Me and My Monkey: the truth about me and motherhood

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Always on the go!

Always on the go!

“That’s not my circus.  That’s not my monkeys.”  – a Polish Proverb

This is the quote that has been speaking rather loudly to me for the last couple days. Have you ever found yourself taking on the burden or responsibility for people and relationships and problems, being weighed down so heavily by them, and finally realized that you were carrying something that God never asked you to carry? I’m not sure if it’s due to an inflated sense of my own competence, or to a propensity to forget that God is willing and able, and that HE cares much more than I do!

Whatever the reason, I quite frequently find myself struggling to carry the worries of someone else’s circus and someone else’s monkeys!! In these moments I must ask God, “What do you want me to do about this, if anything?” and then I must say, “This is Your’s and I trust you to carry it.  I’ve done what you asked me to do.”

I recall hundreds of speeches in which my dad (a motivational speaker) would say, “You are only responsible to what God has asked you to do.  When you get to Heaven he won’t ask you how many people you helped, how many buildings you built… He will simply ask, “Did you do what I asked you to do?”

Yes.  That is all.  I want to do what He asks me to do.

And that brings me to this morning. It’s actually almost noon. It’s a huge-mug-of-coffee kind of morning, out on the back porch ALONE… After three hours of chasing my little man around the house after he woke up an hour too early (in my humble opinion) and now he just finally went down for a nap.  A morning in which I struggled to get a little cereal and coffee down to keep my eyes open and an encouraging smile pasted on my face amid the chaos while the toddler that I love more than life itself explored (and dismantled) every object in the house.  It’s one of those kinds of mornings.  The kind that reminds me I have such a looong way to go in learning to follow Jesus well–as a mother.

The raw truth is that I never babysat before I got married, nor reached for other peoples’ babies.  I never envied my friends who stayed home with their kids all day, or CHOSE to homeschool them.  Then when our sweet little guy was born, I was in such shock that I barely left our apartment for three months and felt quite overwhelmed any time I had to do just about anything. When baby boy was three months old we moved our family in a big Uhaul across the country to base in my parents’ basement and save money to move to India.  This season back home has lasted for one year.  It has been an incredible year of learning and growing.  This season has been one in which Tyler and I both learned new skills and pitched in 150% in paperwork, graphic design, and strategizing for our family business.  Our family of three has learned to FLOW.  And it turns out, thanks to my life growing up overseas, I’m pretty good at pitching in and I’m pretty good at flowing.

Now we enter a different season:  now it’s me and Little Buddy all day long, every day.  Now he’s not three months old, and he doesn’t lay on a blanket and giggle at me.  He’s 16 months old and he climbs furniture and runs out the front door and explores the kitchen cabinets… and does NOTHING for longer than 12 minutes.  All day long, every day.

This is me being honest.  Aware that I have friends who wish they were married.  Or who wish they had a toddler to chase around the house.  Aware that I am so ridiculously blessed with this healthy, sweet, truly delightful, active little boy.  Also aware that I have dozens of friends in this very stage with SEVERAL little ones, who make it look simply… effortless.

There is part of me that struggles endlessly against the “restrictions” of hanging out with my toddler all day.  Then there is part of me that feels guilty about this. These parts of me war with one another, and I sit out on this warm sticky porch and I make myself do one of the things I believe in the most:  I get honest and I bring it to Jesus.  And this is what he says,

“This is your circus.  This is your monkey.  This is what I’ve given you to do today.”

I like to negotiate hours and details (and babysitters?) with God.  But right now I know He’s not up for it.  He’s asking me in THIS season to surrender to Him.

If I can’t surrender and serve Jesus as a mom here, I won’t be able to do it anywhere.  The mommy role gets harder in India.


But whatever that’s going to look like, I’m glad I still have today.  For God to teach me to surrender, to trust Him, to take a big breath and look at what he’s given me today. The library, the grocery store, the neighborhood streets to walk on.  A cute little monkey in striped PJ’s, awake and raring to go.

So there’s today’s honest confessions from a thankful mommy.  I’m ready to embrace today and say “yes”… This is my circus.  This is my monkey.

What’s yours?

  • katey

    It’s unbelievable how much this ministered to me and convicted me in a way that was completely unexpected. My circus is the same thing…being that SAHM that I’m just not “cut out” to be while Matt is working his tail off support-raising. Only difference is, my monkey is a three-year-old, potty-training wild child and I’m seven months pregnant…in the blazing heat of Houston. And today especially, not only am I absolutely physically worn out and exhausted, but my emotions are particularly raw and I want so desperately to whine and complain and play the part of the victim that no one else could possibly understand. But then I read this and I’m oddly encouraged (and overwhelmingly grateful) for the work the Lord has set in front of me. May His strength and grace be with us both in this season as we learn to be the best mother to our monkeys . And may the nap-times be loooooooooong. 🙂


  • Sara Jordan

    Well said. I’m currently having a break from my middle monkeys, but can’t help to think and plan for them. I taught 7th grade art this year and will teach mainly 8th and a couple of 7th art classes next year. Your words will stick with me when I think about my circus.


    • Wellspring Post author

      Sara, he has absolutely given you such unique influence and opportunities. Praying you can see him miraculously through you, at work, every day this coming year. In the meantime allow your mind and heart to rest and soak in what He teaches you. You have a beautiful heart!


  • Amber Diershaw

    Oh friend- this is truly beautiful, thanks so much for sharing so honestly! I’ve had the privilege of having a mini sabbatical these last few weeks and The Lord has been speaking to me so clearly about saying YES to Him wholeheartedly with joy in the circus He’s called me to. Learning to trust Him entirely, even through my longings. Love you


    • Wellspring Post author

      “learning to trust him entirely, even through my longings”. That is so beautifully worded. Thank you for your open heart and thankful with you for a mini sabbatical… I’m sure it was much needed!


  • Molly Rumfield

    I loved this and it was just what I needed today. I have my 8 month old monkey who is teething and pulling all nighters and rebelling from nap times as we move raise.. and prepare to move over seas.. I have been wiped and it is only the beginning. This was such a word for me this morning. I am refreshed. Thank you.


  • Jenny Connors

    Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing your heart and what God is teaching you in this crazy stage of life. There are so many mamas out there that battle these same feelings and struggles, and not that we wish it on others, but it is comforting to know we are not alone! Although different kind of circus for us (military life circus) we are in the exact same stage, and although I LOVE having my little man with me all day everyday, there are times I just want to eat my food without playing defense, or respond to an email without little hands adding extra characters for me. But this is the life and the circus God has called me to, and I would rather be in His will for my life, than following my own plans! We learned at XA to change the world from Huntsville, TX (or wherever God has planted us) but as moms we are changing the world one little person at a time!


  • Faith Robinson

    So beautiful! You give words to so many of my own questions and thoughts as I stumble through this new season of life. I read this yesterday and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. This is my circus. This is my monkey. Wow, Lord help me be faithful to what you have asked of me today! love to you three! 🙂


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