I’ve wrote out honest here over the last two days some huge pitfalls I’ve encountered in my mama journey so far. There was a great conversation that happened over at Faith & Family Live, too. And the thing is, if I could go back to that mama of five and ten years ago, (and maybe you, too, dearest?), I’d scoot up close with you on the park bench as our kids went wacky and wild and loud and joyful on the playground, wrap our hands around the coffee mugs and love on you as best as I knew how. And the thing I’d want to tell you the most is that no matter what, grace is here.
I’ve lived that grace. And I want to breathe it over you, dear heart.
We all have stumbling blocks and trip-prat-falls-straight-on-our-face and skin-our-nose days…it’s the nature of life after the fall. We’ve all got sin to contend with and we all live in a fallen world. Maybe the honesty I’ve wrote out here is something you can’t relate to. You might be the complete opposite of me in personality, and my driven-ness and striving for perfection rings hollow to you because it’s not something you struggle with. But I guarantee if we sat and talked long enough, you’d look up at me with tears in your eyes over guilt about something in your mothering that is deeply troubling you.
And maybe you’ve been carrying it around for too long.
And if I could, I’d help you tie it to a balloon and send it straight to heaven where it belongs.
The thing about mothering is, as The Message paraphrases Matt 11:30,
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Mothering is this amazing dance between us and our Creator-Father-Provider-Sustainer God. When we lean into Him and follow His steps in the dance, we live free in His love. Even when we’re dancing across uneven terrain, even if the storm is dumping buckets of suffering on our heads, we’ve got His sure step. We just have to follow. Mothering is the craziest thing we’ve ever done. The hardest. The most joyful and the most sorrowful. It is ever a contradiction in terms; it is forever a nesting close and a letting go.
But the thing I’d tell you, dearest, sitting there on that bench? Let go. Let go of your fear. Let go of your expectations. Let go of your guilt. Amber wrote so eloquently yesterday of this, and I want you to hear it:
I am not a prisoner of my children. They do not keep me in chains and bark at me for drinks as my masters. I am a prisoner of Christ. I am His alone. Knowing who I am, my Christ-Esteem, it opens my ears and my hands to love those around me. It pours me thick with joy. I can hear when I’m listening to that One voice.
Shirk the Mother Guilt. Take off that chain, oozing with such restless lies. Freedom is in serving Christ alone.
Breathe deep the freedom of Christ. Lean into Him, lean into the dance. And dance your heart out. Grace is here.
I know how hard it has been, I know how achingly tired you can become, so burn out, at the end of everything- and the thing is, this marathon of motherhood is a long, intense run. Throw off all that fear and expectation and guilt that is dragging you into the deep waters. Trust that God is going to sustain you, no matter what. I promise you He will.
I was thinking of this too when I read this post by Hayley, writing about a very scary first few weeks with her son Asher…
Grief births joy in God’s economy. Peace enters the unlikeliest spaces. Grace extends in tiny and life-changing ways.
– Hayley Morgan, Tiny Twig That Goes Out on a Limb, May 4, 2012
You’re going to go through some pretty hefty storms in your journey as a mama, and experience some of the deepest grief… and through it will come some of the most amazing joy. You’ll learn grace in ways you had never considered before. And while I know it’s scary, I just want you to trust that our God has some pretty big plans for you, and He is good. You may not see it now. You may not see it for many, many years. But lean hard on faith. There is grace here. There is freedom here.
I am delighted that my dear friend Elizabeth is joining the Nester for her annual ’31 days…’ blogging challenge– speaking about something that is very near to my heart- Sally Clarkson’s The Mission of Motherhood. This book changed my whole paradigm a few years ago, and I find that I already need a refresher course. I will be joining Elizabeth this month as she chats and journals through what the mission of motherhood means to her.
Amber C Haines
Oh so good, Joy. Thank you. This really is a mission.
Thank you, dear heart! The way you see inspires and challenges me all the time. What you had to say really resonated within me.
So good and true! Sharing with all my gals. I especially love the part about master and prisoner. We are His first which then makes everything we live and do serving Him. And He WILL provide and be there.
Love to you…..keep on writing!
Amber really nailed that for me yesterday…I think it’s something I’ve sort of understood over the years, but she wrote out it out clarion clear.
I’m going to do my best to keep writing- I didn’t realize I had so much to say about this.;)