Motherhood; Costly But Strategic: Five Minute Friday

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photo courtesy of Twinkle Photo

I was recently able to share with my MOPS group some of my thoughts on motherhood and my inspiration came from a strange source; the story Biblical story of Abraham burying his wife. Surely, not an obvious connection.

But the part that spoke to me most was when Abraham insisted on paying full price for his wife Sarah’s tomb, before knew what that price was. This, to me, is a picture of motherhood. Some of us dreamed and planned for years before becoming mothers. For others it was a surprise and perhaps not an entirely welcome one. Yet none of us could be prepared for what becoming mothers would cost us. Motherhood is expensive not just financially but in terms of time, energy and often dignity

For me, it meant difficult pregnancies and deliveries. When I choose to stay at home that meant, culturally speaking, I lost my individual identity. Without a product to provide or a quantifiable service, or drawing a paycheck; I suddenly became ill defined. I was “just” a mom. Forever more I will be recognized, at least in part if not in whole, as a parent rather than a person with goals, dreams and aspirations of my own.

I had no idea all that being a mom would cost me and yet I agreed to it gladly and I would do it again (at least most days). But I am also working through the process of recognizing how my motherhood is a tool for my growth rather than a barrier to my development.

Another detail I love from Abraham’s story is that he buried his wife facing the land of the promise, the land where his descendants would thrive and become a great nation. He made a strategic choice, looking to the future. I believe parenthood is a strategic thing as well. Some of it is our own strategy, to carry on our values, culture and genetic material. But I believe that much of it is an act of God.

 

The Bible says God places us into families and I firmly believe that our children are part of God’s strategy. No matter how our families are formed, whether through birth, adoption, blending with remarriage or otherwise; it is part of God’s deliberate plan. Our children are not ours by accident. But rather with great intention, both for us and for them.

On those days when I feel most ill equipped, I try to remember that as hopeless as I feel at this job, I was intended to be their mother. That as the Lord Almighty was numbering my days, he saw fit to give me these children. Which means he will also provide me the strength I need to bring them up and help them to become who they are supposed to be.  They are also part of my own redemptive process as I am molded and shaped into the person I am supposed to be. Because I am never “just a mom” but being a mother can be a crucial asset for growth in all the other parts of me and reaffirm to me who I am.

(Full disclosure: I was on a roll today and wrote for longer than five minutes. I hope you enjoyed it anyway).

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Raising My Olive Branches: Five Minute Friday

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Photo Credit: Furumaru via Compfight cc

Today’s writing prompt is Bloom.

He’s using sentences now. After a year of halting inarticulate words and lots of pointing and screaming he is finally communicating. We still struggle at times and he falls back onto “dat” and “I dant it, mine!” She has finally begun to learn to enjoy her brother’s company. After last week’s insanity of packing and traveling, we’ve settled into a more normal routine and she seems happier. There are good natured screaming contests and fun loving scuffles instead of hourly brawls. I occasionally catch them playing nice together and I stop to watch.

There are still plenty of difficult days and I’m trying to enjoy these peaceful moments without worrying about the chaos that I know will eventually come. I don’t know for sure who is doing the blooming, them or me. Is it that they are developing and coming into their own as they grow up? Or is it me as I settle into my role as mom? After five years of motherhood I doubt myself more than even, yet I feel like I’m beginning to reach a place of peace. Acceptance of all that I cannot be, and prayer to help me to grow.

They use pots, pans and a cake carrier to reflect light and patterns onto the ceiling of our kitchen. They don’t notice that the pots are beat up and out of date nor that the old drop ceiling. The fact that the kitchen is small and cluttered doesn’t occur to them.  All they need is this sunny spot. When did my needs become so complicated that I can’t enjoy these simple joys. A sunny day, a morning spent in a cozy kitchen. We need to do more blooming around here and less growing up.

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Photo Credit: Mukumbura via Compfight cc

Want to join us? Read more about Five Minute Friday here.

 

Red: Five Minute Friday

My mother’s favorite color is red. Since my earliest memories if I imagine her, that’s almost always what she is wearing. We laugh at her expense about how she will pick out a new outfit and it’s almost always red. “Oh, yeah because you need another red shirt,” my sister and I joke and roll our eyes. My mother is a quiet person, an introverted person. She shares her thoughts only when she thinks they will add something to the conversation. I know she has more to say than is usually spoken aloud. I don’t hesitate to say that her strong opinions are both borderline legendary and at least partly genetic.

For someone who was willing to sacrifice her own ambitions to raise my sister and I, to be the busy wife of a hardworking engineer and now an overworked pastor, to be a church elder’s wife with all of the responsibilities and expectations that go with it. Maybe red really is her color after all. It identifies her as the go to person, pick her out in a crowd, if you don’t know who to go to, she’s it.

From caring for her aging mother, to mentoring young women through MOPS and being the on call babysitter for two daughters with soon to be four children between them, she doesn’t have much time for herself. So I’ll try to stop hassling her and just let her wear red. It’s her signature. Her way of saying, “I take care of those I love, but I am not subsumed. I know who I am and serve willingly. It augments my identity, it doesn’t define it nor suppress it.” Red is her color of sacrifice.