Tuesday, February 04, 2014

What's Left

This past week was a particularly rough one for me as a mom. It probably has to do the most with adjustments needed in my heart, but it felt so physically and emotionally demanding that tears leaked down my cheeks while I made dinner one night and didn't stop for good until I fell asleep.

"I need a break," I thought.

But then, even more discouraging, where would I even go? What would I even do?

I like to think of myself as a person with passions and talents, but in the moment of feeling so drained, so consumed (as in, being eaten alive), by those two small parasite human beings that I birthed, I felt like there was nothing left of me.

Mine is a world in which "me" doesn't seem to be indulged much, by necessity. I believe with all my heart that this world does not revolve around me, and that it is indeed good for me to be constantly reminded of this fact. In this way, kids are like pesky alarm clocks that don't have snooze buttons. You do what you have to do when you have to do it in providing for their needs, be it hugs, food, discipline, butt wipes, or middle of the night sheet changes; it is hard, but it sanctifies, and that is good.

This past week, it just felt like it sucked me dry and then some, and I began to wonder if, when God got done stripping away all of the selfish "me," if there would be anything left.

Sometimes the stripping away is gradual, like sloughing off dead skin -- you barely notice it. Sometimes, it's deliberate, sharp and painless, like shaving your legs. Sometimes it's like ripping off a bandaid - quick, intense and then it's done. And sometimes it's like a sunburn - it hurts as soon as it's happened, it hurts while it's peeling, and it takes a while to heal (and that's hoping that it doesn't give you cancer).

Usually, whenever you see that you are losing part of yourself, it's at least a bit painful and scary.

And regardless of how it happens, I'm not usually a huge fan of the process (there are so many things I'd rather be doing than catering to the immediate needs of the consummately needy). But sometimes, I just so badly want to be reassured that there will be a recognizable "me" at the end of the process.

I think there will be.

When God made me, he made me with care, creating unique features and likes and abilities that will last for eternity. When all the frail and all the fallen is stripped away, I will not only still be me, I will be more "me" than ever.

I just ... I desperately need to hold onto that on days when my eyes keep leaking because I can't get a break. All of this stripping away, crushing, reshaping, burning off dross, it's not just for the kids, it's for me (because that is how I will best comprehend and display the goodness and the greatness of God -- let's never forget that). It is more constructive than destructive. There still is and will be a "me," and it's the only "me" that will be worth keeping.

PS - I mostly wrote this a few days ago and I'm a bit better now, in case you were wondering.
PPS - David Powlison's "Anti-Psalm" and meditation on Psalm 23 are the perfect "Yes, that's me!" description to how I was feeling and the biblical antidote. Do read and bookmark it if you never have.


Beth said...

This perspective--of motherhood being God's primary means of sanctification in my life--has so radically changed how I view my days and the constant demands of little ones. It will get better, Molly, and when I say that, I mean that by God's grace YOU will get better: better at laying down your life for your dear ones. I've seen it happen over the course of our almost 10 years of marriage and 8 years of motherhood. That sacrifice comes so much more easily now than it did at first, though not always.

That being said, I'm looking forward very much to a date next week with my husband, something that hasn't happened in far too long! :)

Jennifer said...

I appreciate your honesty, Molly! I think most of us as moms feel this way from time to time (sometimes even daily)! I particularly thought of this regarding your comment about catering to the immediate needs of the consummately needy, because isn't that how we appear before God? Yet we've received grace upon grace from Him. How much more grace we are able to breathe to our children when we put ourselves in that same light!

Next time the chaos overwhelms you, give me a call - we can let our needy children, messy houses, and unwashed hair dance all around us as we encourage one another over a cup of coffee (or a margarita). :)

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written, Molly! This weekend I was ready to throw up my hands and give up on my kids. I am always humbled when God reminds me that His love is greater. Sarah Phillips