I have kept you waiting with this story because I knew it would be a long one and it's one of those stories
that is vulnerable, and dear to my heart because it changed this heart so unexpectedly and so profoundly:
I am a mom. But I never identified myself as a mom type.
For a long time I believed that it was simply how I was made. Though I was really pretty good at meeting the kids needs, and learned a lot about discipline and keeping order from Chad (my amazing husband) it was as if there was some part of me always trying to get that responsibility stuff out of the way and get on with my own thing for the day. It left me constantly cranky and frustrated from day to day trying to get time for myself and only having a bit left for me. On top of that I had an extremely hard time enjoying fun time with the kids. I didn't want to get down on the floor and play, or read a book or play a game. When the job/schooling/ feeding was done I just wanted to get some time alone to do what inspired me...and as my readers know that list could be endless...endless.
At some point it occurred to me how much I wanted my attitude to change about parenting, fully aware that I couldn't change it myself. The pain that I put on myself, and my kids, and even my husband by wanting to get them out of my way so I could do something more fulfilling started to become more apparent and really broke my heart and opened up my soul and spirit to a change that I had guarded myself against for so long.
I started to yearn for change where I could still be "me", but also the "motherly type". I started to see that maybe I missed something before. When this occurred to me I started to see the vision of myself slowly unveil as God had made me to be. A motherly type that wholeheartedly gave and loved her kids and balanced her own needs well. I remember some healing taking place in my heart and a vision that God gave me for my life with my kids. I saw myself standing in the kitchen cooking and doing my usual work and my three kids floating around me like happy clouds, the light all low and calm, everyone just satisfied. It was a vast contrast to how they had always seemed to me....hanging heavily on me from every limb, and me feeling painful under the weight of them.
Two specific things really contributed to this realization: First, I ended up with some really good mentors who poured into me and helped me get lots of healing through Christ. I started hearing his voice for the first time (absolute life changer) and getting to know Him personally through being able to talk with Him, and hear Him answer, and palpably see and feel Him work in me and others. Amazing. Just a life changer. Like any good relationship with any good being is...but, you know, this is God...the goodest.
Number two, and most surprising, I started reading "The Weigands" blog. Casey Leigh made me cringe at first, and I mean visibly. She was just so sugary about how much she loved her kids, and even though she was an artist, and didn't have a ton of money, she and her husband (with their supermodel and Ashton Kutcher looks) wanted bundles more kids. I mean, women like this were the reason I never stayed more than two days with any "mommy meet up" group. (No offense to anyone I ever met at a meet up! ) I don't even remember how I found her blog, but ewww...I hated reading it at first, but even so, something kept drawing me back. I didn't know what at first...but I know now. I couldn't see it at the time, but somewhere in her was the vision God gave me. To be a God-loving, passionate, child-snuggling parent, and a passionate inspired artist..and (maybe even) feel pretty doing it. I had been inspired by others in my past who could do this, but they were no longer in my life to encourage me. And suddenly there was one up in my face every single day (if I wanted her to be). The more I read her blog, the more it touched me in a place that I had never known was even there because of lies I had believed, and the resulting blindness the enemy put on me. It was a place in me that was slowly getting healed, as God continued to reveal the lies I had believed about myself, break them, heal my blindness, and begin to see the truth. There are few things worse than being lied to...unless it's being lied to and acting on that lie for years at a time until one day you start hearing and listening to the voice of truth...and you're free. Good thing God doesn't let any of it go to waste.
Some of the lies that I believed my whole life were as simple as mis-defining myself as only an artist-type, and not a mother type. Some were lies I believed about other mothers or the role of mothers as being annoying, stupid, sad little martyrs, non-glamorous doormats, deceived into thinking that mommyhood was what they wanted when they were missing out on their real passions. Other lies were as deep-seated and scary as being always afraid of hurting others and therefore being in an exhausted and torturous mode of constant protection...protecting others from me. What all of these lies have in common is that all of these began as suggestions about my life whispered to me by the enemy at specific points in my life (remember that whispering serpent in Eden?) and I grabbed onto them as truth at those times and held them throughout my life. It wasn't until I allowed God to shine the light into the darkness that the truth about them (and me) were brought to the daylight and I saw them for what they really were. It wasn't until I started seeking God on the truth about my motherhood that it occurred to me that all those lies had my mothering in common. And I praise God for his redemption because if I had continued believing those lies, not only would I have been a miserable human constantly trying to fill the mother-shaped hole in myself with artistic endeavors that could never fill them, but, even worse, while I was busy doing that Satan would be filling my own kids mother-shaped hole in them with whatever he could conjure to destroy them. He really does "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8) I'm proof of that. But Jesus "himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."(1 Peter 5:10b). And I'm also proof of that too.
It was when my youngest son, Vander, was still a baby that this healing began in me. And I love to think about how God's timing works if you let him do it because there was no way I could prepare for Vander...and it was his coming in many ways that spurred and that solidified change in me. God works in mysterious ways...and many times, much like he did with something as big as the redemption of humanity, those ways start with a tiny baby.
(continued...Part 2- Vander's story)