Someone said something recently that keeps replaying in my mind…and it seems everywhere I turn I have been hearing or reading some variation of it…and thinking about it…and feeling the tension.
One woman described it as having a “mid-life crisis” of sorts… another expressed feelings of being “lost in motherhood”… trying to recapture pieces of themselves…old hobbies…revisiting forgotten skills… pining for a career that had been paused. I don’t know if it’s just something in the air or what. But i feel it. My list is ever-growing…. books to read, topics to study, flute to practice, tinkering in the kitchen, taking up knitting, finishing an old crotchet project, pining for exercise, desiring to blog….dreaming about rock climbing again…wanting to spend the weekend on the couch with a book, tea, chocolate & yarn…. ya know…what weekends meant before children. I get it.
At the same time, i don’t. While I understand the sentiment, I don’t fall into the “lost in motherhood” category…at least not in a negative sense. I commented to Ryan recently that I feel “found” in it. For so long I floundered lost, wondering what the heck i was supposed to “do when i grow up”. A week into motherhood & I knew..at least for the time they’re in our home…THAT was my “career”. Though even that isn’t always a good thing… finding my IDENTITY in them..i certainly don’t want to end up being so singly focused that i find myself empty-handed and broken hearted when they do what they’re supposed to do — grow up & move out. My identity of course lies in Christ…as a Child of God…serving in Joy… which sounds wonderfully romantic but sure is hard to pin down. It’s easier to say, “I’m a mom” or “I’m a flute player” or…
Anyhow, that being said, I’ve been pondering lately what my expectations should be. Is it reasonable to attempt a new hobby right now? IS this a stage of life… will I someday be able to join a community orchestra (how cool am i? i would like to join a community orchestra…or band…even nerdier)? I mean, I’d like to “someday” but i DON’T want to now…not only because it’s not logistically possible, but it would stretch me too thin…i honestly don’t WANT to yet…but I do want to eventually. Again, at the same time it seems a shame to let such a thick layer of dust gather on that gift. For now I’ll just make an effort to practice…
That’s just one small example. I’m not sure the answer…I’m just thinking about it lately. Especially in regards to: Do we have more children? If so, when? Am I ready to give up another piece of myself? Is Ryan? How does this work? The spirit is willing…and sometimes the flesh is too…but not always. I’ve noticed when my mind is focused more closely on “Heavenly matters” I am aware of an acute lack…someone is missing from the family. I get excited at the prospect of the kids with another sibling, of another small person Ryan and I get to share our love and life with…that we get to see grow in the ‘knowledge and admonition of the Lord’. Then…the other times (& even sometimes at THE SAME TIME)…it feels like i may not be able to ‘handle’ another moment in “small people depending on me for 98-100% of everything they do & need” land. It seems we’re on the cusp of some independence…even tiny things like Asher can go upstairs & get himself dressed entirely by himself…wow. Imagine…all of us just getting dressed at the same time instead of in shifts. I know it’s a stage. But the flesh is weak.
In the women’s bible study I’ve been attending we’re going through the book, “Stepping Heavenward“. This past week was the first i’ve read any (they’re almost done, and I just started attending)…and the following quote resounded so strongly for me. It’s exactly what I occasionally feel & always desire to feel. This is where I am…and I’m so happy for it. I’m so grateful for it. What a blessing that I have the opportunity to hang some non-eternal leisure and pursuits on the shelf..whether temporarily or permanently, in order to gain a “friend” more dearer than them all….to whom I get to minister in Christ’s name. I apologize it’s such a long quote, but I promise well worth the time to read:
Here is a sweet, fragrant mouth to kiss; here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a soul to train for God; and the body in which it dwells is worthy all it will cost, since it is the abode of a kingly tenant. I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in Christ’s name, I make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation my other darlings had left me. Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother’s heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her most tender cares, to her lifelong prayers! Oh, how rich I am, how truly, how wondrously blest!
And by the way, thanks mom…for the investment of YOUR youth in me. It’s an example I am so grateful to have had. Ultimately, as with everything else…it’s NOT about me. I know God will unfold His plan in His time. In the meantime…I ponder.