This summer has been really, really sweet. And it would be easy to write about what my family has been up to, but somehow, it’s harder to write about how I think and feel…it requires reflection and honesty and time.
But it’s good for me to make that space and time for myself to reflect, so that’s what the next few posts are going to be about—how I am, and what I’ve been thinking about and feeling lately.
Riley turned one a few weeks ago, which means it’s been one year since my “mom of two” journey began. Man, what a humbling year. The fatigue. The constant feelings of inadequacy. The never-ending needs. Laying myself down, over and over again. Getting up morning after morning and praying for strength I knew I didn’t possess. Messing up. Getting it right. Messing up again. Taking help. Thanking God for help. Wishing I didn’t need help. Enjoying the gift of my girls. Resenting the burden of my caring for my girls. Loving one moment. Wishing the next moment would end. I never felt one emotion for long.
As we approached Riley’s birthday, I started to realize that even though I had spent an entire year feeling inadequate and over my head, everyone was still alive and doing well one year later. I had made it. And that somehow, despite how hard it was, I was better than I was a year ago. This year showed me many places where I am weak and need to grow—but along the way, I did grow, and that is something to celebrate.
I’m not the same person I was a year ago. I am definitely more run down, which is a negative (I’ll talk about that in my next post). But I’m also more focused, more intentional with my time and friendships, less concerned with outcomes and more patient with process, and less affected by worry and anxiety. One year later, I’m more at peace with myself and my calling, even if I struggle with the implementation of that calling sometimes when the toddler moments strike and the baby needs me and the dog is barking and a client is calling wanting to talk for the eleventh time about the timeline of a grant proposal I turned in last week.
I have dreams of doing “big,” cool things for God’s kingdom someday—writing a book, doing some speaking, sharing some wisdom. But I have to get wisdom first, and I feel challenged and encouraged that what I am doing every day in this stage of my life is the way to develop that.
I’m not a natural mom to two babies this close together. It’s not easy for me, and the multitasking and casualness it requires is not the best fit for my personality.
But I’ve hung in there anyway because I want to be refined. I want to do the hard work. I want to dig in every single day with all that I have and serve and love those around me, even when it’s not natural. I want to pursue wisdom and learn how the Lord wants me to live, and 99% of my days, I feel like I am actually doing that. If I never get to do those “bigger” things, I’ll still be glad with how I spent my time and energy—on the biggest things there are—and I will still have lived a “big” life that I can be proud of.
I am more concerned with developing right character than a big calling. And this year offered lots of opportunities to build character.
My exercise instructor said recently as the class struggled through an exercise, “if you’re shaking, that means you’re working. If you’re shaking, you’re changing.” I love this thought—that just because something is HARD doesn’t mean I’m doing it wrong, or that it isn’t getting me somewhere. How naturally hard or easy something is isn’t really important. What’s important is how I respond to the challenge: whether I keep trying and grow, or take the easy way out and stay the same.
Each August on our anniversary, David and I reflect on and write down our highlights of the year in a special journal. This year, we wrote: WE SURVIVED.
We’re definitely not the same people that we were a year ago, and I am grateful for the growth. But I am personally ready to move beyond subsistence. Maybe 🙂
More in my next post!