Some Things Remain Constant
Hello moms. It’s been a minute since I’ve landed here to share with you, but not for lack of trying. I’d create a post or podcast, and then the next moment, everything in the world would change. I don’t have to enumerate the changes here. We’ve all been living through global and deeply personal ones. Those constant changes left me struggling to say anything that would be relevant to everyone. Each person's experiences this many months have been so unique and constantly varying that I felt my thoughts might not serve enough of you. So I rarely shared them.
One common experience we did share, however, is that most of us, at some point, have felt stripped down to our studs. Almost none of us could rely on the “same old, same old” that usually gave us a sense of rhythm and support to our days. The constant changes and uncertainties had us doing the best we could with whatever the circumstances brought our way.
I too had to find my equilibrium each moment of each day, and attend to all the challenges of the constant flux between responding to change, as well as the impotence of the holding patterns we are all living in so many ways.
Yet as I access the situation, I realize some things didn’t change, and by sharing them here, I’m hoping they may resonate with you in a way that brings a bit of peace.
The first is God. He is unchanging and steadfast. The storms of this world can cloud my vision at times, but He is still present. He is always loving us, available to us, and working for our good. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Sometimes we are being called to look harder to find Him or understand His directions, but He and His unending love are present.
Also unchanging for me, and most moms, is my love for my family. That love causes me to look beyond my reactions and instead intentionally prioritize what is needed to keep each of my loved ones as healthy - spiritually, mentally, and physically- as possible in the midst of whatever we are dealing with in the moment. As circumstances change from day to day, each family member's needs and reactions (fear, worry, hope, frustration, excitement, impatience, anger, etc.) change with them. Having to live with that can rock a mom’s world! I’ve learned to ask myself, “What can I do to keep this person as stable as possible and feeling as loved as possible in each of these areas?”. This practice gives me sound structure through all the continually changing situations. I can look at the tantruming child, the lonely, frustrated teenager, the worried young adult and ask myself (or ask them) what this person needs to feel loved, and a bit physically, spiritually, or mentally better, right now.
But to be honest, I, like many of us, don’t always feel up to the challenges. We’re all trying to cope with our own emotions and needs, unending list of tasks, and then, because we’re moms, we have to deal with everyone else’s too! It’s hard. Sometimes it is very, very hard. Sometimes we don’t feel up to it all, and certainly not all on our own. When I feel that way, I remind myself to go to that ever-present, unchanging God and pour out my heart as honestly and totally as I can. Then, I ask Him to give me whatever virtues I need to do the next thing He’s asking me to do through the needs of the family He’s given me.
Do I need more kindness, a more nurturing spirit? Do I need more bravery for the next right thing? Would a better sense of humor serve well at the moment? Of course, the most essential virtue to ask for is wisdom. These virtues can only come from God,
and I have to ask for them and the strength to exercise them bit by bit, moment by moment.
I also ask Him for the grace to say I’m sorry to Him and my family members when I fall short if I’ve let fear, and all it brings with it, overtake my strength and conviction to love the way my children and husband need to be loved. Pride can make that hard to do sometimes. But if I keep talking to God about it -even if it’s just grumbling to God about the situation or person- He always works with me and shows me what I can do differently to make the situation better. Then he graces me with the virtue of humility, which frees me to take the next steps He needs me to take.
I cannot parent my children or love my spouse well on my own, and they are not my own to love. They are His, and I’m called to be His hands and feet and heart in their lives and to love them with His love.
Whether it’s the little day-by-day struggles of being a mom or the huge life-altering ones, I want you to know that it is ok to not be enough. Only God can be enough. We just have to keep inviting God in, ask Him to give us whatever we need to take the next small step He and our family need us to take, then take that small step. Repeat.
My heart is with you as you take the next small step you need to take, to love your people well.