Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Art of Motherhood

There were three things running through my brain this last week.

1. Everything is better when you can tune out people that are non-factors in any given situation and just do what is right for you. No comparing, no nonsense advice listening, no trying to fit in, and no acceptance of condemnation.

2. I can't remember the second.

3. Everything can become a form of art. We are individually artworks of God in every sense of ourselves, and we can in turn create fabulous and unique.....anything we choose. Homes, families, meals, gardens, ministries, careers, friendships, and more. I am even loving laundry this week (blog post to be written).

Motherhood, for me, has been a co-work-of-art between God and myself. He started it, and He got me to a place of realization that I have choices and freedoms to make this work for me. This gift, though not the most important, is worth more than anything I could have earned without the nuisance and responsibility of children.

This mother's day, I reflected on the wealth of blessings I have as a result of four crazy kids. I'd like to share them with you.

The first thing I learned when I had my fussy 4.5 pound Savannah was the meaning of sacrifice. I no longer had the choice to sleep in, I couldn't fit in my pretty clothes, and started to lose control of my ideals. I need this lesson badly, and got it in the very best way (and maybe only way) I would have ever learned it. Out of necessity.

Sacrificial living and giving is probably the most beautiful thing to me now. I'll take the worn sweat pants of a blessed mama, you can have the.....whatever it is everyone is wearing now days. Take that for individuality.

Seeing how flawed my own children are, yet feeling such intense love and grace for them, gives me a glimpse of the love and grace God and my own parents gave (and continue to give) me. It has given me thanksgiving and humility, which paves the pathway for God to work in my life in a very effective way. God can't do so much with pride.

After many tears and fears of not meeting my own expectations and completely shattering my ideals, after fights and sleepless nights filled with scheming and reviewing and game-planning, one must get up, dust themselves off, and laugh hysterically. A sense of humor improves artistic expression.

An appreciation...and sometimes an incredible need is developed for more seasoned mothers. I cherish the ones that are a part of my life. My own mother has obviously had a tremendous impact on me as my very own example, but she also studied childhood development for her career precisely when I needed that guidance- and she was in a position to influence me positively right then and there. She continues to be a constant support for my sibling and myself.

My grandmother, whom I missed very much this weekend, was the one person I can say had joy for me. Almost giddy, child-like joy at times. I didn't always appreciate that when she was alive, but I am still receiving her blessings and learning from our times together. I wish so much she could hold my children now and I could see her eyes twinkle as she'd watch them play. However, I have full confidence that she is spending plenty of time with Max's twin, who did not survive the pregnancy, in heaven. THAT makes me smile.

Even though I don't have a grandmother, I was blessed to spend time this weekend with my good friend's grandmother, who has the same twinkle in her eye for my children as Grandma Friday did for me. I get that now. People like that are truly hidden gems. What a blessing.

And other family that lovingly share their perspective...my mother-in-law, for starters. Aunts and great aunts and aunts that aren't really aunts, all individual works of art that God uses to shape me.

I am also blessed to have mentors from church. One of them recently encouraged me to have one clean room in the house, so that if everything else is a disaster, I can at least go into that one room for refuge. Well, Janet, my refuge room is currently my hallway bathroom. It's the only one the kids willingly and consistently help me keep clean. At least there is one! 

In my situation, motherhood is not without the influence of a man. One whose input has revealed my shortcomings, then in his unique wisdom, shows me a better way. For one, he has taught me patience, and also shown me there are some things just not worth worrying about. His laid-back manner gives me peace...well, it did once I realized that it was wisdom and not stupidity. Or maybe God just know the personality I needed to counter mine- to balance us out.

Good friends are priceless, and I find the need to hold on to them, and and realize that finding new ones is not as easy as it once was.

Irony. Motherhood is full of irony. Maybe it's just because "everyone" has told us what is important and we study and learn and become scholars in what "everyone" else says....and motherhood presents a complete opposite perspective. I've learned I just can't be happy holding on to my past intelligence while making it in motherhood. It's a whole new game. Sometimes there is humor in that, too.

The word "busy" takes on a new meaning. And, I've found that when your goals are properly set, you just don't have time for silly gossip or dwelling on what your kid did to embarrass you last week. You forgive because you don't have time to stew over a comment made six months ago. You are forced to move on, because life is moving on and no one is waiting for your time out. Your priorities must be made and YOU are not on the top of the list. However, you will be taken care of properly when your faith is truly in God.

Faith is no longer an option for me, it is essential for my visions and goals because they are incredibly bigger than myself. Countless things have fallen into place because they just had to. I can't mother without faith in God and the help of the Holy Spirit.

And with all these things in place and probably more that I can't think of at the moment, I humbly take in all the blessings of lessons learned and people and....oh, yeah. My kids! And I reject condemnations and ridiculous words spoken over us....and THEN I have freedoms to create an environment of love and productivity and influence lives profoundly. The possibilities are endless. Joy abounds. 

Motherhood has given me the inspiration to create, to have something to write about, to laugh about, to connect with others, and to love the little things.

This artwork continues to come together in an intricate testimony, hopefully reflecting what the love of Christ truly can do.

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