The Big Picture

It’s always been important to me to be a joyful wife and mother. There is just such negativity and such misrepresentation out there about what it means to be a Mother. For all the outpouring of sentiment on Mothers Day, I believe it’s not a role our society as a whole understands.  Without getting into an endlessly complicated topic, I’ll just say I’ve felt passionate about fighting the anti child, anti family vibe around me.
I think I’ve succeeded for much of my time as a mom. I also think for my almost decade long marriage I’ve remained joyful in regards to my marriage and have a marriage I’ve been happy for the world to see.
This past year though, I admit something has crept in, a weariness, a crabbiness, something generally icky descended upon my heart. Suddenly I find myself agreeing with the negative remarks towards raising kids. Where once I thought oh we will have at least 3 kids, now it’s like oh gosh can I make it to 3? Smug thoughts enter my mind when people who live care free child free lives get pregnant,  and I think ha kiss those vacations your always taking goodbye! Or some such thought. Up until a few months ago I swear I didn’t think those things.
It’s scary. It’s sinful and I feel surprised by it. Maybe I shouldn’t be? Our hearts, like a garden, need constant work pulling weeds and looking out for bugs and animals looking for a meal. I wasn’t on guard in this area of my heart, weeds have sprung up. Having a second child, combined with other challenges in my life, have unearthed some things in my heart I don’t like. I’m grateful the Lord made this a quick reveal, I don’t want to waste my days sinking into the selfish lies that seem to rule the day.
So what’s the answer? How to balance the fact that motherhood and marriage isn’t easy, with the fact that it’s also amazing and absolutely a blessing?
In these moments where the rubber meets the road, where you weary of doing good,where it seems hey maybe love just ain’t enough, what can you do?
I feel reminding myself of what I’m actually doing is important.  Instead of the phrase “raising children” I like to think “raising adults” just to remind myself that’s what I’m doing, I’m helping them become adults. And not in a sad “butterfly kisses” way,  I mean my job is to prepare them for being adults, for being men and women God can use for his glory (not that I can save them, I get that!). It’s easy to feel like our kids are for us to just enjoy, because let’s face it there is so much joy in raising them! There is so much magic in the journey. This is a blessing, but not an entitlement, not the reason for having kids.  We have partnered with our creator in bringing life into this world, and our kids aren’t really ours.  They aren’t possessions for our amusement,  fulfillment or vanity,  they are human beings with a story all their own. God gives us the desire to have kids, and it’s a good desire, but I think when we get caught up in the idea that we have kids because we wanted them,  because we always wanted to be a mom or we love kids etc etc and away from the idea that we have kids because God entrusted them to us and has a plan for their life we get to be a part of,  then in the times when it’s not fun or magical we get disappointed and whiny.
Same goes for marriage,  oy perhaps even more so. That happily ever after that’s so embedded in our little girl brains is not what marriage is for. When it’s not easy, well, the divorce rate speaks for itself….
When I remind myself of the wonder and magic of God’s plans for me, his grand design for parenting, the great work he does in marriage,  then I get less grouchy and bitter, and much more grateful.