Day #6 An Open Letter to the Hard Surrender
The google hangout ended and I was still smiling because I love chatting with friends and it was fun to catch up across states and time zones and busy lives. My friend Lisa Jo had invited Kristen Strong and I to participate in her book club for Surprised by Motherhood and I love her, her words ,and her heart for mamas so I readily agreed.
I have the pages scratched up with notes and underlines and dog-eared pages where I mark my place. My books are never pristine. They are always well-worn, well-loved, and often coffee stained. I firmly believe books should be like your favorite t-shirt, possibly threadbare but well lived in.
We chatted and I believe every word I said about seasons and motherhood and recognizing and calling out the things I see in my children much like Lisa Jo did for her children.
She needed to fall in like with her child and to do that meant recognizing, naming, and reframing the things in him that included a fiery temper and the ability to push all of her buttons. Reframing him as one called out and set aside even when he seemed unlikable. For her to see the potential resting in even his weaknesses and to love him not just in spite of it but because of it.
I got off my computer and refilled my coffee mug. The house was resting with an abnormal hush. My mother had taken the kids to the library so I could chat in peace for a half hour.
My house is never empty. There are always moving parts and bodies and volume. So much volume. But I sat at my kitchen table and breathed in the quiet.
I let myself imagine what it would be like to have wide open spaces in my day without the constancy of need. And I resented it.
I had just gotten off the computer after talking about seasons of motherhood and obedience and balancing that with dreams lived outside of the realm of mommy and wife and homemaker and I was willfully irritated that my kids would shuffle in soon with book bags and want me to read to them, make them lunch, pour out more of myself than I often feel I have to give.
I resented that I would transition from school hours to dinner to bedtime and everything still requires so much of me to maintain what I feared was a mundane existence. What I feared was not enough to ever fulfill me but God asked me to do anyway. Wild obedience.
So I surrendered the loss I feel trying to balance dreams that seem far off and responsibilities that seem to magnify when the drip coffee brews slow after long nights when I wake with soggy eyelids and weariness in my bones.
I surrendered to the conversations with God, my head full of questions. I surrender to the bare thoughts that come in the quiet moments bookmarked by the common and the chaos that comes with children.
I surrender to the truth that my obedience is often a manipulation, a parlor trick, an investment for a payoff and a return. I surrender to the truth that my virtue is often more about doing the right things than being right with God.
It has been a revelation and I’m not often surprised by my own emotions, my dark underbelly. I am so introspective in nature that there is rarely sin I’m festering that I haven’t willfully chosen and embraced. But this time around I was shocked to see it laid out in my kitchen in my quiet conversations with God.
You obey me but do you love me first? You obey but do you submit?
Holy heck that hurts.
That conversation hasn’t ended. God and I are talking it through. I’m repenting. It’s a process. I am releasing my confessions and asking for a rerouting of my heart. Some days it feels like a done deal and then wham, it slams into me again.
Lord, help me love your will more than my own.
God, that’s hard to do sometimes.
But it’s the reframing that’s happening. God uses everything.
He is calling me out and setting me aside, he is speaking to my weakness with grace and power. He’s believing for me. He is seeing me with a mother’s heart, seeing me with all that frustrating potential and irritating ability to push at the boundaries.
He is speaking the truth He sees over me, the loving hard kind, and the gentle nudge. He is loving me well even when I’m unlikable.
If you feel the feels and the struggles with the whole mama gig, I get you. And Lisa Jo’s is a great place to get a new perspective. She is a huge cheerleader for moms and she wrote a whole love story about motherhood that won’t guilt you or pressure you or add any burdens or to dos. It’s like a long coffee (or in her case tea) date with a girlfriend where you leave feeling refreshed, a bit lighter, and less alone, so be sure to hop over to her blog to watch the video and join in the conversation.