In light of the overwhelming success of LuLa Roe and LuLu Lemon, I am seriously considering starting a company called LuLu Lumpy. Rather than seeking to hide the strange topography of a three-time postpartum body, LuLu Lumpy will embrace the strange changes and textures.
Three children change you, just ask my chest. Often I am tempted to look at my body and lament the contours resulting from child-bearing and rearing; however, the Lord quickly reminds me how three children have changed my life and my soul for the better.
Embracing the Mess
I used to be unable to sleep if there was a rogue dirty fork in the sink. Not only did everything have a place, but everything was always in its place. Such a controlled environment gave me the illusion of control and safety.
While I still love order and neatness, I am learning to linger a little longer in the mess before quickly restoring everything to order. I am now able to proudly leave a blanket fort in tact for days, walk with smile through the sports equipment that dots our front walkway and allow my children to “decorate” their shared bedroom in their strange style (which is as far from Pottery Barn kids as a Happy Meal is from a kale salad).
Don’t get me wrong, I reach my limit. When I do, I require everything to be returned to its proper place, sometimes calmly, sometimes semi-obsessively. That being said, I am beginning to see the messes as proof of real life. There will be a day when the pillows don’t leave the coach to become space ships or foam pits five times a day, but by then, I will miss these days.
Learning to endure and sometimes even enjoy physical messes translates to my relationships and my walk with God. Where I used to be quick to want to fix pain or problems by offering solutions, I am learning, ever-so-slowly, to let messes be messy. Conflicts with friends that used to completely undo me, while still challenging, are not paralyzing. While I used to try to quickly categorize, dissect and move past my own unkempt emotions, I am learning to sit in them and invite the Lord into the emotional mess that is me.
By nature, I love purpose, efficiency and task. I love making lists and checking things off a list. With my first child, I may or may not have been huddled in a corner having something like the DTs over the lack of efficiency and clear measurable benchmarks in parenting. By my second, I was loosening up a bit. By my third, I have fully embraced the fact that my tasks for the day will most assuredly include looking for Roly Polys, playing entirely too many games of Uno, and folding laundry. This is nothing short of miraculous.
Through parenting, the Lord has taught me to let someone else dictate my pace. While this means far less mileage and far more snail and squirrel pit stops, it has meant more life and peace for me. Slowing down to a pace that is healthy for children has taught me that joy often comes in the mundane more than in the mega.
Learning to lay down (sometimes gently, sometimes not-so-much) my own need for control and to let someone else set the pace translates. Motherhood has made me more sensitive to the Spirit’s pace. Slowing down gives space enough for His quiet nudges that I could not feel when I was moving at the speed of sound.
Learning to Be
More than leaving with a muffin top and a handful of gray hairs, my children have left me changed for the better. They have taught me that being is far more important than doing (though I have to re-learn this one daily). Their overwhelming need to simply be with me, quirks and all, has given me a picture of how the Lord longs for me to be with Him.
I came into parenting, shored up by entirely too many parenting books, ready to change the world. It turns out that God had a different plan: He wanted to change me.