Every Mother’s Day weekend, I get a little weepy about the amazing blessing of being a mom. I’m beginning to realize that the hard work might not ever go away and that there might always be parts of my day as a mom that are mundane and duty-driven instead of fun, but still, my overwhelming feeling is that being a mom is a a get-to, not a have-to—and that being a mother is one of the most amazing journeys I’ve ever been on.
Here’s one example.
A few nights ago, Riley began wailing around 1 am. I rolled over, looked at the time, and foggily prayed, “Holy Spirit, comfort her and help her go to sleep.” Immediately, I felt a rush of energy and heard inside myself, get up. She needs your comfort to fall asleep. The voice reminded me that she had rejected her 6 pm bottle after eating a minimal dinner, and instructed me, She’s hungry. Go feed her. Then she’ll fall asleep.
I made a bottle, walked into her room, and was greeted with delighted baby sounds as I picked her up, changed her diaper, and sat down to rock and feed her. She guzzled the bottle, then lay in my arms as she cooed her baby words of thanks and gratitude.
I couldn’t put her right back to bed. The moment was too sweet.
And as I sat there rocking her, I was struck with this realization: I had asked the Holy Spirit to put her to sleep, meaning do it for me so I can keep lying here. I’m so tired.
But the Holy Spirit wants something better for me then a good night’s sleep.
The Holy Spirit hears every prayer I pray.
The prayers for the ability to lay myself down and serve my children with humility, sacrificial love, and willingness.
The prayers for parenting wisdom.
For me to know how to meet and serve my husband’s needs.
For insight into my children’s needs.
For growth and maturity in my faith.
For the ability to find joy and purpose in even the mundane moments of life.
To help me submit to God’s plans for my moments, days, and life.
The Holy Spirit weaves all of these prayers together with the needs and prayers of others, and then gives me opportunities to live out what I asked for—to have that insight and wisdom, to sacrifice, to show love, to submit to God’s plan for my 1 am (and 5:40 am, and…)
I can choose to roll over and ignore the opportunity, making my prayers meaningless and my growth non-existent. Or I can choose to embrace the opportunity, and be given abilities and insight and wisdom beyond my own. (Not to mention that my actions can also be used in ways I don’t even understand by God! Who knows what He does on a cosmic level with my daughters’ sense of self when they realize “I call and someone answers,” “I don’t understand my own emotions but my mommy can help me,” or “I can be forgiven even when I had a morning full of bad choices.”)
Gloria Furman writes that motherhood is full of “calls to worship,” adding “if we have ears to hear these invitations, then we have opportunities to worship the Lord, who is nearer to us than we often realize.”
I would add that the “calls to worship” of motherhood have opened my eyes to the inadequacy of self-sufficiency…and my ears to the One who says, “let me help you.”
Yes, motherhood is full of challenges. But i do not want an easy life.
I want a meaningful life—a life of growth and adventure, passion and purpose, joy and peace, maturity and authenticity, love and humility. These do not spring up overnight or through exclusive pursuit of my own self-interest; they are cultivated over time through joyful surrender to the processes and paths that the Lord desires for me.
C.S. Lewis writes, “We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the ‘intolerable compliment.’ Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be.
But over the great picture of his life—the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child—he will take endless trouble—and would doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.” (The Problem of Pain)
Admittedly, as I was writing this post this afternoon, Riley woke up from her nap earlier than expected and I said in my nicest voice to her sweet nine-month-old face, “I guess you kids just don’t want me to have any hobbies or complete a thought ever again!!” As my embarrassing sarcasm reveals, it is so hard to surrender all the time (it’s even hard when you’re writing a blog post about why surrendering is ultimately good!)
But I put the laptop away and tickled her and played with her anyway.
Because I choose to respond to the call to worship.
Because that is the kind of person God is making me to be.
Because every “interruption” is actually part of the best get-to of my life.