Some mornings I write because there is a burning passion in my soul to explain a perspective, share a heartbreak, rejoice in a moment. Then, there are other times I write, because my everything about my being – spirit, soul and body – is tired and needs to find its wings again.
This morning would be one of those latter mornings.
One of those mornings when my journal reads, “I’m drinking my coffee. But, I feel ridiculously empty. I’m poured out, and the dregs of my cup taste rather bitter inside. Right now, I feel like a failure in many areas.”
I recopy and re-pen these tell-tale words from my prayer journal not to ask for comfort. Not to ask for affirmation. Certainly not to ask for pity.
No, I write to build an honest foundation for your opinion of me. I write because you too may want to pen similar sentiments and need to let the guilt go. I write because my heart finds healing when my fingers search for words.
Now, nothing monumental happened between yesterday and today to cause this bone-weary feeling. Some days I am just brutally aware of my own weaknesses, of how much I MUST rely on strength not my own, and how easy it is for me to “go-it-alone” and fail.
I stay home with Abby. I go on adventures with Abby. I try to juggle childcare complexities when I’m working. I send emails when she is sleeping and text messages while I’m chasing her. I’m exhausted well before the sun goes down. Where does that leave prayer? Romance? Rest? The picture of my put-together, organized self?
Hard to come by, let me tell you. Nearly nonexistent many days. As Lisa Jo Baker quite eloquently writes in Surprised by Motherhood, “Becoming a mother is like breaking up with yourself.” I can’t argue with her there. Last night in the murmurings of my heart, the image of the driven, career-oriented, people-serving woman was a fleeting memory. That woman fled months ago in the wake of multiple nighttime feedings, infrequently washed/fixed hair, and a delightful toddler that fills my life with precious sticky hands, food stains, and unpredictable errand-running behavior.
Becoming a mother is like breaking up with yourself.
But, I’m thankful that this is not the end of my story. Nor is it the end of yours.
I am not defined by how many raspberries Abby has smashed into herself and her stuffed animal Bear. I am not defined by how many cups of coffee and tea I require on a daily basis to keep my calm. You are not defined by your accomplishments – or lack thereof – either. I am defined…you are defined…by GRACE. Acceptance. Beauty in chaos.
In Chapter 3 of The Best Yes book that I recently finished reading, author Lysa Terkeurst points out, “Never is a woman so fulfilled as when she chooses to underwhelm her schedule so she can let God overwhelm her soul.”
Stop. Me. In. My. Coffee-drinking. Tracks.
I can’t stop chasing Abby. Wouldn’t stop chasing her even if given the choice. To be perfectly honest, there are very few “big picture” things that I would change. Sure, there are small annoyances and inconveniences that correspond with the season of life and marriage that my husband and I are currently slogging through. But, I wouldn’t change who I was before Abby or who I am becoming to others as this new mother. I would simply request that the transition not be so bumpy. So painful. So bone-weary, tear-jerking, awkward and uncomfortable.
But, these are the mornings, Sweet Friends, when we turn to God’s grace and our community to overwhelm our souls. Perhaps, my to-do list today needs to be ignored a bit more, so that I am not a walking zombie. Perhaps yours does too. Perhaps, I need to make a few memories with Abby this morning before I worry about when I cleaned the bathroom last or when I’m going to pack for my early morning flight to Houston tomorrow. Perhaps you too need to make a few similar decisions to underwhelm your schedule to make room for a refreshed heart.
It’s okay. It’s gonna be okay. As we whisper to fretting toddlers, “Shhhh…mama’s here. You are okay…” Truly, with our Heavenly Father and in community, we are not alone. We are all messes in one way or another together. There’s grace for the lot of us.
And, yes, grace for me. Grace to soak into the cracked places of my soul and fill the gaps where I don’t measure up to my own lofty standards.
This morning, my prayer journal closes with these words, “I ask to be filled up. Washed clean. Empowered. Overflowing with the Holy Spirit. Prioritized. A success. A woman who is praised for her Heavenly Father’s love and joy.”