Today, Divine In The Daily launches a 5-week guest post series titled Special Mamas! Every Wednesday in May, we’ll honor real-life mamas who have big hearts and stand bold and courageous in their unique mothering roles.
I’m delighted to kick off the Special Mamas series with a guest post from Jennifer. Jennifer is a sweet woman and one of many “soul sisters” I’ve found in the blogging community. I deeply admire the way she so humbly and gracefully speaks truth with words and videos on her blog. I invited Jennifer to be a part of this series because she has an incredible gift for sharing the depths of her HEART and SOUL for women.
Jennifer, voice finder and wife of a heart-warrior, in Northern California, mothers three children, writes Loop: What You Need to Know, and leads My Girls, a group where women gather to remember the truth of their identity, in God’s eyes. You can also find Jennifer writing at youaremygirls.com and connecting at You are My Girls Community, on Facebook. She would love to have you join her there.
She looks at me with eyes that plead. “Tell me . . . tell me I’m doing okay. I need to hear it, even if I can’t believe it.”
She feels like she runs around in circles all day. She chose to stay at home, knowing she should appreciate the choice, the opportunity. She wanted to stay close, love on her children, plunge full on into the privilege of shaping lives.
But it’s hard. And she doubts she has what it takes to do it well.
She fills out pages of applications for her son’s middle school. Her child’s potential success just ahead. Just ahead is beginning. Just ahead is opportunity. Just ahead is fulfillment. Just ahead.
She fills the afternoons with activities, play practice and karate, language class and piano, football and dance team. She provides her children with chances to learn—to be challenged, stimulated, curious about the world. Their success is her success. And all the running around and shuttling to and fro and being home for a few minutes before dinner time, to get homework done, is a good, full day.
She scoops up her newborn and sways, offering comfort in a weary arm curled ‘round, her baby’s nose nestled in the warmth of white t-shirt. A two-year old sleeps in the next room, one moment flowing into the next into the next. Time stretches on like a relay race ‘round a track, the baton never passed. Seemingly in circles. Seemingly never-ending.
This day. Just this day.
She is going on four hours of sleep but one thing she knows. This baby, this beloved, needs a mama’s heart pressed to her own. So she gives and she gives and she is weary.
Tell me, please, that I am doing okay.
We are mothers and there is one thing, above all, that we crave: Tell me, tell me . . . it is okay to not be okay. Tell me, tell me . . . it is okay to not be fine. Tell me, tell me . . . it is okay to feel like I don’t have what it takes. Tell me, tell me . . . it is okay if I am unsure and ill equipped and fed up and, sometimes, I feel, more than anything, that I just want to run away.
It is okay.
Because while we chase down what we hope is the very best life for our children, we, at our core, need rescue.
Rescue in the staying by our child, in the night, while tears stream down and the night terrors make him scream.
Rescue in the bending low to listen close, once again, as the girls at school don’t want her included, or the grades just aren’t measuring as high as they should.
Rescue in the feeling depleted and worn down and the uncertainty about how help, in this mothering business, will come.
Yes, let us be weary and weak while confident and strong. Let us be willing to be rescued.
We are mothers, and we hold our children close and we let them go. We are mothers, and we pour out love and fear and worry and hopes and everything we are. We are mothers, and we mother with a heart full and perfectly imperfect love when we allow ourselves to be loved, as a beloved, too.
Oh, mothers, let’s lay it down. Let’s lay down our need for control, our desire to be right, our quest to fill up our kids because we, ourselves, need to be filled. Let us be filled first, and let that be what overflows. Let us be filled first so we are strengthened in our weakness, emboldened to stay and rest rather than run. Let us be filled first so that in our being rescued we don’t run, we stay.
There is nothing like the stretching, the fear, the desperation filled with terror of unknowns as we parent. There is nothing like the vulnerability, the stretched-wide open heart, the beating, bleeding mess we become when the responsibility to mother well feels so heavy we feel we will surely break. We can barely manage to live lives of strength, fearlessness, confidence ourselves.
We often still feel like children and now we are entrusted to raise our own. We have hearts broken and healed, beating fast with expectation for what is around the corner. We love our children more than anyone could have ever explained to us is possible.
So we must remember that we have been rescued. And because we have been rescued we have what it takes to be in the right now for the someday. What if we were less focused on the somedays, the what-ifs, the fears and worries of raising our children? Could we then, possibly, slow down? Could we then, possibly love them in this present?
If we have been rescued from the burden of needing to have parenting all figured out, perhaps we are free to enter the right now with our children and love them from our own rescued, free heart?
As mothers, let’s accept the invitation to love in the right now.
Because we are rescued.
Because we are not alone.
Because loving in the right now does not mean rescuing our children, too.