I was unprepared for how intensely private mothering is. So much of it is just you and your baby, behind closed doors. When I go grocery shopping I love to push Judah around in the cart, taking pleasure in the passing glances he gets from admiring strangers. They see a happy, (mostly) organized mama and a happy, (sometimes) calm baby.
There are so many private battles within our home that seem to determine the nature and character of my work and life. I’m not talking about my battles with Judah (although there are some of those, of course!). I’m talking about all the battles I fight in my own heart to be the person I’m supposed to be and the mother Judah needs. I face a million opportunities, all day long, to choose life or choose death. And all day long Judah is directly affected by my choices. He is completely helpless in this. He is not only unable to remove himself from my choices, but he is also entirely unaware of his position of helplessness. If I choose not to love him the way he needs to be loved he suffers, whether he knows it or not.
I am sobered and humbled by this reality. I know I can’t change it. That’s the way God made parenting. What else can I do but pray for mercy, over and over and over?
It occurred to me that being a parent, though perhaps a more stark reality, is no different than any other calling. We fight battles in our hearts every day, all day long. We either choose life or death and others are always affected by our decisions, whether we like it or not.
Sometimes I live in the big questions of calling and career and my place in this world. I will probably always wrestle with those questions from time to time. Now, however, I’m living in the day to day battles – a different sort of calling, just as important and just as tiring in its demand for perseverance. My mom would say, “Honey, you have to live there and you have to live here.”
I came across a quote this morning. You know how sometimes a sentence or paragraph will suddenly shine a big spotlight into your heart and something that was dark for so long is suddenly illuminated? This simple paragraph helped me to see where I should be living, as a rookie mom.
“Every kingdom work, whether publicly performed or privately endeavored, partakes of the kingdom’s imperishable character. Every honest intention, every stumbling word of witness, every resistance of temptation, every motion of repentance, every gesture of concern, every routine engagement, every motion of worship, every struggle towards obedience, every mumbled prayer, everything which flows out of our faith-relationship with the Ever-Living One, will find its place in the ever-living heavenly order which will dawn at His Coming.”