New Sherpa slippers, feet propped up, sitting in the old blue chair—the “reading nook” I recently set up in our basement bedroom. Each little branch outside is covered in ice, melting and making dripping sounds on the windowsill. The winter storm kept us from leaving town for the weekend, so we have an unexpected restful day to stay cozy. Little man is taking an afternoon nap. After reheating my coffee eight times today, this is the first chance I’ve gotten to sit down and drink it.
I thought I was busy before we had a child. I had no idea! Now I try to think of what I did with all that time.
I recently read a blog that quite possibly changed the trajectory of my future as a mom. It’s by Shauna Niequist, called “What My Mother Taught Me”. Shauna’s mother encouraged her to find ways to pursue her God-given passion and purpose, no matter what season. She writes that women—and therefore their husbands, children, and community—are better off when they hold onto their passions and use them to touch others in every season. Even when it is inconvenient, when it is challenging to arrange and to manage, our children need to see us making space in our lives for these passions, even for just a few hours a week.
As a mother to an energetic, gets-into-everything 10-month-old, I can hardly look away for 30 seconds before he’s emptied the container of every last baby wipe, or put a deadly piece of jewelry in his mouth. And I do not resent this or wish it away. I dreamed of this baby boy for years before I met him. I carried him within me for 10 months, and by God’s grace pushed him into the world. His every grunt sends me flying out of bed, and his giggles make me smile from head to toe. He’s made his daddy and me into two brand new people that we never thought we could be. Some days I am my biggest disappointment as “Mama”, and other days I am my biggest hero. We want our family to be our first priority, and we want Little Man to know how important he is to us.
But as I read the blog as well as “The Jesus-Hearted Woman”, I felt challenged to ask myself what gives me life and joy. Many things came to mind. Serving chai in my home, bringing healing to deadened girls through dance, reading, traveling to new places. But besides my two biggest focuses in life—my family and getting to India—my biggest desire is to write. I spend an hour with a cup of coffee, a window seat and my journal, and I’m breathing deeper, thinking longer, smiling bigger. I write a blog and I turn into my five-year-old self, finding Mom and asking, “Did you see what I wrote?!” Writing brings me joy. It clears my head. It makes sense of my world and my God. It connects me to others who resonate with the thoughts I’ve shared.
I have watched beautiful wives and mothers in hard places and miss all the beauty and the sorrow and the craziness of seeing transformation come in a different culture because they believed that caring for their children was their only purpose.
It is the greatest purpose. But I don’t think it has to be the only one.
I am so blessed by a husband that wants me involved. Involved at home, at play, at work. Involved in the world that needs hope. I’m thankful that Tyler helps juggle, find creative solutions, and thinks outside the box so that I can write, create, contribute.
When Tyler encourages me to write, I am humbled and challenged and think, “I don’t have anything to say…”
“Well… maybe I have this one thing to say…”
And as soon as that thing is written, even as I’m writing, there is more.
When we pour out what we’ve been given there is more.
When we store it up to preserve what we have—the ideas, the beauty, the creativity—it dries up, and there’s nothing left to share.
Stinginess breeds lack.
Generosity breeds abundance.
Such a challenge to me. The challenge to try and to give without reserve. A challenge to trust.
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do… I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” (Mal 3:10)
Similarly, what would happen if we brought our creativity and passions to God? Ready to pour out without reserve? I imagine He would return that creativity and passion to us in His God-sized way—to overflowing.
Two nights ago I weaned my Little Man. It was time. But as he happily took the bottle and drifted off to sleep in his daddy’s arms, I couldn’t help but feel emotional. I felt sad that my baby is growing up. That he doesn’t need me in the same way anymore. That we won’t have to have those quiet moments in the dark each evening in whatever city we’re staying in, when he snuggles in and drifts off as I sing him to sleep. 20 quiet minutes together—sometimes his only quiet minutes in the day. I’m grateful for this precious season I’ve had with him. A season of snuggles, gurgles, lots of diapers, and lots of naps that has soundly come to a close.
God give me grace as I embrace each new change. Grace to embrace His purposes, as pursuing the passions He’s given looks different with each new change.
Little Man now stands at the rail of his crib calling out for me to come.
Grateful for one sweet hour in my reading nook. My head is clear and my heart is full.