"Just do the next thing." :: Momhood on the hard days


I've journaled ever since I was a kid. I write a lot of words that never make it to the blog, but sometimes I want to add bits of what's written on paper here as well. It's perhaps a bit of a different writing style (albeit more rough around the edges) but I want to add a few posts here and there none the less. Here's one from my paper journal written not too long ago. Hope you mommas out there can be encouraged-especially on the hard days. 

"Just do the next thing."

My heart is heavy for the future. My head filled with plans gone wrong. I want to retreat and not come back. To forfeit this role of motherhood for a while to more qualified hands, to women whose character is more sure than mine.

I want her to be loved well. Yet, man I crave aloneness. She wakes and my heart is weary. 'Sleep a few more minutes (or hours!), my body isn't ready for you yet.'

"Do the next thing." the wise mother says. Just do the next thing. The planner heart says its not enough, 'don't you see all the failed things already undone today!?'

But still she repeats: Do the next thing.

The next thing is willing myself back into my girl's room. Back into the gaze of a girl who gives kisses and defiance in equal measure. Back into the questions of "is this me being gracious or encouraging disobedience?" Back into the fight of fear: is choosing the show or looking down at the phone another drop in today's unmeasurable rank?

I see the confident mom and I can't figure out if we all look more confident than we feel, or if we ought to feel more confident than we are. Is confidence and peace one in the same?

The next thing is choosing to admit my humanness. It's realizing that this doesn't equate to admitting failure. Doing the next thing is silencing the lie that the quantity of my attention and creative expression and active participation is what creates a perfect god-child. She's much better than that. She's God's child, just as I am. The quicker I show her how unconditional that reality (the quicker I rest in that reality) the sooner our two fiery hearts can swell with the joy of being loved and quit the ugly fight to prove we're lovable.

Winter haunts the corners and there's a fear in me that this place will become our prison and we'll grow dark like the creeping night outside. I fear our feelings will match the color that too often greets us when we walk outside the door.

But I know better. I know that God is the beautiful of all things and that being still in His beauty is part of His workmanship. Inasmuch as going and doing, sitting and silence is His too. So, we'll learn what that means together.

There's enough grace for her today. There's enough joy left in my heart to love her well past bedtime. If I run out (which I'm prone to do) the one who loves us and is infinite in joy will refill our empty and show us how to love once again. He'll show us how to love the unloveable. He does it everyday.

I prayed a million prayers: "Make me more like you." It's funny how you gifted me a girl with a crooked tooth and blond swirly hair to do exactly that.

Loving past reason. Putting my rights on the shelf next to the need to prove to the world I'm something, Choosing to carry the cross of today with joy rather than waving a martyr flag. Wiping floors, laughing at towers fallen, making food that won't be eaten. Wash. Repeat.

I  look into her chocolate-smeared face after yet another stand-off of the wills and asking one question:

"You know I love you?"

She knows the answer.

That, today, is enough.

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