My daughter snapped this photo of me playing in the garden this weekend.
(She’s three so she snapped about a million and this was the best.)
We have this whole hill with the vision of it someday being a beautiful terraced garden. We even tore it up last year…before checking out the prices of pavers.
Turns out it’s going to be like this for awhile, and we planted anyway.
I didn’t know whether or not I was going to plant this year, or where it might be, until a couple weeks ago when the kids asked me about our seeds and I just said “Sure, let’s do it,”
We hit the ground running and tossed rocks out, raked the ground, and planted seeds helter-skelter along the hill. I tried to keep a rhythm as to what seeds went where, but there are going to be some surprises as those shoots poke their way up.
New life is full of surprises and wonder, even when we follow a plan and do things just so, those first little buds can make us catch our breath.
Growth in our own lives can be much the same, whether we were anticipating it or not, the way we’ve changed can take us by surprise.
Like the birth of a mother after the first baby enters the world.
I like to say that I am a reformed Type A personality, I have a deep love for plans and schedules but my love for showing up for people in their mess has shifted that a lot through the years.
People don’t tend to have needs on a perfectly consistent schedule.
I’ve caught myself praying a lot over the past year for “peaceful days” which isn’t a bad thing to pray for, but what I typically mean are days that don’t stretch me.
Days where my children don’t need me to show up at inconvenient times and they don’t move any of the things. Where the house just stays clean for 24 hours. Days where the phone calls for my ministry are full of only convenient needs that happen to fit our schedule already. Days where my husband doesn’t need to call me from work for assistance on the home front.
What I’m praying for is momentary peace, not the lasting peace that comes from following God’s call on my life and building community. What I’m praying for is easy and manicured and flawless, and nothing at all like real life.
Real life looks like preaching to my kids in the morning about doing “everything as unto the Lord”. Then slightly regretting it in the afternoon when I have to model it as the toilet overflows and I’m figuring out how to snake a drain “as unto the Lord”.
Parenthood is space holding. Learning to hold space for messes that aren’t our own, holding time for snuggles and stories that don’t seem productive on the surface. Making room for imagination along the path of the intended and learning to revel in its beauty.
It’s daring to adventure and climbing past the comfortable as you all learn new limits and boundaries on what seems like a daily basis.
It’s doing things that seem to go unnoticed and trucking along to do them anyway.
Unloading those dishes even when little voices would like you to go play with them instead, because the play is important but so is keeping a livable home…and livable may mean something different for all of us.
I’ve learned to breathe in more chaos as time marches on, but my family needs to eat and that requires food and clean plates. They needs socks that aren’t filthy and dust to be cleaned. Boogers to be wiped and toilets to be scrubbed. Housekeeping isn’t the antithesis of parenthood, it’s part of it. Even if we all do it differently.
I need to hold spaces in my home that help me relax and enjoy my family and, for me, that means a system of organization.
It’s a balancing act of of love and discipline, grace and expectations, challenges and comfort. There are constant new rhythms to learn and new lessons to uncover and that is part of its beauty.
Before you know it those ministry connections have evolved into relationships that are much more friendship than service. And the kids are helping with chores in a real way. Cleaning up messes that aren’t their own and emulating you with a baby on their own back or saying things like
“Oh, wow, this view is beautiful”
…and it is; the view of the valley and the view of the family.
The one I’m blessed to call my own that keeps me from complacency and always moves me forward. Pushing my shoots through the surface even when I try to stay buried.
They’ve grown my body and my mind as I’ve learned more grace for them and myself and, consequently, others around us.
Motherhood is a job of teaching and correcting, loving and giving, it’s keeping house in the physical and emotional sense because sometimes that house you’re keeping is just room in your soul for little hearts to grow bolder. It’s a job of creative manipulation and constant service. It’s refining and holy and strange and beautiful because, as much as it is a job of teaching…it’s much more a job of learning.
It’s a road I’m blessed to walk, a privilege I don’t take lightly and a task that constantly stretches me.
So, to all my mom friends I’m hoping your mothers day was grand and your motherhood is even better. May your cups be overflowing and your toilet bowl not….I still think that’s okay to pray for.