Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Motherhood: When You Want to Run Screaming From the Mission

Call it the perfect storm.

I went away on a retreat last Wednesday and then headed out for a conference early the following morning; I didn't return until mid morning Monday because of an unexpected delay, so my family was out of its groove for a good six days.

Nonetheless, I was SO excited to come home. I missed my boys, and even just thinking about their sweet little voices while I was gone made me teary. I missed John, too, and I wished he were with me often.

And then I arrived back, and all chaos inside these four walls I call home ensued. The boys, in rare form after a weekend of special everything with their dad and grandparents, were out of routine and out of sorts.

And they have been driving me out-of-my-mind insane.

Which is ironic, because I spent this weekend deeply pondering motherhood and how it is an unexpected joy in which I never could have guessed I'd find so much purpose and fulfillment and meaning. Before I met John I was pretty set on becoming a journalist who covered foreign affairs and wrote eye-opening feature stories about the faces behind those front-page news headlines. One of my college professors told me that if I stuck with journalism, I could be a Pulitzer Prize winner. And so that was a dream that called to my heart and was the epitome of fulfillment to a young heart that pulsed justice and understanding.

This past weekend during the conference in beautiful Chattanooga, I was reminded of a conference I attended three years ago. Back then I had given up on my dream of foreign reporting and pulitzer prizes and traded them for writing a best selling book and becoming a big blogger with a big following.  But something happened at that conference that radically changed my definition of fulfillment and success; during a Q&A session at the conference three years ago, Sally Clarkson said something that resonated deeply: "The greatest books I have ever written are {the names of her children}."

I was reminded of this because during our travels this past weekend, I thought I'd lost a precious necklace during our travels to Chattanooga, a necklace I'd received at that conference, hand-stamped with the word love and John 13:35: "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

As I frantically searched for it this past weekend, I shared the story of how the Spirit, heavy and persistent, buried that image, that thought, that mission of motherhood deep inside my heart.

That thought, that verse, it fit together inside my heart and it challenged me into an understanding that this job of motherhood was, indeed, important and beautiful and meaningful and lovely and pleasing to God. I accepted mothering as my primary career for this season at that conference, gave it to God and I've asked Him often since to bless it abundantly and awesomely.

I've thought of that almost daily as I've mothered my boys, the necklace I often wear around my heart a reminder of my mission -- to write beautiful books of love on the hearts of my boys and have it show through their lives.

That mission -- after the search for that necklace -- was fresh on my mind as we looked in the Bible at what it means to walk in the courage of faith.

I was challenged this weekend to remember that we must walk in the courage of faith in all of our life missions so that we can have life and have it abundantly.

And also so that we can live in the freedom of God's promises to His beloveds instead of as slaves bonded in fear and worry. If our faith is to run deep and true and real, we must be strong, take heart and choose to steady our minds on the Truth of His word instead of the fears and worries of this world.

I was challenged to dig deep into His word and apply it in my life in all situations, to all of my missions -- even the beautiful and sticky and complex mess of motherhood included.

That includes raising my children in a world that is broken and full of hardships and sadness.

That includes not walking in fear but rather faith as we continue to pursue growing our family in whatever way will bring God glory.

And that includes remembering that my children are His children first ... that I am His child before I am anyone else.

I needed this  -- these specific course-corrections for the Bigger Picture Mission and this specific mission. Because a mission played out in fear instead of faith probably would end in crash-and-burn style ... I needed to be reminded of the best practices of writing so that I could best write {according to the Great Editor and Chief} the books of my boys -- books others will read by watching their lives as they grow and become adults who do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God {Micah 6:8}.

I needed it for the big picture of my motherhood mission  ...

and for the mission of mothering just this week after the perfect storm of unusual bred enough chaos to send me running and screaming back to Chattanooga, where the missionary was on a refueling from the mission field.

Instead, though, I press on toward the goal, practice bravery, take heart.

And take tonight off of bedtime duty so that I don't actually go legitimately crazy.

{Also, I found my necklace. It wasn't lost; I actually left it at home in my 4:45 a.m. departing time stupor. And I'm glad I did because of what it brought to mind. I guess there's something good about 4:45 a.m.}


  1. First time on your blog (at least for a while). Thrilled you found your necklace. I have found that you can count on chaos after a spiritual "high". Still didn't find Foster - ordered a new one. Also, your mug should come in any day. Love you - really! Deb

  2. It is 5am. So I can tell you that there is something else that is good about being wide awake at 4:30 and being too early too study and retain information. YOU! Your words- they calmed my heart. This was exactly what I needed to read. AND that necklace, and the quote, are SO YOU. You are a wonderful example of God's love, and you hold the light well for others to see. I miss you, friend! xo!

  3. I'm glad to have stumbled upon your blog, really inspiring words you have here. I might as well find me a necklace or a perhaps a ring that will serve its purpose as well - it's harder to wear necklaces around toddlers;) - sometimes beneath all the chaos and pain of mothering I'm so sure that I'm truly built for this, I guess sometimes you just need something to keep reminding you that you do have it in you;)


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Thanks for taking the time to make these thoughts into conversation.