I took some time this afternoon to read journals from 16 years ago. I read of my first pregnancy and the early days of mothering one and then two little boys.
I would have guessed that I was young and immature back then. I would have told you that I have learned much since that time. I almost laugh at how naive I was in those early mothering days.
But, guess what? I really haven't changed that much. It was funny reading of the joy I felt in pregnancy, birth, and night time feedings. I loved those little ones. I have far too many pages of self-doubt, pages of goal setting, hours of heartfelt yearning to be better. I feel my desires and my strength. I was a mother who desired goodness, tried, succeeded, and failed, I still am.
My goals are exactly the same.
I knew what to do then-- and I'm still trying to be as good as I wish I were.
Then and now, I lament my selfishness, my lack of self-discipline, my tendency towards distracting time wasting. I always wish my house were cleaner, my home nicer, my time more productively spent. I wish I were a better homemaker, cook, wife, mother, daughter, and student of scripture. I want to serve others better. I hate when I'm mean or dumb. I worry about my furniture, our budget, Christmas, my extended family...
My struggles (for 16 years) have not changed!!
Maybe I'm just really slow. Maybe we're just extra behind because we had so many kids and stayed in school so long. Maybe this is just life.
Maybe I will ALWAYS yearn to be better. And, if that's true, maybe it's about time that I stop hurting because of my normal-ness.
My life is and always has been absolutely unmanageable.
I couldn't perfectly parent one child, never-mind eight.
I can't do it.
I don't have the energy, patience, or ability to do the 5,000 things that my soul yearns to do.
And, I just know that it's OK.
Christ is grateful for my effort.
He is grace. His grace makes up the difference.
I watched a beautiful video of Christ feeding the 5,000.
I watched it as I was avoiding making dinner for my own smaller crowd. I was out of meat, my house was a mess, my kids were happily making creative messes, and I felt unprepared for a busy weekend. I felt condemned and cranky that I wasn't better. To be honest, I was having a moment of complete defeat. I was sobbing in my feelings of not being enough...
In the video, Christ takes the five loaves and two fishes. He prays, "Father, thank thee for thy bounty." There was no condemnation or judgement in His voice. None. He just blessed what they had and it was enough.
Oh how those words sank deep into my soul.
15 ¶And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
18 He said, Bring them hither to me.
19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. (New Testament, Matthew, Matthew 14)
Sometimes, I have fragments. Sometimes, I have a Passover meal prepared and waiting for him to use.
And, always, He takes what I have and uses it for good.
I'm the drummer boy of servants. I give what I have even if all I have is five loaves and two fishes that need to fill 5,000.
Thank thee Father, for thy bounty.
Today, I feel filled.
I may very well spend my whole life trying to be more scheduled with my time.
I may never be perfectly kind.
I may always say things that I cringe at after the fact.
I may always have days where I cry and wish I had one child and a housekeeper.
And-- I'm OK with that.
I'm thankful for His bounty.
So thankful and FILLED.
Life is good.