Thursday, October 9, 2014

Why I'm Not A Natural Mother

God does not require that we be successful only that we be faithful- Mother Teresa 
I believe that statement to be true even if sometimes I wish it weren't. I like a sizable to-do list with tasks neatly checked off. I like accomplishments and awards and accolades. None of those are associated with faithfulness or success in my present position. Now more days than not, we do check off our to-do list but it's filled with items like "clean the bathroom," "post to instagram," and "finish preschool." Nothing particularly impressive or successful. 

It would be much easier on me mentally to go to a job that required some creativity and work than to stay home and change diapers and discipline for bad behavior. It would be easier to dress up in heels and a cute outfit than to realize my skirt is dirty and we are only three hours into our morning. It would be easier to sleep all night and have my precious alone, quiet time in the morning before I went to work than to try to finish my Bible reading before my babies pop out of bed. 

It would be easier, not better. That's not the work that God requires of me now. I know that I am right where God wants me even if it goes against my preferences. All work goes against our preferences sometimes. It's tempting to spend time pretending that this work of mothering or homemaking or building a marriage doesn't require more of us than what we thought it would.  But I find that everyone's work- when they are doing God's work for them- requires more of them than what they have. It's supposed to. 

If it were easy, we could do it on our own. If it were easy, we wouldn't have to rely on God for wisdom or strength or perseverance. We wouldn't have to search for answers and techniques and skills to better accomplish the tasks before us. 

I don't consider myself a natural mother, regardless of how deeply I love my children. I don't consider myself a natural mother because there's a lot of "me" in me. While I have always wanted children and even wanted to stay home with them the picture looks different than I thought it would. That is true for everything; imagination and reality are not equal. If I were to leave my God-appointed work to go do something else more "fulfilling," that would look different than what I imagine too. I would also be leaving the path of God's blessings to walk in disobedience. (And who would raise my sweet babies?)

What do I need to be a better mother? More of Jesus and less of me. I need to let go of romantic notions and knuckle down to the work. I need to accept that faithfulness is more important than success and that success is now defined differently than it has been previously in my life. 
He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30

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