We have had quite a year…wait, it hasn’t even been a year. Nine months. It’s only been nine months since the real chaos began. The circumstances of our family’s life have changed drastically since July of 2014, and I find that as a mama of three, I am bone tired weary. The kind of tired that cannot be eased by a latte’ or a mani/pedi or even a week-long vacation. It’s the kind of tired that comes from walking beneath the weight of responsibility, the weight of little lives who need you every second of every day – if not physically, then certainly emotionally. Talk to any mother you know and they will tell you that your job will never end, never REALLY get easier. It changes, evolves, sure, but it never ends. And the very picture of it stretching long before me makes me want to take a very, very long nap.
Do you know what I mean? I’m sure you do.
Another round of the stomach bug hit our house in March. It’s our illness of choice, apparently, and this time four out of five of us had it at the same time – also, we had company occupying all of the extra beds. So, my husband and I plus my two year old and seven month old piled up on towels in our bed. You’re getting lovely mental images, aren’t you? Just go with it. Let the horror of those images sink in because that’s where I was when the rest of our story unfolds.
My two year old was hit with another wave of the fun and I very carefully, with as little movement as possible, slit-opened my eyes. In the glow of the bathroom light, with the water running in the bathroom, I watched my husband – who was just rounding out his rotation with the virus – gently sit my little girl on top of the counter, stroke her throw-uppy hair, and wait for the water to warm so that he could sweetly, tenderly clean her up. He didn’t know, but I saw. I saw, and I felt a great deal of respect and affection for him in the moment.
I know that we are here to celebrate motherhood and you’re all like, “I’m glad your husband is awesome. Could we please talk about how awesome mama’s are?” I’m getting there, bone-tired mama.
So many days – so, so, so many days – I feel unseen, overlooked, unacknowledged. Like I’m barely standing because life has struck, but I’m still in charge of making sure the water is warm and the kids are comforted – and nobody even cares that I just want to lie down for a minute! Or do SOMEthing, ANYthing that I want to do! Or at least have someone stand up and say, “Woah, mom – you.are.awesome.”
But then I must ask myself, do I believe, really believe, that my God is a God who sees me just like I saw my unknowing husband serving so selflessly? Do I believe that this brings Him a great deal more joy than it could ever bring me? Do I desire praise and my own agenda more than I desire the very presence of Jesus?
Do you know what I mean? I’m sure you do.
My solution is simple: gratitude. Little, and big, hands and hearts need us – without ceasing. And there are days, too many days, that I complain about motherhood. I point to how hard and thankless it all is. I roll my eyes and make sarcastic remarks about having a college degree and being a professional poop cleaner upper. Someday it’ll be that I have a college degree but it is NOT in counseling, although that will seem to be my full-time job. But the truth is, my life is full of different joy and richness than I would know apart from my three babies – poop, someday drama managing, and all.
So when I want to scream, or when I already have, I try to stop and thank God for the fullness of His love manifested in my life through motherhood. I thank Him for each of my gifts. I run to him over and over again. Every day. All day. In every moment. When the two year old digs her heels in, when I turn around and the sisters have pulled out every.single.book we own to make a trail through the entire still-unpacked house, when the baby throws up in my hair again, when throwing myself into motherhood while maintaining who I am as a person seems absolutely impossible – to run fast and hard to Jesus and say, “I don’t know how. I can’t. I need you to,” and then just keep moving, trusting that He’s all over me like white on rice, working and changing and affecting my heart because I asked Him to – because that’s who He is.
Maybe, I’ll wake up one day, look around and like Jacob say, “God’s been here doing His thing, and I didn’t even realize it!” What I hope, though, is that like Moses I’ll see it in each of those moments, take off my shoes, bow low, and find rest in His presence.
So, today will you join me in stopping to thank God for the gift of motherhood – and more than that, for the gift of being seen?