It’s a long road.
It’s a journey, isn’t it?
The Lord has had me in this place of dying to self for a long time. He has everyone on that path I suppose, and some of us “get” it quicker than others. I don’t think i’m part of that “some.” There have been trials, though small in comparison to most, that have led me to really have to try and grasp that I can’t do it all. I know, I know, confessionally I would say that I can’t do it all, but functionally, I really think I can, at least in theory. I read blogs or books about these women who have 8 kids, train them in the Lord, homeschool, make healthy and frugal meals, garden out the wazoo, disciple younger women, get discipled by older women, have an etsy shop, get to sew or cook or make soap for fun, and of course they exercise 4 times a week. They seem to have immaculate homes, a healthy social life, witness to anyone they talk to at the grocery store or playground, have time to not only have devotions, but study the Word AND read the latest fiction book; they have every half hour organized, spend time on Facebook and STILL have time to be intimate with their husbands. Oh, and they’re funny and charming and wear makeup everyday.
Are these people for real?
I will readily admit that I have talked myself into thinking that these are, in fact, real people. I mean, their books are encouraging with some stories of failure peppered throughout. Their blogs have the occasionally funny mishap. But all in all, they’re doing pretty well. Right?
Well, whoever they are (and I’m positive they’re not showing the whole story!), they aren’t me. I fail daily at training my children in the way they should go. I fail daily at exercising. (make that monthly!) I fail regularly at being a willing partner for my husband. I fail daily at honoring the Lord as I should. I fail. I fail ALL. THE. TIME.
Should this surprise me? No. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Does this surprise me? At times, yes. In my self-righteousness, pride, and stemming from my indoctrination of a “you can have it all” American woman type of unregenerate belief (and thus, indwelling sin), I functionally believe that I can in fact do all of those aforementioned things. Good things. Things that God would want us to excel at as keepers of our homes and as helpmates and mothers.
Slowly over the past year or so as I’ve had more and more responsibility, more kids, and minimal time for myself (which is usually spent grocery shopping or planning school or doing other necessary things without kids around) i’ve started to realize it’s okay. It’s okay to not be able to cook meals for every person I know that has had a baby or is sick. It’s okay to not be able to hang out with people because the kids need to go to bed or need their heart adjusted at the moment. It’s okay to not be able to serve the church in certain ways or attend meetings because I need to care for my family in the mundane. It’s okay to eat peanut butter and jelly for dinner for a night because we’ve had a busy day with school and lots of discipline issues. It’s even okay to leave dishes in the sink. (well, I’m still waiting to be okay with that one.)
It’s okay because God tells me “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (matt 11:30). It’s okay because I have been redeemed and the blood of Christ cleanses me from all sin. (Not that it’s an excuse to sin all the more! Romans 6) The burdens I have been feeling when I’ve texted a friend saying “please pray, I am overwhelmed and can’t breathe” are NOT from the Lord. They are from me. In my pride I have set expectations where they need not be. God asks me to be faithful, He does not ask me to be superwoman. There is a new covenant! He asks me to love, trust and obey Him. He asks me to have joy in HIM and not in the things of this world. All of my ‘good works’ are nothing in comparison to that.
Learning to be content in this season of snotty noses and diaper changes is hard. It’s really hard. I have no clue what I’m doing. I know it will get harder as they get older and I’m dealing with a lot more heart issues. Right now though, in this short season of childhood, I need to learn to fear and love the Lord functionally. Laying down my desires, expectations, comparisons and my life to serve the Lord, my husband, and my kids is what I have been called to do. That may look different for me. I’m trying to figure out what it DOES look like.
It most definitely does not look like lipstick on my lips.