Some days I feel like a natural mother, like I am well-suited to this mammoth task, like a momma duck with her little ducks waddling in a neat little line behind me. But most days I feel more like a fish out of water. I am introverted, I love quiet and calm and reading and thinking. I often like ideas more than people. I like an ordered, methodical existence. I am not a great cook, nor am I in the least motivated to decorate or design. I will never have an Etsy shop because I have no marketable skills in the craft department.
And yet I find myself in this season of life a home-maker, a stay-at-home momma. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and yet many days out of each month, mothering feels like a stretch. It’s not all as sexy and cute as the Christmas cards and newsfeeds show. It’s a choice, a very regular choice, I make; a choice that is stretching to say the least. Oftentimes I feel crazy that this choice feels quite unnatural to me. I used to wonder why I didn’t have a stronger maternal instinct. I realize now that the choice to stay home and be with the little people God has entrusted to me may mean even more because it oftentimes feels less natural.
In her book Plan B, Anne Lamotte’ s honesty about her own experience of motherhood helped me feel less crazy. She writes, “Because moms get very mad and they also get bored. This is a closely guarded secret; the myth of maternal bliss is evidently so sacrosanct that we can’t even admit these feelings to ourselves.”
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate motherhood, and I do adore my children. I just find this the hardest thing I have ever done and the thing I am least fit and qualified to do. My children are great kids, but they are not always worth it. On the hard days, when the wheels come unglued and things fall apart around here, I choose this because I believe Jesus to be worthy.
In John 12:24, Jesus says something astounding to His followers. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
I like the way that sounds and reads like poetry. But if I am honest, in the day to day, I do not like how that feels. My hope and prayer, what I am hanging my life upon, is that in laying down my rights rather than claiming them, in seeking to give my life away, true life will be found, not only for me, but also for these little men of mine. That is, after all, the way of the Master.
A Grain of Wheat
I feel lonely in this house of mine, the walls seem to shrink by the day.
But I say to create a home for them, a place to grow, to rest, and to play.
Limitations need not define me, for none was as limited as you.
A grain of wheat, you fell to the ground; from your death, all of life grew.
So let me hold my grain loosely, let it fall in death to the ground.
And in these limiting choices, make greater and more life abound.