me to get, it just all begins with me giving away the gifts God has given. And that leads me to John 13:12, " So when He had washed their feet, and taken his garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, 'Do you know what I have done to you? You call me teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then the Lord and the Teacher washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet."

There it is. The call of a mom.

And so I will set out to 'wash the feet' of my children in sacrificial love when all I really want to do is take a bubble bath.

In love,

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