Think back to when you were a kid. What do you remember the most? Camp outs in the backyard? Popsicles on the porch on a warm summer day? Christmas traditions? I remember, this is so funny, the smell of the kerosene heater when the power would go out in the winter and snuggling to keep warm. I remember the sound of the Temptations, The Righteous Brothers, Smokey Robinson, and many more in the back of our van as we watched movies on our long trips to family vacations ( and I can still sing most of the words). I remember eating fresh blue crabs at the beach with my dad and mom, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. I remember macaroni and cheese and cauliflower with mayonnaise and cheese and other scary foods like Spam at my great grandmother’s house. I remember playing princesses and princes with my brothers and neighbors. I remember feeling safe and secure and all that came from love not from things.
Sometimes, I think, rather I know, our culture has it backwards. We are so busy chasing the American dream that we miss the forest for the trees. It’s never the things that make you feel complete. It’s the time. It’s the love. It’s the stability of hearing the same phrases over and over and now repeating them to your kids because you know they are true. I don’t think money or things are bad, but I think we get so busy trying to give our kids a better life that we forget that giving them a better life comes from being truly present with them. And I am speaking all of this to myself. All of my blogs are meant to preach to me, because unless I say something out loud, I often don’t feel it become cemented in my heart.
A friend posted this in a mom’s group I’m in the other day, and wow, what a reminder. This thing we call motherhood, though it is hard, and it is hard on some days, is such good work. And honestly as much as it is for our kids, it is for us too! It provides us the stability and love that will keep us strong and fulfilled until we go to be at home with Jesus. I think we get so caught up in the selflessness of it that we forget that it sustains us, too. I want to be old and wrinkled with Joel by my side and our house full of our kids and grandkids who love to be there. But how do we create that? Time and being present. Time is not hard for me, but oh that being present thing….it gets me. Anyone else? My mind could be thinking of dinner or what I have to do next week instead of the book I am reading to my kids or the puzzle we are putting together. No one is going to make your life, you have to go after it with all the love you’ve got.
But I believe that when you give yourself away, and that it scary I know, you find yourself. It seems so scary, right? Like will I lose myself? The answer is a resounding no! You will find your heart in giving it away to others. Now don’t get me wrong. You should be wise in who you invest in and boundaries are necessary, but your kids and your husband and your family and your friends will make life worth living. Give yourself away to the people that matter. Forget the things. They will take care of themselves, but investing in others makes life more full. It won’t cause you to lose yourself.
I want to stability and love and security and mom and dad and friends for my kids. I don’t want to give them everything! I want to leave more in them than I could ever leave to them! But that is my job that only Jesus can help me with! So Jesus I need help to be fully present, to play and be messy, to say yes at the right time and no at the right time, to balance work with play, and to let love be the driving force of my life in my relationship with you, my husband, my kids, my relationships, and my career! Help not to miss it chasing something that doesn’t matter!