Dear you, you Wonderful Mom, you,
Just in case you ever read this blog and thought it looked like I had it all together (which if you know me in real life you certainly don't have any such illusions!) I want to be real with you. I have wanted to change the name of this blog so many times. I mean "The Joyeful Journey" is a worthy ambition, it's true, but MOST days I am struggling to find the joy in a house full of messy and loud and demanding and downright draining to-dos. And while I'm airing out all my closets for you here, you might as well know that I'm often overwhelmed, and sometimes downright depressed.
I have in my mind all these perfect ideals and lofty ambitions for motherhood: Of dancing through the kitchen with my five children, baby on hip, spatula in hand, whipping up amazing, healthy, to die for meals, all while singing songs of Alleluia and twirling in a blue gingham dress, hair curled fetchingly with ruby lipstick on, children busy doing chores and humming hymns, then feasting with daddy on a lace covered tablecloth and afterward all piling up together in one big snug hug while reading family devotions.
But it was just last week I served macaroni and cheese four times, ate hot dogs, stayed in clothes wet with baby spit up, barely combed my hair, did devotions with my kids only twice, cried over spilled milk, and contemplated checking into a looney bin for a mini vacation. It was just this weekend I found out my husband's crazy work hours just got crazier and now he'll be working seven long days a week until God opens another desperately prayed for door. I feared and fretted and worried myself sick. I let despair eat away at me.
And this is what I named The Joyeful Journey? It is. And I'll keep it this way for now. Because it's what I need to be reminded of the most. There is joy in this. In their eyes when you whisper secrets in their ears. In big hugs and the sweetest "I love you"s. In growing and loving and laughing together. In feeling God's grace when it covers our weakness. In giving thanks through the tears, and leaning in close to Jesus when the ground is giving way beneath you. There is joy. And it doesn't look like a forced "happy". It looks more like peace. I just have to choose it. Everyday, grab hold of it. I miss it sometimes. I fall short of singing. I fall short of seeing the gifts and thanking the Giver in the midst of the struggle. But this is a journey, after all. And it's one I'm learning is full of grace and the goodness of my God.
If you are reading this and you've ever felt like you don't measure up, if you've ever felt like you're drowning in mommy guilt, like you're missing something or should be doing more of something, or wish there was something more, please know you're not alone. It plagues me, too. But God is bigger than our feelings and it's the truth that sets us free. The truth that Jesus is enough. He covers us. Pick us up when we've been looking down for too long. He infuses what we do as wives and moms with kingdom importance, with eternal worth.
He values your heart, dear mom. And He is gentle with you, never berating you or demanding more than you can give.
"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." (Isaiah 40:11)
That verse has been like balm to my soul for so many years. The gentleness of my God rescuing and redeeming all my failures.
So, hang in there, sweet mama. God is right here with us.
p.s. If you've ever left a comment on this blog, I appreciate them so much and I like to reply when I can through e-mail. If you have a blogger account, you can enable it to receive replies to your comments, otherwise it doesn't allow return correspondence. (LoveWins, this post is for you, dear!)