Even On Days Like These

Even on days like these

Some days I don’t want to be a mom.

Today is one of those days.

Every moment of motherhood feels like a strike against my selfishness, a blow to my pride, or just utter failure. Mixed in with all of that of course is great piling heaps of joy and abundant laughter. I could not have imagined how much better my life would be before I had them, and I’m very grateful for these two silly boys. But choosing to get up every day and be Abram and Emery’s mom is to choose to die to my flesh, and some days, I’m so sick of it and I just want to do what I want to do.

I want the day to go my way. I want to take off just for fun, and I’d really like to not be responsible for someone else’s well being.

But even more, the hardest part on days like these, is feeling so small and insignificant. Day in and day out, with the diapers and the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the spoiled laundry and the apologies for freaking out over jumping on the couch and the NEVER ENDING teething; it starts to feel like I contribute nothing to the world.

It’s a lie, I know. But in a culture that marvels at dream chasers and hustlers, I get to feeling worthless.

And on these days where my flesh burns hot and wants nothing more than to take over while I’m sobbing next to the crib because the baby won’t nap, and I’m still in my pajamas and I wish I could lose 30 pounds, I’m so glad I have a God to weep to.

There are meltdowns that only my Creator can comfort. I’m always surprised by days like this, and find myself angry for not being better, like HOW COULD I POSSIBLY BE FEELING THIS WAY FOR THE THOUSANDTH TIME… but He’s never surprised and I don’t think He’s angry at me either.

to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:22-24

This is what happens when I go to him instead of stew in my own muck. It usually looks like a disaster at first, a few words here and there through the sobs and snot. But once I get it all out enough to approach repentance and ask for help, I start to feel like I’m being given strength. My flesh starts to let up on the clench it’s had on my heart all day, and peace trickles into my mind.

Confessing to others is big, too. Sometimes it takes any shred of humility I can muster up to message my friends and tell them how I’m feeling and ask for prayer. But I always feel a little more sober-minded afterwards, which is one of the beauties of living in communion with other believers.

I know most of us wish putting off our old selves could be easier and look a lot more dignified, like some kind of formal ceremony. It’d be much better if someone could just knight me with a Bible and then I’m magically new. But that’s not what it looks like at all. It’s approaching Him, day in and day out, asking for the same help, over and over. It’s confessing to my people. It’s quiet, it’s repetative, and the reward isn’t instant perfection but the hope that maybe I won’t be such a selfish person all day long. 

God ALWAYS wants to be my father.

Even on days like these.

Letting Go and Holding On

Peace Makers“The peace-makers- those who are themselves of a peaceable temper, and endeavor to promote peace in others: who study to be quiet, and, as much as in them lieth, to live peaceably with all men: who are so far from sowing the seeds of discord between any of their fellow creatures, that they both studiously avoid contention themselves, and labour to extinguish it wherever it prevails, laying themselves out to heal the differences of brethren and neighbors, to reconcile contending parties, and to restore peace wherever it is broken, as well as to preserve it where it is…” Excerpt from Benson Commentary on Matthew 5:9

My pastor started a series this past Sunday called Blessed are the Peacemakers.

As he was preaching, I felt a mixture of both excitement and a sort of impending doom, HA. My flesh knows what’s coming.

It’s like finally sitting down in the long-awaited seat of a roller coaster, but the kind that’s like, WAY too high up. All of a sudden you’re buckled in; someone gives a tug on the bar to make sure you’re secure. You’re then thrust forward, slowly inching your way up to the terrifying top. Click, click…click, goes the notches, and there’s no turning back now. You’re not sure what’s really about to happen- you could have a ton of screaming fun, you could be petrified silent (that’s usually me), you could spew your lunch on all of the spectators, your phone could slip out of your pocket and go hurling towards the ground (that’s my brother, hehe), or worst case scenario, the ride could fail to remain intact and you could be flung into oblivion (I actually knew someone that that happened to, which is why you’ll never catch me on the Gravitron ever again). Either way, you’re fastened in tight, so the only thing left to do is to let go and hold on.

The conflict of letting go and holding on; to let go of your illusion of any control and to hold on to the one Who’s got the whole universe spinning in His will.

