Three little boys are sitting in my living room this morning as I am babysitting for family friends. (No worries these are three very well behaved boys!) One is building a town with blocks and the other two are watching the cartoon “Transformers.” I don’t think this cartoon has ever graced our screen before. So unfamiliar. Lots of brown and red and black colors. Deep, throaty voices. Being the mother of three girls, I am lost. Where are the pretty pink and purple colors?! Where are the ponies and strawberries?? Smile…
As I sit with them, reading my Lysa blog post about ‘no more unglued mama mornings,’ from deep within my heart a thought surfaces. A thought that has been bubbling up for me now and again lately as I spin to meet needs in my home: I feel like a maid.
I wasn’t really even praying. I was just thinking. But immediately the words “No, a servant” blew my self-pitying train of thought off its tracks. Honestly it’s not the first time I have sensed the Lord challenging my attitude. The truth is this summer has not been one of most glorious mothering for me. Three girls, one a baby, all together. All day long. Every day. So many days I feel like I can’t get my bearings. Some days end in exhaustion and with a bad attitude. I know I’m not alone. And I’m so thankful God sends encouragement my way. (Like Lysa’s blog this week) My family is the greatest gift of my life and my most important investment. I know inside that the servant words God is speaking to me are about my heart. His heart. Jesus came to serve, the Bible says, not be served.
This morning as I read Lysa’s words about mothering being the most “stretching” thing she’s ever done, I completely identify with her (I’m sure if you are a mom, you do, too!). It’s the best and hardest thing ever. It’s choice after choice after choice, some small and some huge, to do what is best for them over what is easiest for you. Remember when we were kids and playing with our chewing gum? We would take it and stretch it as far as we could until holes popped up in the middle. That’s what it feels like sometimes. Awesome analogy, I know.
I wouldn’t trade my gum-stretching life for anything or anyone else’s. But I would trade my ability to do it for someone else’s sometimes. I just want to be perfect at it, you know. Smile. Wait, frown. I can’t be perfect. I can only keep going, every day over and over, to the only One who is perfect.
So, writing is a stop and go kind of thing for me most days. The kids (my girls are all up now) are tearing down the block town. Bickering a little about who gets what toy and a couple have bolted for a better time outside in the yard. As I glance up to the T.V. screen, it’s filled with dump trucks and cars. Blue, yellow, grey and black. Still no ponies or strawberries or cute little animals. Talking front-loaders in their place. “Transformers” gave way to this new show. “The Adventures of…” I’m not sure who.
I guess the reminder for me this morning is that God is my Transformer. The colors of my season may seem unfamiliar. Less comfortable. My heart screams, Where are the ponies?! Where are the strawberries?! I don’t know about front loaders and robots! God, I don’t know how to do all of this and keep a genuine smile on my face at the end of the day! Why should something I want to do well be so darn hard?
Maybe because in the middle of the stretching, the holes that pop up in my ability, the Transformer is at work. Maybe smack-dab in the middle of my self-pity and feeling like “the maid” is where He plans a transformation. A maid mindset for a servant’s heart. See, the truth is I feel like I used to have a servant’s heart. And seeing the truth of what is now, not what used to be, has been tough to do around the pride and self-pity blinding my vision.
Is it tough sometimes being a mom? A wife? The “heart of the home?” You know it is. Sometimes I think it’s the single most transforming catalyst for Jesus-desperation and character building known to the common woman. There’s no glory, you know what I’m saying? No accolades. No letters to follow a title. Nope. My office is, well there isn’t one. Except a locked bathroom perhaps, to exhale and cry and get it back together. Life goes on. It keeps coming. There is no clocking out. No vacation days.
But in the midst of it all are moments that fill us up and give us the fuel to keep at it, imperfect as we are. For me, it’s the doe-eyed look of my brown-eyed girl with the long hair hanging over her shoulders. The sparkle in Rivers’s animation as she shows me her latest invention or drawing. And Leighton’s light-up-the-world smile. It’s bright like sunshine. Really, it’s that bright. Give me a moment or two of them all together, laughing and playing and enjoying each other, and I’m reduced to complete gratitude.
For a while in my life God used me in leadership and ministry at my church. Oh the things He did in my life and heart in that season. It was a season of growth and fruit and revelation for me. Promises made and kept by a God I fell for in new ways and to new depths. But I sense, deep down inside, that God is still at work growing me and revealing Himself to me in the middle of this gum-stretching summer of haste and sour attitudes (mine). In a sense He is revealing me to me. This may not be a season of harvesting promises and seeing sweet fruit. This may be a season of tilling the ground, pulling up weeds and preparing the soil of my life for whatever is next. For the tomorrows of my family.
One day to the next, right in the middle of a regular life, is where He works. It must be true because even though I’m not exactly who I want to be yet, I’m not who I used to be, either. Thank You Father, for being a God of robots and dump trucks as well as clouds and unicorns. In every season You are our Transformer.