Motherhood is a daily invitation to die.
She had told me that, tears in her eyes and love in her touch, as she stroked my baby's soft skin and wrapped her arm around my weary shoulder.
She was a mother who had raised four godly boys and had shaped hundreds of others.
A woman whose eyes sparkled with a joy deep and sure. A woman who had died a thousand deaths to self.
I was the mom whose eyes burned red with fatigue and frustration.
The mom who was four children and one decade into parenting and still wondered how her heart could feel so empty when her hands were oh so full.
The mom who stumbled through the hours too weary to pray. Too numb to worship.
The mom whose greatest fantasy was just to crawl into bed and stay there for 1000 days.
Or until the crying stopped. The baby's or hers. Or both.
I was the mom who was tired of dying.
Tired of chasing toddlers instead of chasing my dreams.
Tired of writing grocery lists instead of penning inspiring words.
Tired of wiping skid marks of off baby bottoms instead of leaving my mark on the world.
Tired of packing diaper bags instead of vacation bags.
Tired of cutting forty little dirty toenails instead of painting mine.
Tired of Disney films instead of chic flicks.
Tired of happy meals instead of candlelight dinners.
Tired of working in the kitchen instead of working out.
Tired of one day blurring into the next.
But there she was in front of me, this woman full of life though she'd died a thousand deaths.
One who had walked the road I was walking and still had a skip in her step.
One who had given more than she'd taken. Still, she overflowed.
And though I felt like every passion inside of me had died, a flicker of desire sparked somewhere within, and I couldn't put words to the longing in my bones, but I knew this:
I wanted what she had.
When she'd stepped back and gazed tenderly into my brimming eyes, she had asked what she could do for me.
I'd swatted at a stray tear and whispered small and desperate, "Could you pray?
And I let her hold me right there in the middle of the grocery store while shoppers compared the price of cereal and chatted about the snow in the forecast.
And that mama of four handsome boys who were each following God-sized dreams had smiled a radiant smile and scooped up the toddler spinning circles around us and wiped the baby's nose with the corner of her own sleeve.
And then she'd pulled me close and whispered words that fanned a smoldering flame deep in my soul.
Father, fill this mommy with your joy. Give her strength to die to self so that Christ may live large in her. Keep her from growing weary. Whisper words of love in her ear. Tell her she is beautiful. Show her you are faithful. And may the seeds she plants as she lays herself down grow bigger and better than all of the dreams she's dared to dream. For your glory, Father. For your glory.
When she finished the prayer, the baby was crying again. My toddler had pulled off her shoes and my preschooler was tugging at my arm doing the gotta-go-potty dance.
But I felt something stirring way down inside of that dry and discouraged heart of mine.
Or perhaps something dying so that new life could bloom.
She hugged me once more and headed toward the check-out line, the wheels on her cart squeaking a happy tune.
I jostled the baby in my arms, bent to rescue the pacifier from the dirty grocery store floor, and wondered if I could learn to bow low so that His glory could rise.
The Overflow: "Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal." -John 12:24-25
Happily linking with Jennifer at Getting Down With Jesus