If I’m going to get through the hard things as a Christ follower, I HAVE to surrender. It’s my failings to do so that gets me stuck. And even my stuck-ness is in His grasp. I don’t hear something until I’m meant to hear it. Concepts doing turn into beliefs until the Holy Spirit reveals it to my heart. I can’t start to really live those beliefs out until I am sold on them, and even then, there’s a constant need to surrender so that walking away doesn’t become more attractive.

That description up there, the one about the peace-maker… I want to be that person. However, the amount of relenting required for that to become my reality… it just feels scary. The temptation to believe that God isn’t who He says he is; the lure to believe He indeed will fail me, leaving me to be flung into oblivion, is so strong a lot of the time. Even though He’s proven himself time and time again, I’m still so frustratingly bent. The rocks cry out, and so do I.

Dale talked about the importance of peace to God, and it got me thinking.

The measures God took to bridge the much deserved divide between Himself and I, it’s hard to fathom. To take a piece of Himself, the part He calls His Son, and allow His broken flesh and spilled blood to be the extension that reconciles me to Him and makes available a peace that transcends any kind of human mastery…

In light of that truth, I think I want peace to be important to me.

Blessed are the peace-makers, for they will be called children of God. 

Why, Though?

Why, Though?
I realized last week that I do not live intentionally. I know, I know- that familiar saying, “live intentionally” is very cliche and at this point, almost void of any meaning. But when I change it up a bit and ask myself, “Do I live with intention as I make my daily plans?” That invokes much more of a stir in my heart. And the truth is, I have been living most of my existence without really, truly knowing why I”m doing the things I do. I’m not referring to the part of my life that is in service to my church and community- I feel like it’s easy to remember why I’m doing what I’m doing when it comes to that, even when it’s hard or I don’t necessarily like it. But the daily ins-and-outs of “stay at home” motherhood, the monotonous, regular, ordinary moments that make up most of my week- well in that, the purpose has been unclear and the intention lost.
I think this last very challenging season that I feel as though I’m coming out of has started helping me see that there shouldn’t be any difference between my purpose in church and community life and every other part of my life. Last year I would have said that I already knew that, and arguably, there was at least a head knowledge of it. But it’s clear to me now that it wasn’t a principle that my life was marked by. Faith and it’s purpose should travel across the plane. And if my purpose is clear- to love God and worship Him by advancing His kingdom and enjoying/being content with the plan He has for my life- then intentionality seems much more reasonable.
Last week I started to ask myself why I feel like I need to obtain and accomplish certain things; why I put so much thought and stress into them. It was very eye opening. I couldn’t answer myself when confronted with the question, “why, though?”
Why do you want that extra money so badly? So that I can build a patio deck in the backyard.
Why do you want that patio? Well… then I’ll be happier?
Really Megan, you’ll be happier? I… think… so? I mean, I’ll get to sit on it and enjoy being outside. And we can have people over for cook outs.
Can’t you just take a chair out there, or better yet, sit on the grass, and enjoy being outside? Why is marveling at creation contingent upon making that experience more comfortable? Why would engaging in fellowship ever be put on hold over the arrangement of trivial backyard space? ….I… umm…
Megan, of what eternal value does that patio hold? ….
 
A week later, as I am typing that line of questioning with myself, I tear up a little. Such precious moments lost trying toiling with no understanding of why I’m even toiling.
Living unintentionally has proven to be chaotic, disorganized and ultimately unsatisfying. I feel myself continuously being nudged towards the edge of not wanting to live that way anymore. It’s such a gross waste of our most out-of-our-control resource- time.
Last year I wrote a blog post about the bravery in being content. I want to confess that while I believe that what I wrote is true, I don’t think it was necessarily true of my life. In all honesty, I thought I was content and living with intention, but I think that was also because life happened to be fairly easy at that time. I see how the last 7 1/2 months partly existed to show me that I wasn’t really subscribing to what I was saying I believe. But what a beautiful, gracious God I serve, that He would love me enough to expose me for the fraud I can be and then allow me to get low enough to experience the truth and the consequential freedom it brings.
Purpose, intention, and contentment are tethered to each other, and this year has felt like a journey in finding out how that is so and what that looks like. It’s a hard journey, but so far it’s proving one worth being taken by.