One Saturday afternoon while having lunch at Chick-fil-a, the twins bounced back and forth between playing in the play zone and taking tiny bites of chicken nuggets. It probably took over an hour to get through a 4-count meal but we just went with the flow of the fun happening around us. As I was packing up all three girls another mother stopped me and said she had been watching us and my girls are beautiful. They are clean, calm and it just looks like you have it all together. I smiled. “Thank you.”
That moment absolutely fed every distortion I have about trying to tackle this role of motherhood. She saw a glimpse of calm in what I consider to be madness. She kindly offered her perspective based on a small point of time. I could have stopped with my “thank you” but I felt the need to be more honest. As she commented that she is the mother of three boys I understood why my crazy looked lovely. I just looked at her and said, “girl, I go to bed exhausted every night, wondering how we made it through another day.” Solidarity. I shared my pain, I feel your pain. I’m no different than you are.
Let’s be honest, when someone acknowledges that all your hard work adds up to achieve your goal of “having it all together” it feels good. But the truth is I was a mess. I cannot guarantee the girls even had a bath the night before. Cute clothes can cover a multitude of flaws. I hadn’t had a full night’s sleep in months. Our biggest hope was being in public without the girls using any special four letter words. So when I heard that affirmation of “you’re doing well” I recognized it wasn’t what I was really after.
What it really touched in me was this desire to be seen, known and have someone in my boat. I don’t want to be in a boat that looks like it has it all together when truth is my head is barely above water. I wanted her to know I can relate to the chaos of three littles and while boys are undoubtedly different than girls, this glimpse of togetherness she sees is not reality. I am tired. Sometimes I lose my patience. Sometimes I cry because I cannot imagine how we are going to get through the night, much less the week, months or years. Stranger, I want to hug your neck and say I see you, I feel your pain and I am right here with you.
I find myself more than ever longing for community, people that know me and love me even when I’m ugly. This new stage in life has stirred that desire more as I am recognizing that I have greater needs – sometimes I just need help. I don’t expect everyone to understand why we do what we do or how we got into this place but I do long for the people around me to support what we believe is our calling right now. I gain such strength when you offer encouragement and support, knowing that you are praying for us and our girls. It gives me hope and a sense of team. Recently, I had a friend who cannot understand where we are coming from, question why we still have these girls. The thought of this being somewhat open-ended shocked her and she was clearly not on our page of this story. Honestly, it hurt me to have to defend why we are committed to these girls. Feelings of being misunderstood and doubt plagued me.
Why am I doing this?
Later that evening I was catching a look at a music video I shared recently of Bethel Music’s It is Well. The girls wanted to watch it too so I put it on the TV. Immediately they were engulfed in the song, dancing and trying to sing along. Sissy says she wants to learn to sing up there like her. She wants her sister to be with her too. She said that we (mom & dad) could sit in the chair. “What chair do you want mommy?” Baby girl, we will be on the front row!
As we sat and watched our girls singing, dancing and dreaming of being big, our hearts melted. This is what it’s all about. We are raising girls that will know love. I dream of them growing to know the deep love of the father that is crafting their story, pursuing their hearts and longs for relationship. I want them to experience worship and grow up to lead others to the throne of God. I hear the sounds of heaven touching earth.
We are in this for eternity; not for fun, not for extra credit but for a chance to impact eternity. I can’t expect everyone to understand that, especially those that have no concept of the larger story. All I can do is hope that in the midst of our craziness they see love – a love that is worth the pain, the chaos and the sacrifice. And if it happens to look like we have it all together, then praise God 🙂