One day last week, in a moment of pure exhaustion, and after correcting one of the five in my tribe for what seemed like the one-hundredth time that day, it occurred to me that I have been a mom for almost half of my life. I clearly remember thinking, “No wonder I feel so worn out these days!” Then a deeper thought came to mind, “I need to renew my spirit and re-ignite my heart!” This moment of self-realization forced me to stop and ask myself: Am I truly striving to live with passion and purpose, in every season of my heart and home, as the subtitle of my personal blog suggests?
Because I still have a 3-year-old at home, my mind and heart feel young, but my aging body and soon-to-be-21-year-old son are both concrete reminders that I am not so young anymore. I am in my mid-life – growing older and, I pray, a bit wiser. This exciting adventure of motherhood began for me at the ripe age of 24. Now, at age 44, and 8 children later (5 living and 3 in Heaven – from SIDS, a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy) I find myself regularly looking at my life as a mom in retrospect and remembering all the exhilarating, thrilling, exhausting, sometimes frightful, frequently incredible, and blessed moments of my motherhood. It has unquestionably been an amazing journey so far!
Having a #cantstopwontstop internal drive has its pros and cons. God is teaching me to GO – but at HIS PACE, not mine. As a “supermom,” I want to give my 3-year-old son what I gave my 21-year-old son when he was the same age and likewise my 8-year-old daughter what I gave my 16-year-old daughter when she was 8, but God has been revealing to me that I need to let go of what I think I should be doing – which leads to feelings of inadequacy due to lack of time, energy and resources, and alternatively look to Him to show me how to best mother each of my children at this stage in my life, with the resources I have been given NOW.
I am fully aware that I would not feel so physically and emotionally depleted at times if I more habitually embraced the path that God daily lays before me in my motherhood, as opposed to stubbornly trying to do “everything” and somehow think I can heroically duplicate my motherhood 10 and 20 years ago. I love to go, go, go and do, do, do, – and yet God is teaching me to slow down and not miss the moments. I know all too well, how quickly they pass.
Perhaps trying to be BE the “perfect mom,” right now, means to just BE – Be present, BE in the moment, BE intentional with each act of love and service – BE the perfect mom for MY children the way God calls me to BE! I don’t have to refer to Pinterest for the picture-perfect toddler craft, or the healthiest family meal; I just need to LOVE and trust that God will fill in the gaps.
After 21 years of motherhood, I have learned much, but most importantly I have learned that I have so much more to learn! Each day brings new joys, new sorrows, and unique challenges. Yet, for each child and each stage, God’s grace is sufficient. It always has been, if I look for it. I blinked, and I have a son who is a man, and a daughter ready to spread her wings and go to college. So these days, I am holding my little ones a bit tighter, allowing our hugs to further linger, listening to their chatter more intently, and purposefully following through on those “small things” that one day will be the BIG in their heart that they remember.
Copyright 2018 Kathleen M. Billings