dear mama: how to live like you know you are not missing out on life: how laying down your life right where you are is the real brave living.
I know. You can be there beholding your greatest gift and living there in your best days and you can still feel like God has pressed a pause on your dreams. On your plans. On everything you’d scratched out for this season. For this year already. You can feel like no matter how hard you try, there’s a pull that has you right where you started – scratching for more. And you can feel buried under your broken dreams and hope can feel deferred all over again. It’s true – mothering will be the hardest road you’ll ever walk. Mothering is the laboring that knows no end. Mothering is a call of courage to lay down your life, learn to dance to no song, sing in the dark and plough in the silence.
So, I hear my Wonder-girl’s every giggle and I pull back every diaper and anoint her head with every drop of oil and I am thinking how every moment is a pouring in. How every day is a giving. Of myself to her. Pouring all that I know now into her. How every second by second with her is laying her life brick by brick. How it’s not too early to speak words of life into her. How this is precisely the time I must open my mouth and declare over her small frame that it’ll always be the temple and home of the Holy Spirit. I am thinking how I get to be present in these moments. Present to pray, present to declare, present to hold her with one hand and hold a sword of battle in the other. Present to fight for her. Over her.
Hear me, mama: the enemy can try to sell us a lie: that it’s “greater” to be doing something else. Greater to be out there on a “mission”, greater to be “relevant”, “known”, “seen”, “celebrated”, but we are called to dark places, where there are no spectators, no applause, no celebrations, just you and God ploughing in the quiet. Pouring in moment by moment. And this is where we behold the face of our Father. How he stills to pour into us, comes down low to mold us.
And the world can try to tell us that these laying-down moments don’t matter because right there scrolling your phone and sitting before that television, you can feel like the world is racing right past you and you are standing there with your precious child in your arms and you can feel like you’ve been put on hold. Like everything God whispered to you has been put on hold – every assignment, every dream and hope has been put on a pause.
So, when I snapped out of it the other day into the realization that I am living a dream. I knew I had to tell you too! That you are living a dream. That where you are standing in this moment, is your miracle. Look again! Because that’s the thing about greater things, they never feel great when you are living and breathing it. A great marriage doesn’t always feel like a great one. Great relationships don’t always feel like so. Motherhood, parenting doesn’t always feel like the miracle that it is. But hear this mama: you are living the dream. The dream of forming a heart, teaching a soul how to walk with their heavenly Father. The dream of living your days laid out before a child watching you learn to walk in the love of God and she gets to see that it’s possible to be broken and holy. That joy is possible. That love is possible. That abundant life is indeed possible. Let that be what you behold. Daily.
You know what mama: all that God will ever send us “out there” to do will always be about pouring into a life. Adopting a child. Feeding and supporting someone. Encouraging a broken heart. Lifting a fallen friend. Our assignment is always about someone. One person. Stretching to pull someone through. Stretching to reach someone. So, right here mama: that someone, dream, hope, assignment is in your arms. In your home. Here and now. There’s nothing greater for you, right now. ever!
Yes, that is it – Christ came even if for one of us. If it were only you, He’d still come. Stretched to lay it all down on the cross. Given in exchange. Because when you let go of your life, lay down your plans, your expectations, you save your life (Luke 17:33). You save a life. He saved a fallen world.
Yes. The fullest lives are the ones laid down and given for the Master’s Use.
And I know this now. All that my mama tried to whisper to me when I was her little girl. How her eyes spoke words of affirmation, how her mouth declared words of truth over me. How her hands held mine, teaching me the way to go. That other day, when I stood in my old room while mama rocked Wonder-girl to sleep, I heard echoes of our conversations in that room where I’d spent my childhood, teenage years and early days of adulting. Conversations that mean so many different shades of beauty now. How we’d talked about everything. How I didn’t know how to hide a thing from mama and I thought she somehow had a key to my heart and I loved her on many days even when she gracefully broke my heart. But I look at her and I see a woman who let herself stretch and “lose” herself for me. For us. For every stretch and pull, she was cracking open and pouring in. And nothing else mattered, she’d say. She was always right where she needed to be. Where she was needed.
Because we all have places we are needed. And nothing is ever greater. We are called to a need. We are an answer to a prayer. A response to a needful heart. A voice for the voiceless. Love to the loveless. Light in the dark. Salt of the earth. We are called to a need. Always. Remember that.
So, come sit a while, mama. Stretch a while. Breathe and rest slow, but don’t quit now. Pray and laugh loudest with your precious one or two or more. And breathe this: there’s never a line between motherhood, parenting and your purpose. You are living it. Yes – your heart may have to say a lot of “no’s” to much, so you can keep saying yes to your little one’s giggles and staying present in the mess, but we have a Father who perfects timing and designs our purpose around the things that matter most.
So, breathe easy mama. You are in purpose.
*Curated photos of other brave mamas and babies*