Why mothering?

I am not a traditional mom.  I’m not an outstanding cook; I hate shopping; I don’t do crafts unless I have to; and I’m a full-time seminary student.  This is not typical in Mennonite circles.  People often look at me a little side-ways when I describe my life as a “stay-at-home” mom.  And it’s not unusual for me to feel like I don’t quite belong when I get together with other young Christian moms.

So, if I’m not drawn to the normal mom stuff, why did I choose to have children?  And why am I staying at home with them?  Some days, I’m not sure, to be honest.  I don’t really feel like I’m good at this mom stuff a lot of the time.  I had no strong inner urging to have children.  I kinda liked my independence, really.  On top of that, I often wondered about all the children around the world who needed love and were not receiving it— why bring more children into the world and not share our love with children who are already here?  We could always adopt one of them, right?

But we were getting close to 30, and having kids seemed like the right thing to do at that point in life.  So we did it… and not without some effort.  It took us a year to get pregnant with our daughter, Heidi.  Ben came a little easier, two years later.  And I would do the same thing over again, were I given the chance.  I still have a conviction about all the unloved children in our world. Perhaps someday I will be able to act on that conviction… but these two children, of my flesh and bone, are a gift beyond measure, not only to me and Jon… to the world.

I have discovered that mothering is a crucible.  God is refining me and purifying me in ways that I never imagined, and that I often resist.  I want to be left alone. I don’t want to have to look at my failings every day– my short temper, my desire for control, my impatience and self-centeredness.  I don’t want to give until my spirit feels empty and my body is exhausted. I don’t want to change another diaper, get another meal on the table, do the laundry for the millionth time or clean the house again.  I don’t want to take my daughter to every birthday party or put on the CD for Ben for the twentieth time today so he can dance around the family room.  I don’t want to go shopping again because the kids’ clothes are too small.  I want to read my books, write my blog posts and talk to my friends. I want to preach and lead worship.  I want to go on retreat with my friends and think profound thoughts. I want to play the piano or enjoy a cup of coffee without being interrupted.  I want.

God wants.  I’m being purified. I love teenagers… preschoolers, on the other hand, I could take or leave.  I used to find them mostly annoying, but now I’m seeing the wisdom of children.  God’s wisdom.  My fast-paced me-centered world is being deconstructed.  My kids slow me down, show me joy, introduce me to new experiences and people, and they make me look in the mirror.  Mothering makes me face myself, and all I can do is fall down in front of Jesus and beg for healing.  The crucible of motherhood shows me my beauty and ugliness all at once, and I know my own helplessness.  It brings me to my knees before God, and I know I need to stay here… until I’m pure. Until I die, or my Lord comes back to take me home and I’m made new.

My daughter and son. Mine. But not mine. A gift from God. The mark they will make with their lives will be unique because they are of me and my husband… I hope and pray my wounded and imperfect mothering will bring them to Christ and not drive them farther from His Love.  God’s will be done in their lives, on earth as it is in Heaven.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Joey
    Mar 13, 2008 @ 01:31:12

    To become a good parent to our child is really a big trial for us. For me, our children usually are not the ones who become lost, it’s us parents who sometimes get derailed from our tracks. We just need to keep aligned to our values and morals and hope that “leading by example” would take its natural course.

    Good luck to you and your husband.


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