Something is changing, and it feels big.
I’m pretty sure that I’m feeling that painful suction and pull that comes from the leaving of one season of life and the entering into the next one. It’s kind of like molting. A little messy, a little embarrassing, a little painful even…but it’s necessary for growth and life.
I am entering my mid-thirties. This milestone has signaled a mass change in everything: my struggles, my motherhood, my perspective. It all feels so sudden and so brand new. For nearly a decade now, my struggles and motherhood and perspective have been, well, predictable…not in a monotonous or dull kind of way, just steady.
The life stage that is now coming to a close included my early-twenties to my early-thirties…the years of marriage, pregnancies, and babies. The lean years when money was short but time was plentiful. The years of attending dozens of my friends’ weddings, baby showers, and first birthday parties. The years of struggling with postpartum body image and newborn anxiety, of discovering deep joy in the midst of incredible exhaustion, of learning to let go of unrealistic Pinterest expectations. The years of discovering how wonderful of a daddy my husband is and how faithful of a pursuer my Heavenly Father is.
Those years are like a precious volume of my life that is being put back on the bookshelf, while the next unwritten volume is being opened. It is surreal. I actually have enough life under my belt to be able to look back and see real change. Real outcomes. Real movement. I can look back and see patterns of good and bad decision-making, of deliverance from unknown (at the time) potential peril, and of the guidance of the loving and steady hand of King Jesus.
And with the closing of the old volume and the opening of the next one, everything is shifting. I am in uncharted territory now. My struggles are new and surprising (and I don’t like it!), my motherhood is taking me to an unfamiliar, yet beautiful, place with my children, and my perspective on life and purpose is being chiseled by new convictions and a deeper desire to listen.
The struggles and fears of my mid-thirties are so unexpected and so unlike any other that I have ever dealt with that they scare me a little. They make me feel like maybe I don’t know myself very well. All of a sudden, deep discontent with my circumstances is creeping in. Fighting the despair I feel over the realization that I will probably never live on a farm like I had always envisioned or have the opportunity to do “XYZ” is becoming a daily, even hourly, battle.
Great joy and privilege comes with committing to homeschool 4 children, but I am struggling with longing and pining and daydreaming over what the alternative might look like. What if I worked and brought home that extra paycheck? What if I was able to go to the gym during the day? What if I wasn’t so tired at night that I was able to commit to group Bible studies? What if I was more vocal about what I wanted? These are the toxic daydreams of a discontent person. (All of a sudden I feel the need to quickly exclaim that I love my children and would gladly die for them a thousand times…this struggle has nothing to do with my love and affection for them. It is my sin.)
But where there is a new battle and a new enemy, there are new ways to fight. I am learning to counter my discontent with lots of talk and lots of reading and lots of daydreaming about Heaven. Heaven is our payday, and it is coming. But this life on this Earth, it is our time to work. Attempting to create a “Heaven On Earth” seems like a noble idea, but it only serves to disappoint. The farms and the horses and the perfect circumstances, those are all beautiful things that God my Creator has placed in my heart to love, and one day He will fulfill my desire for those things when I am at my forever Home with Him. But until then, I want so badly to be faithful to the life that He has planned for me and my family.
My youngest child (of 4) is now almost 2 years old. I can painfully admit that the baby years are coming to a close. How bittersweet! Those endless nights of waking up with my babies did, in fact, fly by. Who would have thought.
But this place that I am in now with my growing children is equally precious. And full of surprises! My oldest boys are losing teeth, growing muscles, asking lots of squeamish questions, and caring what their hair looks like. And – shock of all shocks – my oldest son is being crushed on by a little girl! But the deepest, almost inexpressible joy that I have experienced during this time of change in my motherhood has come from seeing the way King Jesus has captivated and changed the hearts of my boys.
I can hardly keep up with the excitement and newness of this season of motherhood. It is stretching me to grow with my children and to constantly double-check my own motives and priorities. Without Jesus, I am left stumped and at a total loss pertaining to all things motherhood. But with Jesus and His Word, I thrive in my motherhood.
My perspective is going through a metamorphosis not only because I am changing, but also because of the massive change going on in our world. Divisive elections, racial injustices, wars, refugees, devastating shifts from all things Biblical…there is no way to be unaffected by these complicated situations. At one point, years ago, I would have been so sure of myself regarding the how’s, why’s, and who’s of fixing our world’s problems.
But now, something is telling me that there is more listening, rather than correcting, that needs to be done. I am finding that being confident in the teachings and truths of God’s Word in no way pits me against the people around me…instead, God’s Word makes my heart cry out against injustice and seek humility first when making attempts at reconciliation. In other words, I know a lot less about everything than I ever thought I did.
Change is messy, and often we balk against it. There is a certain sadness and letting-go that comes with the passing of seasons. I will always morn the sweetness of easy days at home with babies. But because of change I am able to look back and see where God has brought me…and it is miraculous, and beautiful!
Praise Jesus that as I change and deal with all the confusion that comes with it, He does not.
Can you relate?
What season of life are you in and how has it changed you?
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