Hearts that Open because of Love

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Recently I found myself in yet another discussion on the topic of number of children and “Oh, my, how do you do it?”

I admit, I didn’t have a good answer at the moment. I think I was more distracted by the shock on this fellow Mom’s face, that I could only say, “One day at a time, I guess.”

And that is true. Sometimes it is a “one day at a time” kind of thing, meaning small steps, small accomplishments and victory dances over being able to take a nice, long, hot shower. I will say these days seem less intense then they once were. With the kids becoming more independent the pressure is less on me, and more on the availability that I choose to give.

I sat and reflected on some of our earlier years, when so much seemed foreign to me, when changing another dirty diaper seemed to take so much out of me. I had so much less free, me time and at first this total surrender to my babies was difficult. It was tough to give and give, and rarely find the time to enjoy my own interests, my own hobbies or simply be alone, in a quiet space and pray for any amount of quality time.

When I sit and focus on the beauty of God’s design, I can see over the years, and gradually as we grew our family… that each and every day became less and less about me, and more and more about what they needed. And it seemed normal, natural to forget oneself. It’s a beautiful thing, this motherhood, that over time, my selfish ways seemed less and less important and the ultimate fulfillment of my life was focused on something beyond the surface, beyond the superficial, it changed the very core of what I believed was important, necessary for a good life.

Young, idealistic ways change. What we envisioned does change. I admitted last night to a fellow Mom, who confessed she never wanted children, that I too, back in college, was against the whole idea. She asked me, “What changed for you?”

Somehow I was able to dodge the question, with several other Moms in the conversation, but this particular woman, would not let the question fall. She asked again, “What changed for you, to have children in the end?”

The image of my Hero Husband immediately popped into my mind, his smile, his blue eyes, his sense of humor, his chivalry, his nobility. And then I made eye contact with this persistent Mom. I said simply, “I met the man of my dreams.” and I shrugged my shoulders. It all changed for me, then, the world was different, the future changed shape, my attitudes, my stubbornness, it all melted. I realized meeting him, and marrying him would change my life in a million different directions. He challenged me to look at the reasons why I wanted a particular, materialistic future. Why did I want to focus my life on the surface elements, and not on something deeper, truly meaningful.

He encouraged me to think it through, to look for a truer fulfillment, deeper satisfaction and ultimately finding God and His plan for me, instead of the plan I made for myself. I would be x successful by this x age, with this x dollars in the bank, independent, self-sufficient and never reliant on anyone for anything. And not have anyone rely on me either. Feminism anyone?

Now, look at me, 15 years later, I have had no salary for 11 years, I have HH’s dollars in the bank, dependent on him and on God and to boot, I have five kids relying on me and him each and every day. And get this, I’ve never been so happy. Even now, it seems surreal.

Things change. Perspectives change. What I used to see as so important, now has such little meaning. The image of what I wanted got shattered, and rebuilt. Over the course of these 11 years, it wasn’t easy to break the selfishness I had grown accustomed to. It still can resurface if I allow it. However, I can say God works in the hearts of those that have been opened because of love. HH loved me enough to open my heart, to give God’s plan a chance, and with that, God used each and every year that passed as His opportunity to make life a little less about me and more about others.

This vocation of Motherhood, is truly a calling from God, where He shows us our faults, our weaknesses and still, with a father’s love, calls us to get up again, try anew and find our happiness in His call for us. It’s not meant to be easy. It is Work to examine our own motives for why we do what we do, not just mothering decisions, but the why of every life choice.

But it’s a good Work. It can purify us. While I fully recognize the many more years, that God will use to sharpen me using my vocation as His tool, I can at the very least, acknowledge that my life is more dedicated to others than things.

God has taught a kind of generosity, that I never knew prior to being a Mother. He used my loving husband to model it, he demanded a deep giving through the needs of my children, and allowed me to view a snippet of His parental sacrifice.

We make choices every day. Me or them. Is this decision based on my need or theirs. The more times, we base even the mundane decisions on what is best for others, rather than what is best for me, the more opportunities that we give God to work….the more chances He can use us to wage the war on sin, selfishness and ultimately evil in our world.

Give Him a chance to work. Be open because of your selfless love, and be ready for God’s reward.

Copyright 2012 Sahmatwork

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