As I reflect on the last 4 1/2 years of my journey as a mother, I have come to a startling conclusion: I have changed SO much! Many of these changes are positive. I have learned how to love deeper and more abundantly than I ever thought possible. I have learned to rely on God each and every day. I have felt my heart nearly burst from the love and pride I have for my little family. Although many, many of these changes have been positive, some have left me questioning, “Who am I?”
I thought I knew who I was prior to having kids. Of course, I was a Christian. I loved God and wanted to serve Him. I was a wife, completely and madly in love with my husband. I will always cherish the years we had together prior to becoming parents. I was a teacher and gained confidence in myself by my ability to love on and teach the twenty-something 6-year olds God placed in my classroom each and every year. I was an outgoing lover of people. I didn’t shy away in a group of people like I sometimes do now. I was a church-goer, participated in Bible studies, and volunteered for VBS and other children’s ministry opportunities before having kids of our own.
All-in-all, I thought I was doing pretty well for myself.
And then I became a mother.
Although my heart nearly burst from loving these children of mine so much, I was also left feeling completely inadequate after the birth of my second child…a feeling I don’t think I’ve ever felt so strongly before in my life.
With 2 children 22-months apart, I have frequently felt impatient, exasperated, and just plain grouchy. Throw in the overwhelming sense of guilt for wanting a break every now and then and knowing I’m not doing it all “right”…and it is enough to crush my spirit.
It is then that I wonder…where is the fun-loving, thoughtful, outgoing person that I used to be? Instead, I have been replaced with a selfish introvert who can’t make it through a day without wanting to either yell at somebody or cry.
The quote that echoes in my mind is something that has revolutionized the way that I look at all of these “changes” that motherhood has brought to my otherwise-confident self:
“I thought parenting was going to portray my strengths, never realizing that God had ordained it to reveal my weaknesses.” -Dave Harvey
The thing is: Becoming a mother has made me feel insignificant and incapable at times. I have never felt weaker than I have in the “low times” sprinkled in the last 4 1/2 years.
But maybe, just maybe, that is the point.
Rather than relying on myself and all the things that I have ordinarily done “right”, I must cling to God. I honestly have no other choice. I get to the end of myself (of my patience, goodness, kindness, and gentleness) and that still won’t cut it. So I MUST look to him to supply me with His patience, His kindness, His gentleness, and His self-control.
God has called me to this point in my life “for such a time as this.” There are little hearts that need loving, little souls that need molding, and little mouths that need feeding. And I MUST answer His call. Not just in who I think I am, but in who God tells me I am…someone who is fully loved, completely redeemed, and able to do ANYTHING through His strength.
I think I would take that person over the girl I used to be any day.
“Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.”