Welcome to Day #3 of the Intentional Mothering Series!
Today brings a heartfelt blog from my friend Megan. Megan loves the Lord and her family fiercely (and happens to be gorgeous and talented too). She and my Writing Sis were friends in youth group and I also worked at her parents’ restaurant in college. Over the years Megan has inspired me in many ways. I am honored that (fresh after having her fifth child) she has graciously agreed to share her heart with us.
Seeing Him in Ordinary Days
As I awake, the first thing I see is light. Some days warm sunlight, some days just daylight- but light nonetheless. It shines on a picture I made for my husband, “You have my whole heart for my whole life” it says, but I realize more with each passing day this is not just for my husband, but for me – to remind me of my love for my Savior, and even more, of His love for me. His deep, unconditional, grace-filled love that I am not even close to understanding. Every day I wake to this and I am thankful for the breath that I have for another day. I see Him in the sun.
My eyes open to the voice of Bitty calling every name of “Mom” she can possibly think of, “Momma, Mommy, Mom, Mom!” pause, then again, “Mom, Mom, Mommy, Mooommmmaaa!” This repeats until I walk through her door. Some mornings this is a welcomed greeting. On other mornings, I admit, I might roll over and pretend I didn’t hear her for awhile, and maybe even have a pillow pushed to my face. Especially now, with the newborn that has graced our lives, the morning calls of this crazy, sunny-colored, rat-nest haired girl may go on for awhile. Each day one thing remains true – I am thankful that I am the one who answers her calls for “Momma”. I see Him in these moments. His fingerprints are here.
I put RJ in my arms, feel his quick newborn breaths, smell his sweet baby smells and we go get Bitty from her almost-too-small bed. I see Him in this small baby and in every amazing intricate detail he holds – his fingernails, his lashes, little bits of hair, his sweet pouty lips and I could go on and on (a newborn makes the Psalmist’s words, “fearfully & wonderfully made” come to life).
As we get Bitty the first thing she says is “Good morning baby!” It melts me…like the kids’ sticky popsicles on a hot summer day, and I see Him here.
We take the steps to go downstairs and get breakfast with the siblings (who have been awake since the crack of dawn). Breakfast is a bit chaotic with one who can have dairy, one who can’t; one who can’t have gluten, and four others who can…not to mention we have some who like cereal and some who don’t – needless to say I try to simplify and have very few options to choose from. Most mornings I ask myself, how can I see HIM in this? Some days are harder than others… until we stop, pray, and listen to worship… Ahhh, breathe…I see Him now. I see Him in their smiles and in their Daddy’s deep blue eyes and I have to stop and say thanks that their little beating hearts are here, that we have food gracing our table, a pantry full, and for the sun beaming in our window; so blinding that it is hard to see. HE. IS. HERE.
Now our day truly begins. Getting dressed – I am so grateful for each one who can dress themselves and I have to stop and say thanks; realizing this is a gift. Now that I am changing diapers, the crazy mom in me is giving thanks for the poopy diaper because our baby hasn’t pooped in three days…you know the newborn “poop delay” so they call it. And with every child I worry about this delay, thinking, surely there is something wrong, and then it comes and I cannot help but be thankful that it came (and is everywhere- including up their back). I relax- nothing is wrong. He is here and I see Him in the poop, literally. I am thankful!
It is now time for school – getting the older two started – Bible, Math, Handwriting, History, Geography, Latin and Science projects. All the while, laundry, and more laundry, and never-ending laundry is going… and then there is picking up, and cleaning up, and then picking up some more with a break to wipe a few tears every so often.
And there is breaking up of brotherly fights and the stopping of everything for the teachable moments that I too often miss. Teaching them to speak with kinds words, loving words, or at least when not to speak. Every day it is a battle; a fight. I have to remind myself too…sometimes I should not let words pour out of my mouth like they do- only to be left as a murky puddle at my children’s feet. Now what do they do with those muddy words?
I have to stop, to breathe in between the good moments and not-so-good, reminding myself to choose joy, to keep smiling – they are watching. He is here in the “everyday” – what we call life. My oldest, almost a lady, says, “Mom, I like it when you smile.” Ohhhh, smile, that’s right. I have to do that….they are watching. They see me not smiling… and if she took the time to tell me she likes it when I smile, I must not be doing this very thing enough.
I see Him in all of these moments and try often to remember to write down the evidence of His fingerprints with utter “thanks” because these moments, they are fleeting. These days, they are going by, and and once they are gone I cannot get them back no matter how hard my feeble self may try.
I want Him in these moments because when He is with me, when I invite Him into the mundane – it is then that mundane becomes Glorious! It is then I can say “thank you” for each fight and argument, for each kiss and hug, for each time they say “I love you”, for each toilet that needs to be cleaned, bottom wiped, diaper changed.
“Thank you” for each article of clothing that must be washed and rewashed and folded and folded again and finally put away (because one or two could not decide what to wear in the morning so they periodically changed during the day and put clean clothes in the dirty laundry – after all isn’t that ‘putting them away’)?
For each meal gone wrong, spilled cup of milk, and dropped plate of food. For each crazy bed-headed child, and the tears that come while pulling through those very tangles and each cry for help. For each Lego stepped on, toilet paper roll unrolled, and popcorn kernel found. I have to invite Him into every moment so it will become Glorious. I want my mundane to become Glorious. I have to say “thank you” so I see the gifts of every day life. And when I do, it changes ME and I see a little clearer. My view has not changed, but how I see has. This is where I find complete joy in the gift of motherhood.
Invite the Glorious into the mundane and let Him change not what you see, but how you see. This is joy and life full of joy. This is what counts and what makes this walk as a mom so amazing!
1. No matter what stage of life we are in, choosing to be thankful and joyful can be a challenge. What is one thing that stood out to you, or resonated with you personally, in this post? Consider sharing it with us in the comments below.
2. Think about something that did not go well today. Ask God to help you give thanks, even for the murky, muddy moments.
3. If you want to grow in this area of thankfulness, and really see God and His goodness in the mundane, check out Ann Voskamp’s outstanding book, One Thousand Gifts. Megan and I (along with countless others) have personally been changed by God through this honest and beautiful book.