My floors are cleaned, laundry is folded, kids are tucked snug in their beds and my mind is finally at peace enough for fingers to meet keyboard and put down the thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head all week. Ironically, the main thought is the mothering mantra that has been pressed deep into my heart over the last 4-ish years… “Be Still and Know That I am God.”
It is a pretty commonly quoted verse but it is deep and personal to me. Having heard the Lord speak it over me in my early days of mothering a strong-willed child who seemed to take the phrase “sleep is for the weak” as a personal challenge to climb all of the things, learn all the new skills and discover every last inch of the world around him with out taking a break for such a pesky thing as sleep. Or in my vain desires to not let motherhood lessen my fitness and having to back track, slow down, supplement and eat any milk supply boosting foods in order to feed my wild child sufficiently. I heard it again when our second child decided to skip his earthly residency and pass straight from my womb to the arms of Jesus leaving both my heart and my body weak and exhausted. Or when our rainbow baby was living out her gestational life and my low hormone levels required additional care and rest. I was so frustrated with waiting to hold this baby until she got here, not being allowed to lift my toddler and waiting to hold yet another baby until heaven. As if I could somehow get myself more together and do all those things then that would make me a real woman, a deserving mother.
You see I understand my firstborn’s dilemma perfectly as I am always wanting to do all of the things before I take time to rest. Be it crossing a daily workout of my list, folding the laundry, scrubbing my counters for the umpteenth time, putting dishes away or pulling out my best efforts to get the kids busy cleaning their toys. A cluttered house does equal a cluttered mind for me and it is painfully hard to concentrate when there is a mess around me…but the mess is never gone for long and cleaning up is always filled with interruptions to my schedule. In fact a beautiful blue eyed interruption is up right now munching on some fruit and cheerios while mama tries to type what I can before the rest of the house wakes up. But she really isn’t an interruption…she is a crucial part of my day and time with her refreshes both of our hearts but I am learning to find these times for rest. That I can spend time with my children and still read scripture or devote some time to a personal hobby.
Learning to let a dish rest in the sink a little longer than I might prefer in order to feed my soul, learning to encourage more independent reading when my older child stumbles out of his room and my “quiet time” becomes much noisier or to let him join in with me and let the interruption become a beautiful teaching moment. I’m learning to not let a little mess derail my day and to breathe in and remember the only absolutely vital item on my to do list is glorifying God. I can do that from a messy kitchen, pausing to wipe my child’s tears and I can do that with a cup of tea curled up on the couch, I can do that while taking a walk and praising God for what he has made, I can do that while washing my children up for bed and planting seeds of faith in their hearts. Stillness is relative for me in this phase of life but when I remember who God is I can find a calm in the chaos of being needed by too many people at once…I can even enjoy it, reminding myself that someday they won’t need me this much.
Motherhood is a beautiful and worthwhile calling and our society often doesn’t give it the respect it deserves. Children are seen as more of an inconvenience than a blessing and a gift to steward well. I have to refocus on the truth consistently as little pieces of me are lost in becoming a mother and I have to remember that isn’t such a bad thing.
I’m learning to accept that these early years of child rearing are a “restful” season for me. For whatever reason the activity level I desire to maintain and what I’m capable of during pregnancy or newly postpartum don’t match. I can be still and acknowledge God then. Lean into him when feelings of inadequacy or jealousy bubble up and turn them over to His loving hands that hold my worth. My wonderful, brilliant, charismatic and incredibly stubborn toddler is helping me to learn to be still and acknowledge God in the midst of conflict to ask for wisdom and move forward in a better direction. I have to remind myself that it is okay to say no to constant activity. Choosing rest in a world that judges worth by how much you can cram into your schedule is a hard choice but a worthy one. I am thankful for a father who refreshes my soul and reminds me of my true worth. Be still and know that He is Lord and you are His.