I LOVE being Harrison's mom and I wouldn't want to change that for anything.
But after merely a year, I can see how easy it is to let my entire identity be defined by my role as a mother. Don't get me wrong, I am and always will consider being a mother one of the most significant roles of my life. However, I know that in time he will grow up, become an adult, and flee the coop. This is what we work for as parents right? We raise our children to become healthy and happy adults who can make it through all of life's ups and downs. But if my identity is solely wrapped up in motherhood, who will I be at the end of this road when my role as mother is no longer the primary focus of my time and energy?
Somewhere between bringing Harrison into the world, and celebrating his first birthday I've lost sight of the importance of finding my identity in Christ. Following Jesus by spending time in prayer, Scripture, and community has taken a back seat in my daily life. I've let fatigue, busyness, and a host of other excuses get in the way. In the process my focus has shifted. Rather than seeking Christ and what He has done (and continually does) in my life, I have been far too concerned with myself. The more I focus on myself, the less I focus on Jesus, and the more discontent I become.
The problem is that I have lost sight of the fact that I live a wonderful life full of blessings. It is certainly not a perfect life, but it is a life full of gifts. I am married to a man who loves me, loves our son, and works very hard. I have a job, when many in our society would do anything to have one. Not only do I have a job, it is one that matters and brings me a sense of fulfillment and productivity. I have a family that has shown my little family of three more support during our son's first year of life than I could have ever asked for. My son is very healthy overall (aside from the occasional cold) and a source of constant joy and laughter. He is so sweet natured and reminds me to enjoy the small moments in my life that might otherwise pass by unnoticed (climbing the stairs giggling, or knocking down lego towers for example). I have friends in my life who love me, despite my failings and inadequacies. Josh, Harry and I live in a comfortable home, one that we can grow into and enjoy for years to come. Blessed, I tell you!
All of these blessings should be a cause of thanksgiving in my heart...not a source of discontentment. Sure, I haven't gotten enough sleep in the past few months (thanks to colds, ear infections and teething). Being a full-time teacher and full-time mom is overwhelming at times, to say the least. Not to mention the fact that I cannot seem to keep up with many of the friendships that I used to maintain now that I am stretched thin between work and parenthood. Nurturing a marriage that is based on a friendship is also proving to be a challenging task. The multitude of tasks that come along with being homeowners and parents often take over, and the days run into weeks...into months...and life just never slows down.
Back to Jesus.
Without my eyes on Jesus, I have allowed myself to find things to complain about. Not to anyone in particular (aside from my husband, I'm sorry babe) but mostly just to myself. My thoughts have turned to "if only ____________" and "I wish ____________, then I'd be completely satisfied". The grass always seems greener, and yet it never is. I know this is a lie, to believe that if things were exactly as I wished for them to be, that I'd be truly happy. And yet I continue buying into it. Living in this state of mind only breeds more discontentment, a vicious and never-ending cycle that simply kills the joy that God intended for
me us to experience.
I used to spend a few quiet moments each morning journaling out my prayers and filling my head and heart with the Truth of God's Word. Now my mornings go by so quickly. It's all I can do to get myself and Harry ready and out the door. I literally feel like I am going, going, going...from the time my alarm goes off in the morning until Harrison is sleeping again in his crib at night.
This weekend I've decided that enough is enough. I need an attitude adjustment, a change of heart. I have to admit, this is something I've said a few times since the beginning of 2013. But this time, I'm talking about a change that I cannot muster up myself. Only Christ can make this change happen in my heart and life. I may not have time in the mornings before I leave for work, but I can pray and listen to worship music on my commute. I may not be a night person, but during this season I can use the quiet time after Harry is asleep to spend time journaling and praying through the things that have been weighing heavy on my heart. Rather than fill my precious free moments with Netflix or Facebook, I can make quality time with Jesus a priority. Instead of feeling frustrated with all the things that aren't going "my way" in my day-to-day life I want (and desperately NEED) to take these issues up with God. I may feel "in control" much of the time but the truth is that I am not in control of anything. Not my marriage, my son, my future...none of it.
I believe that God is in control though; He is in control and He is good.
Even when I feel like He hasn't answered my prayer(s) in the way that I want Him to...I am realizing (for probably the 100th time in my life...and I'm sure it won't be the last time either) that Jesus knows what is best for me. His plans are far better than mine could ever be, and the fact that He desires to change my heart to align with His perfect will is mind-boggling to me. He has been working on me lately, and I've been resisting it. I have been going to distractions to drown out His persistent voice.
Sometimes just going through the motions of life, putting on a smile and pretending that everything is going swell seems like the easiest thing to do. But I know that actually living out my faith in relationship with Christ is better. It means I've got to face my selfish heart and repent from sin, none of which is comfortable. But if I want to make it through this life, and really grow more Christ-like in the end, I need to refocus on the only one who can truly satisfy me and give me a lasting identity...and that is Jesus.
Last night I opened up a fresh journal, opened up my Bible and a Beth Moore book I bought recently on my kindle ("Praying God's Word"). Here are a few of the verses that I found that really inspired the thoughts I've shared today:
I have have believed in Christ for a long time, but I need to actually believe what He says, and believe that He is who the Bible says He is. If I really believe that He is the way, the truth and the life...I will live differently. And while I can't muster up the change that I desire on my own, I am encouraged by Scripture that as a believer I am given the very power that raised Jesus from the grave.
I could go on, but I've already rambled long enough. I plan on sharing my journey more on my blog this year as I seek the Lord in the coming weeks and months.
Thanks for reading!