So here it is: In case you haven't noticed, I am not a mommy blogger. I don’t know the arguments of disposable vs. cloth diapering. I can’t tell you about car seat safety. I can’t commiserate with you about how challenging parenting can be, or offer you glimpses into an epiphany I’ve had about the beauty of motherhood. I can’t write about the mommy wars and how we all need to band together. I’m not making fun of any of this at all. There is just this huge population that I simply cannot relate to, and who in many ways now cannot relate to me and my world without kids.
This will probably change one day. I’m sure if Geoff and I have kids at some point, what I am learning will naturally find its ways into what I write about. This is a choice we’ve made for this time in our lives. But when it comes to writing, I often feel like I have so little to offer. I think about my friends who are moms, and the encouragement or advice that they might need, and I come up short.
But. But. I have found this encouragement. I may not write about the parenting experience, but I can write about my experience. And it’s in embracing this role fully that I am able to say something that might resonate with someone out there, whether you are a parent or not. But, if I allow inadequacy to creep in, if I think that my story isn’t fully orbed enough to have a voice, then I am paralyzed.
Our success in anything is usually found first in embracing where we are. A teacup that secretly thinks spoons are more useful is still a teacup, but probably a rather unhappy one (if teacups had emotions, that is.)
And it works both ways, doesn’t it? A mom or dad who continually looks longingly back at a time before children, or who resents or feels inadequate for not being able to do all that they want to do, will be a rather unhappy and frustrated parent. And it’s actually when you, as a mom or dad, embrace your calling that others find something of the common human experience that resonates with them, something to aspire to. A parent who is the best parent that he or she can be will teach me far more about life and who I want to be than a person who makes no effort to thrive in their season of life, even if their life season looks more like mine. I think of a friend who is a mom of three. She is an excellent mom, and even though I may not emulate her in the specifics, when I see how seriously she takes her role as a mom, I think to myself, “I want to be like that. I want to do my best at what I have been given to do.”
It's not about perfection. You have bad days. And even though my laundry may not be piled high, I have bad days too. And just like you, my own flaws are often the culprit, or at least a huge contributing factor. But, I think that it is when we embrace our respective callings and stations in life that we find fulfillment and joy sneaking up on us. When I say, "Gosh darn it, I'm going to share my story and what I'm learning whether I think people can relate or not", nine times out of ten, someone seems to relate.
So, my vote is that we should hang our hang ups. To sound cliche, let's bloom where we're planted. The world needs people who unapologetically seek excellence right where they are. You who are parents, doing the hard work of raising kids day in and day out? You inspire me. And although my corner over here might be a bit quieter than yours (yes, I'm trying to enjoy it while I have it, like I've heard I should), I hope that I can offer some encouragement for you along the way. You won't hear from me about how I wanted to pull my hair out over a toddler's tantrums. But you will hear about a woman who is desperate for Jesus, who has found him to be the light who illumines her darkness and the healer of her deepest wounds. And if you have him, no matter your station in life, no matter if your social interaction for the day was talking with the mailman, you have something--Someone--to share.
John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus and his whole purpose in life was to point people to Jesus. He summed up his calling when he was questioned about his identity and said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord." What strikes me about John is that he was completely ok with everyone's attention shifting to Jesus once he arrived on the scene. Of course, that was the way it was supposed to be, but knowing my own heart, I think I would have begrudged Jesus the attention at least a tad. But I want to be like John. I want to go all out in whatever calling the Lord gives me, all the while saying, Look at him. And we can all raise our voices--voices in this wilderness today--saying, look at Jesus; isn't he great?