Made for More Than Moments
I recently discovered Instagram stories
They’ve been around for a minute, but I’ve mostly ignored them. I could tell you it’s because I hate the comparison game that often flows from clicking through the details of other people’s days—their crisp white walls, beautiful collections of essential oils, classical music streaming as their toddlers engage in shockingly neat sensory play, countless adventures hither and yon with babies tucked neatly in the stylish carriers on their backs.
But that wouldn’t be taking responsibility for the fact that my problem isn’t with any of that loveliness. Moms love to share, and there is nothing wrong with sharing beautiful things. I’ve also clicked through my fair share of toddler meltdowns, mommy confessions, and disheveled living rooms. But I used to focus on the tidy bits, because those were the bits that shamed me.
All of the Finally
Six months ago, you never would have caught me engaging in an Instagram story. What was I supposed to show? My overcrowded living room with its bookshelf crammed to the brim and sagging under the weight of too many books? My cluttered kitchen counters, with pots, pans, and cooking paraphernalia sprawled all over? How about my bedroom, with its never-made bed and perpetually sky-high pile of laundry?
Recently, I’ve realized the toll those disheveled facets of my life had taken on me. The almost year-and-a-half of raging PPD. The depression of an early miscarriage. The months of trying to get pregnant again, finally crowned with the blessing of another baby along with the stress, sickness, and happiness that has come with it.
I realized how these have come to define me because I’m finally past the worst of my pregnancy sickness. I finally unpacked the last box after having lived in this apartment for a year. I finally bought more bookshelves, finally have an organized kitchen (with help), and am finally enjoying my toddler instead of surviving him. I realized how gray the last two years have been because the sun has finally started peeking through the clouds.
Mother of the Year
A lot of times, my honesty can probably be misconstrued as glorifying hot-mess motherhood. I’m not trying to tell you to forget the dishes piled in the sink. I’m not encouraging you to leave the housework to your husband while you sit with your feet up. I’m not trying to say, if your six-year-old doesn’t know how to read because you’ve been sitting him in front of the TV for twelve hours every day . . . you good, girl!
What I am trying to say is that your value doesn’t lie in not doing any of those things. It doesn’t lie in having an immaculate home, satisfied husband, or genius toddler. And that’s a message that you need to hear. Not as permission to stagnate, but as encouragement for the times when you do.
Because sometimes, you will. Sometimes, your motherhood, wifehood, daughterhood, and friendhood won’t be aspirational. You’ll have seasons of darkness that spread long and wide across your life. They will steal your joy and productivity and threaten your identity. Sometimes, you’ll face periods of busyness that drive you so deep into the throes of one focus that others will fall by the wayside. Sometimes, you will not win the award for Woman of the Year, because you’ll have a really crappy year.
Woman of a Lifetime
You have a lifetime of womanhood ahead of you. Some of those moments will be Instagram-worthy and some of them won’t. Sometimes, you’ll love telling your story in real time and sometimes you’ll wait for the hindsight that allows you to see how God has worked events out for his glory.
We aren’t defined by moments or seasons. We are defined by the eternity that the Lord made us for, and the glimpses of that eternity that he has given through the life and work of his resurrected Son.
“What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of men to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:9–11).
He has made everything beautiful in its time . . .
Even when his timetable does not match our own.
I am seeing the buds of beauty blooming in my own life. And I am sharing them while they are here to share. And in the valleys to come, I will dwell on the fact that in eternity, that “time” will last forever.
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