I bought Raviolis because I was tired and it seemed easy. All kids love Raviolis, right?
Apparently, not mine.
The three-year old flat out refused.
I got mad when she wouldn’t try a real bite. I told her, “you are going to eat this bite or you’re not eating!”
She cried, and took the bite. Then she said she didn’t like it, and I told her she could have bread.
Then I gave in and made her something else. And she got strawberry milk.
I asked the other two if they liked their lunch. They were all, “yes mama, I like it.”
I realized I probably scared them out of not liking it when I spoke so harshly to their sister.
“It’s okay if you don’t like it, just tell me and I won’t buy it again.”
My son says, “well, I don’t like it.”
My other daughter, the oldest says, “I love it. I just love it!”
So I’m in the kitchen and I’m fixing my own lunch and I hear crying. I look over to the table and my sweet Ella, the one who “loves” the Raviolis, has her head down and she can’t stop the tears.
“What’s wrong, honey?”
“I want to like the food because you bought it and it makes you happy if I like it.“
“Ella, I am so sorry. You don’t have to like it, you can’t help what you like and don’t like. And you are not responsible for making me happy – look at me – it is not your job to make me happy. Will you forgive me for putting you in a place that made you feel like you had to make me happy? I shouldn’t have been harsh with your sister. I want you to be who God made you to be, and it’s okay to not like things I like. You be you! Do you understand? You make me happy just because you’re mine.”
Her lips go from quivering to smiling.
“I give you permission to not make me happy. You are free to like or not like what you want. I love you all the same.”
The smile expands.
I pour her some cereal, and the day goes on.
And now I understand how the Father loves so well.
I don’t have to please Him, I already do, just because I’m His.
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I love moms.
I have a profound respect for the fact that motherhood is one of the hardest gigs in the world, when we choose to invest in it. The day in and day out of taking care of little ones can be especially intense, exhausting, lonely, confusing, stressful, and mind-numbing. There are days when mothers just need a bed to curl up in and hide under the covers to regain some semblance of composure. Or to just get a break.
To engage in motherhood, one must constantly be putting her own needs aside in order to take care of her children. It is very, very difficult to put the needs of your children above your own. I’m not talking theory here. Of course we moms want to put our children’s needs above our own, and we mostly do, but the reality is, it’s dang hard. You mamas know what I’m talking about.
And many of us struggle with the fear that we’re not doing enough. We worry that other moms are doing “it” better, and we think of all the times we are impatient, or could teach scripture more, or could…
The fact that most of us think this way tells me that we are good mothers. We do care for our babies, and we want the best for them. We give them over to God and we pray that He fills the gaps where we mess up. We keep on going; we persevere because we love our children.
But the truth is, some of us have lost our way.
We are have lost our way in the area of investing, intentionally, in our children.
I’m talking the mamas who are spending too much time online or in other ventures.
It all started out so innocent. Just a little bit here and a little bit there. And time moved a little faster, and the days weren’t so long…weren’t so hard. We found community and acknowledgement, and maybe some money or fame. And it felt good…it still does.
Part escape, part investing in our own need to do something other than what filled our mundane days.
But eventually we felt it, somewhere in our soul. We felt that maybe were spending a little to much time online or in outside projects. Maybe we started filling our plates with more than what was good for us. A different kind of gluttony.
It seemed so good, and maybe God was opening doors and giving gifts. Maybe He was. But there was that small ache in our bellies. Something was off.
Something is off.
Do you feel it? Do you feel the ache? Are you really living the life you want? Are you really living intentionally and investing in your children intentionally, or are your days passing in a blur?
Are you living fully alive?
Do you even know what it means to live fully?
There are areas in my life that I’ve been failing in, failing my children in.
I haven’t been as intentional with them as is best for their souls, their minds, their persons. I’ve been too busy. Too burdened, too excited about opportunities. How easy to get sidetracked, to say “yes”.
But these little chicks in my care, I’m their only mama, and I’ve only got one shot at motherhood.
I have one shot at instilling in them the things I think are good and important and worthwhile. I have to be intentional. I have to be here, with them.
Day in and day out.
This isn’t about working moms or stay-at-home moms, this is about being faithful to investing in the souls in our care. Really investing.
Doing the hard work.
Doing the fun work.
And letting other things go for a season.
The season of the little years, the season of the tween years, the season of the teen years.
Yes, the season of our children being in our home. It’s a long one, for sure, but it’s also a short one.
We must be very careful with what we give our time to. Don’t believe the lie that the woman who looks like she is doing it “all” actually is. I promise you, something somewhere is failing.
God is good and kind and patient, and His grace is given so lavishly. So often He covers. But the truth remains that we reap what we sow. This is a wisdom principle. It it what it is.
What’s distracting you from giving yourself fully to intentionally, faithfully, daily investing in your children?
Is it worth it? Will it be worth it in 15 years when you look back? What is worth sacrificing this time with your children?
What are you going to do with it?
“Emerging is when you use a platform to come into your own. Merging is when you sacrifice who you are to become part of something else.” -Seth Godin, Merging/Emerging
I’ve been emerging lately, and you’ve been along for the ride.
This space has been a place where I stretch into the new creation God is weaving in me. It is a space where I don’t claim to have figured “it” out, but where I trust Jesus to lead me into a vulnerable place where I can process life and offer grace into the hearts of those who need it (’cause Lord knows I do, every minute of every day).
As I emerge, I recognize the temptation to merge…to sacrifice the nuances of my soul in order to appear put together or doctrinely on point. I am a flawed soul who loves and desperately needs Jesus. And I think needing Him and following Him are enough. It’s what I have…it’s myself (and He chose me!).
The rough edges in my soul are just a part of this gal’s journey towards her creator.
And you know, I really like the idiosyncrasy’s in a soul. I love when I catch a glimpse of why someone needs Jesus because it reminds me that we all are just tiny. We are small, but significant; messy, but beautiful.
Trust me, that woman that looks like she’s on top of her game, she isn’t. She needs Jesus.
And trust me, that woman who looks like she’s a mess, she is. She needs Jesus.
Don’t merge to be like anyone other than Jesus. Don’t sacrifice your tangled, beautiful, starving soul for anyone…but Jesus. He will make you more beautiful than anyone else ever could…He makes you perfect.
So be perfect, in Him, today. Be you.
I read this post this morning from Like a Warm Cup of Coffee (I wrote it about a year ago, I think) and it resonated with me still, so I thought I’d bring it here.
Photo: Used with Permission