If I Could Sit Down and Chat With My Younger Self

When I was carrying my first babe, I decided that about six months in, of my belly growing out big, that I would shut the computer down at the office, and clean out my desk drawers and just work from home. Only, I didn’t have a boss anymore. And I didn’t have any deadlines. Or a paycheck. Or emails to keep me busy.

I just had me and my little babe stretching me out, and my house to clean and some food to cook.

Honestly, it was overwhelming. I was so tired already. And how was I supposed to know what to do everyday? No one was there to assign me any tasks. No one was around to tell me if I was being successful or not. Well, there was Brent. But, he was figuring out what it meant to have a stay at home wife, so he encouraged me as best as he could, but I still felt a bit lost.

I missed the grown-ups. I missed someone spelling out my work for me. And then I had another kid and I was even more tired. I had no idea how tired I was until a few years went by and my health was a little better and my body wasn’t so depleted from carrying babies and nursing them.

I just needed someone to fix me breakfast. Oh man. Breakfast was the hardest. I’d wake up and stumble to the coffee pot, after nursing my baby through the night, and my one and a half year old would be yelling for food from his high-chair. I fried eggs as fast as I could and tripped over the baby toys in the floor. Then I sat down, sort of numb and groggy and tried to nurse my infant, while scooping piles up for my toddler to shovel in his mouth. I sipped the coffee and tried plotting out my day, but all I could think of, was when I could get back to bed for a nap.

Those years were hard. I remember one of my best friends stopping by for a visit. She sat at the kitchen table over lunch and asked me what it was like being a momma. “It’s good. But, it’s exhausting. Things are sort of a mess around here. I’m sorry about that.” She looked down at my kitchen floor. It must have been pretty bad, because she immediately got up, grabbed the broom and started sweeping piles of cheerios and dirt and crumbs. It was humbling.

I made it through.

But, not without some lifelines.

Thankfully, a friend emailed, just about the time my first born, Gideon, was learning to sit up by himself, and asked if I’d meet her and another friend once a week to pray.

I didn’t know what a comfort and help those times together would be for me. What a gift to know, somewhere in the week, I’d show up at my friend’s house and we’d all stammer out our struggles and we’d learn to process life together and then take each other to the throne of grace. The kids would come in and interrupt, more times than we could ever count. But, that’s okay. At least we knew we weren’t alone.

Back when I was just a rookie momma, I’d have this one daydream. I thought of it when I lay in bed at night. . I wished, really wished there were these very helpful professional people somewhere, in front of a desk, with a laptop and a printer, and all you had to do was go up to them and ask them, what exactly it was that you were supposed to do that day. And they’d just print off this nice little to-do list for you, and all you had to do was do those specific tasks, check them off, and then you could know that you had accomplished the things you most needed to accomplish.

Again, I wanted everything to be spelled out. I wanted it in black and white. I wanted to know my worth and value. I wanted it measured out on paper so I didn’t have to wonder.

But, instead, I just had to struggle through. I had to cling to Jesus. I had to keep going to Him to ask Him things. I had to live lots of days with a wrecky house. (I still do.) I had to learn that I could invite friends over, anyways. That they weren’t coming to see my house, so much. They were coming to see me. It was okay if the end tables hadn’t been dusted in weeks. Months. It was okay if there were smudges on the windows. I just tried to at least make sure the toilets were clean.

And then I had another kid. And then another. And I relaxed. Some. I learned to stop eating so much sugar, because that was making me tired. I learned to go for walks, so I could breathe. I learned that I have to eat a good protein breakfast. And keep the protein going throughout the day. And that it’s okay to put a movie on for the kids and take naps when you’re tired, because someday you won’t be so tired, and then, maybe then you can do more things.

But, mostly, through all these mothering days, I’m learning that my Father God is a very real Presence, here with me in this house. Here with me, when I’m resting. And when I’m sitting quietly on the couch in the mornings, sipping coffee, hoping my kids don’t wake up early again. He’s here with me when I’m striving. When I’m thinking that if I just get this done, and that done, and then that, then I’ll be okay. He’s constantly here, calmly nudging,

“Maggs. I am Peace. Your Peace. Available to you, right now. My Holy Spirit is an energizing Presence. You can tap into Me any time to help you with your life. I knit you together when you were in your momma’s tummy and I called you by name. I’m helping you become. Keep your hand in Mine, love. Eyes on Me. Keep talking to Me. I know you feel very caterpillarish in this world, but your old skin is sloughing off. You’re breaking free. Becoming new.”

I know I haven’t been a momma for a super long time, but sometimes I wish I could sit down with my younger mother self and tell myself these things. I’d take that girl by the shoulders and look kind into her eyes, and bless her, like I’ve learned to bless myself now,

“I bless you with Christ’s love. I bless you to be filled up with His joy. I bless you with His peace to carry you and see you through. This moment. I bless you patience, Maggie. Be patient with yourself. It’s slow and grueling, but you really are becoming who God intended you to be.”

Blessing myself with the fruits of Christ’s Spirit has brought me a great amount of peace.

In those early days of mommahood, someone introduced me to Ann Voskamp’s blog. That lady mentored me. (Still does.) It was like having a very loving someone sit down at the table with me, and care for my worn-out soul. Someone to tell me it’s going to be okay and to keep treasuring all these moments because they do fly. Someone who taught me a little more what it means to follow Jesus in my ordinary life.

This is my hope for the new coming year, specifically in this space.  I want to speak some life and hope into some folks like that dear lady has helped me.

Make it so, Father God! Fill us up with more of You. Let our days, however long and hard they may feel, be saturated with Your grace and peace.

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