I have fought really hard not to do this. The simple fact is I don’t want to write a blog or anything like that. I am shockingly annoyed by people living their lives via social media and have begged for any other way to communicate the things I’m learning. Actually, screaming on a street corner sounds better. Maybe I could just type some stuff up and throw it out my window as I screech out of the Starbucks parking lot? But, here I am. Because I can’t fight God on this anymore.
This past fall, I sat in my kitchen at 5:30 in the morning on a Wednesday and told God that I would do whatever He told me to do. After many years of fighting against his guidance I promised that I would no longer live my life for myself. What’s worse is that I totally meant it. Seemed easier that day, fueled by coffee and quiet time. I was thinking He was going to tell me to volunteer more and I was super pumped.
“Help more with DSS!” Yes God, thanks! What an opportunity! “Do a better job serving your family with grace and joy!” Yep, thanks for the word God. “Write what I’m teaching you to your girls (shout out to my Well-Watered Women) and share it with your friends!” Absolutely…what a gift true friends are, thanks God!
And yet, none of those commands settled the stirring. He kept pushing me, whispering to my heart there was more He wanted me to do. My thoughts? Um God, I have 3 kids and a full time job…so thanks so much for opportunity, but I’m going to have to say no. Followed by, hold on God, Elise is climbing on the dining room table.
And so I said no, because clearly I must be hearing things wrong. Bolstered by my selfish opinion that I was trying really hard and comforted by my busy schedule I said no to God in November. I said no because the bottom line is that I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS. I don’t want to be accountable to this standard; I don’t want strangers to know me; I don’t want to have another thing on my list, I don’t want to be judged, I don’t want people to think I’m looking for their approval; I don’t want to sound like a know-it-all when so much of my life feels like we are barely holding it together. So since November I have felt like things were off and harder and I just couldn’t put my finger on why. I kept feeling that tug and kept telling God HE HAD IT ALL WRONG. All the things that brought me joy weren’t enjoyable anymore. My kids felt whinier, my husband felt more annoying (love you boo), the responsibilities of my life felt harder.
Flash forward about a month and a half to this past Sunday morning.
I sat in my church and listened to our pastor talk directly to me. I even asked my husband if the man had actually said my name in the service. The service was all about using your spiritual gifts and what I heard clearly was that we all have a role and gifts to bring to the world. I know that, obviously but, like a freight train it hit me. I am required to speak out and not be afraid. I am supposed to live as a new creature, not being tied to my old ways. I am supposed to share myself in hopes maybe one person who is struggling the same ways that I am and have will know they aren’t alone. Honestly, as much as I try, the forgiveness and grace of my Jesus is hard for me to let penetrate my thought process.
You see, I am a person who has made a lot of mistakes in my life. I have been selfish and unkind and judgmental and downright mean. I am ungrateful, prideful, and lazy at times. Part of what has paralyzed me is so many people know me to be different than I am now. The simple fact is I am a changed being. I am changed because Jesus changed me. I am required to live out this change and not hide because I’m scared that I will not measure up. In this process, Christ has enlivened my soul in a way I didn’t think I would ever feel. He has given me a new passion in the midst of the beautiful chaos of my life. A passion that has led me to the internet and to you reading this today.
So what is this all about? Well, my passion is encouraging moms. Why you ask? Because moms are everything. We may not be the Biblical leaders of our houses but we are the heart and soul. We control the mood and temperament in our houses and are the ones most directly responsible for forming our kids. We are the emotional support for our babies and the ones most likely to give until we have nothing left. Dads are super important, don’t get me wrong, but this isn’t for dads…you’ll have to find another wildly entertaining read.
Moms, we are overworked, spread thin, and exhausted. The to do lists get longer, the demands get whinier, and we are pressured to meet all expectations with a full face of makeup and size 2 waistline. Despite working our hardest, there are very few days when we go to sleep feeling like we’re killing it. Is there any other job where you work as hard and still feel like you’re not getting it right? We love our kids deep and hard, but honestly when was the last time one of your friends said, “Girl, I just wanted to tell you that today I was such a good mom. Really nailing it with my 3 year old.”?
It doesn’t happen! It doesn’t happen because we constantly doubt ourselves and our capacity to raise our kids. Yet, being a mom is the most beautiful gift of my life. I just wrote my baby’s dedication letter (Sidenote: she’s 2 but number 3 so we’re just happy we put shoes on her today) and my final words to her were:
“Many years from now, when you are off changing the world, we will find that our happiest days were spent playing with you and your sisters in our small home.”
And guess what? As much as I love my husband and I’m super pumped about retiring and having no responsibilities, there is nothing like the good days of being a mom. Those days when you feel your baby fall asleep in your arms, when everyone in your house is playing Barbies and you hear all three of them giggle and snort unexpectedly, when you read to them and they replace their fighting with laughing, when you hear one of them sound exactly like you when they are playing with friends, when they tell you that the best thing they got for Christmas was time with their mom. It’s everything people. It’s the best and the worst and it stretches and changes you. One day we will look back and know our lives were much better than we ever knew, that the doubt sound track we played in our heads was all lies, and the days when toddlers needed so much from us were the best of our lives.
My goal here is to encourage moms to find joy in their motherhood and maybe you won’t have to wait until one day far away to see beauty in the monotony of daily life with your children. I plan to write when God leads me, give you guys some ideas to spend meaningful time with your kids, remind you that you are a good mom even when all three of your kids freaked out in Publix (speaking about a friend), and make some items to make time with your kids easier and more consistent. My hope is I can think through activities so you don’t have to and that you get more moments of feeling like a really good mom.
But honestly, it all boils down to the fact that I’m too tired to fight God anymore. So with that lovely introduction here I am.