She was about to go exploring in my cavern of a purse that was draped over the slim back of the tearoom chair. We were sipping sweet tea with my grandmother and had been watching this little one slip away while her mama simply tried to eat her salad. By the time she made it across the small room full of the downtown Atlanta lunch crowd, her sweet mother was in pursuit.
“No, no,” she swatted little hands away from my purse and turned an embarrassed face to me. “I’m so sorry.”
That’s when I got to say it. That’s when words came out that have the ability to ease and emphasize and encourage. “No big deal! I have four of my own.”
Her eyes widened a bit with that oh-goodness-I-couldn’t-do-that look I’m so familiar with. We talked idle chitchat about baby ages and stages and my sisters laughed with us about the nuances of attempting to dine with toddlers.
She went back to her party and I went back to my lunch and it was only later that I began to realize the shift that’s happening in my motherhood life.
I’ve become that mom. The one who looks like she knows what she’s doing simply because four kids in I’ve finally learned how to have more good days than bad. It’s been a slow lift in heart and soul that’s bringing me up out of the sea of motherhood I’ve been drowning in for far too long. Maybe it’s the knowledge that we are truly past that new baby stage and are coming to the edge of a parenthood that doesn’t always have a diaper bag and a sheen of exhaustion. Maybe it’s the support I have from an amazing group of women who man their own trenches of laundry and dishes and tantrums with me on a regular basis. Women who come over in the flesh for coffee and women who respond to tweets and pleas from across the continent have been helping me realize that motherhood can be messy beautiful and full of grace.
Or maybe it’s because I’m making a much more conscious effort to abide daily in the only Word that really matters. I’m writing it out, painstakingly in that pink hardbound journal a Sunday School friend sent when my grandfather died. Its pages of quiet script reveal early morning meetings with my Maker and hard scratchings out of the feelings that lie just beneath the surface of my heart. I’m pounding away trying to understand, digging deep trying to comprehend, but all I keep coming back to is simplistic truth.
Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.
Seeking to understand Jesus is like what I’m coming to realize about motherhood after nearly ten years and ten thousand wads of tissue crumpled with my tears.
It doesn’t have to be hard.
It doesn’t have to be incomprehensible.
It just has to be.
Mothering little ones is sacred, holy work no one is ever ready enough or trained enough or good enough for. It’s all grace. It’s all forgiveness. It’s all second chances, get up again and again and again and tuck the child in and whisper the story and say the love.
It’s not mean to be a frantic treading of water, but a slow swim in the deep with a great God who loves you and your children enough to give you each other.
I’m not telling you I’ve turned a corner and everyday from here on is all light and joy, but I can promise you this. If you can get your head up above water long enough to breath a good, deep breath of God’s abundance, you’ll find yourself surfacing more than drowning.
For some great resources and groups for a Christ-centered Bible study led by Godly women check out Hello Mornings and Good Morning Girls. I’m reveling in Jesus Calling right now and my Holy Bible app gets more use than Twitter. For wonderful reads on motherhood I recommend Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa Jo Baker and Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae.