Tuesday, June 4, 2013

ride the wave

Motherhood can be a strange ride.

There are the whole crazy pregnancy and post-partum stages, where strange things are happening to your body that you have absolutely no control over. Then there's the part where you actually have to, you know, mother. The other morning I was feeling frustrated by the pile of pants that don't quite fit just yet, lamenting the loss of my Pregnancy Hair, and..what's that? You aren't familiar with Pregnancy Hair? Well, it's a glorious condition wherein your head decides for whatever odd hormonal reason not to shed and you end up with thick, luxurious hair that does wonderful things. As with all good things, Pregnancy Hair too must come to an end. Unfortunately this happens when your head decides it no longer wants all that wonderful hair and so it all starts coming out with reckless abandon. For someone who has a thing about hair (be it mild phobia or major pet peeve) this is a very unwelcome process during an already chaotic time.

So anyway, there I am feeling totally creeped out by the amount of hair I'm shedding, while also realizing my favorite pants still look a little more like they were saran-wrapped onto my body than I'd prefer, and we're getting dangerously close to "woe is me" territory. Then my sweet boy, who has been hanging out on my bed, starts smiling and cooing up a storm, and I remember how very lucky I am. I throw on a pair of pants that allow me to breathe and go about my life. Cut to last night, when I spent an hour putting Lorelei to bed and the scales of motherhood felt perfectly balanced. We took our time reading, laughing, tickling, and relaxing (or "belaxing" as she currently calls it). We chatted and played and prayed and my sweet girl told me how much she loved me and went right to sleep. I was so aware of how sweet that moment was, so thankful to have time to bond with my girl. And then this morning we were back to an 11 out of 10 on the crazy meter with tantrums and yelling and crying and holycowhowisitonly8am.

My first instinct is to compare these early years of motherhood to a roller coaster. It's a crazy ride, with twists and turns and a few stomach-churning drops and most of the time someone is screaming and/or holding on for dear life. It's thrilling, fun, anxiety-inducing, and it's so fast and furious you might miss it if you blink. And yes, these times can feel pretty much just like a roller coaster. Yet as I seek to create balance for our family and make it through these years as gracefully as possible, another image comes to mind. I'm trying to think of motherhood less like riding a roller coaster and more like riding a wave. Waves are powerful and strong and they can knock you over and drag you out to sea if you aren't prepared for them. But when you are prepared, when you see them coming, you can put yourself in the position to ride with awareness and skill, to come out on the other side having accomplished something rather than having been strapped in and dragged around the track someone else built.

It takes practice. It takes focus and hard work. It takes self-sacrifice and more than a few falling flat on your face moments before you find your balance. Unlike a roller coaster, it's about equipping yourself for the ride with skills that will last you a lifetime. I have to say, many days I still feel like I'm on a roller coaster. I fall into bed exhausted, wondering if I accomplished anything good that day, other than keeping us all fed and free of injuries requiring a trip to the hospital. Riding a roller coaster can be defeating. Riding a wave, on the other hand, can be rewarding.

It's not a perfect analogy, but I think God wants me to do more wave-riding than roller coaster-riding. I see that when I prepare my heart by spending time in prayer, in the Word, and in a healthy spiritual community that I am acquiring the skills to overcome even the biggest, scariest, most powerful waves. I can't help but picture the disciples in a boat during the midst of a life-threatening storm, totally freaking out and losing it while Jesus slept beside them (Matthew 8:23-27). When they woke him, it took only a word to silence the storm. He simply spoke and it was so! Because of the gospel, that power is just as available to us now as it was to the disciples then. God will equip us, by His power, to ride the waves coming our way. My prayer for myself and my family as we continue to seek peace in our home is that I would draw on the power of the resurrected Christ to help me gracefully weather the stormy moments instead of strapping myself in and hoping for a good ride!

Oh and Mom? I love you! Thanks for everything. :)


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