It all started with a decently successful shopping trip with four littles. It was going well enough that I decided to add a clearance entry way rug to my already teetering pile of groceries as we careened through the store. I was doing pretty well with this whole “motherhood” thing.
Then we got home.
Wouldn’t you know those cuties decided not to follow our “grocery procedure.” They didn’t stay where they were supposed to stay and they touched things they weren’t supposed to touch and they destroyed things they weren’t supposed to destroy. You get the idea.
I finally got all the groceries in and put away, and all the children settled to the places they were supposed to settle. It was quiet time so I sat down at the piano. I was rifling through books, just wanting something to be able to play through. I grabbed a familiar book, opened it, and began to play. Memories came flooding back and suddenly I was 15 again, playing this very song in front of a woman who would offer me my first scholarship for piano performance.
We got through quiet time, play time, reading time, and lunch time. I got one cutie to preschool and the rest to nap. Naptime. Here is my big chunk of time to shine. Glorious naptime.
I unrolled the new rug, determined to finish up the entry way before hubby got home that evening. About halfway through my project as I sat there sweating and disheveled, I realized that I wasn’t loving the look. I wasn’t loving the direction the new rug was taking it. I wasn’t loving the overall effect that the next steps would have. So, I spent the rest of naptime sitting. Sitting. Bemoaning the fact that, an interior decorator, I definitely am not.
I’ll spare you all the details and just give you a little fast-forward version of the rest of the day.
Loading kids in the car = sweaty mess.
Bad report at school. Wondering how in the world to handle all the finer points of an older child in our home.
Arguing kiddos in the car.
A snack time full of the wrong kinds of childhood silliness.
Get one melting down kid to visit with biological parents.
Painstakingly work through homework with another melting down kid.
Keep all the others from running wild.
Throw supper together.
Get all the kids loaded up, tags printed, dispensed to various classes at Wednesday night church.
I was worn out. Discouraged. Not sure which way was up anymore. I was trying desperately to accomplish at least one things “right” in this crazy life so I made the decision to run to some thrift stores to see if I could find the perfect furniture item to finish up that darn entryway instead of spending that time in quiet study like I had planned.
Let’s just say those shopping trips were fruitless. Hubby called after having a very long day of work. Kids needed picked up. And worship team was playing as I entered the church – yet another reminder of a past chapter in my life.
I cried all the way home. The kids were confused. I was confused. Why is it so hard to get this “wife and mother” thing right? I’ve excelled in all my other roles in life. I’ve figured out what needed to be done and I’ve done it! But somehow the wife and mother gig is one of the strangest mixes of the overwhelmingly mundane and the shockingly chaotic. A mixture that I just cannot conquer. I cannot figure out.
And I cried.
I didn’t know where I “fit” anymore. I excelled in none of my roles. And I had moved past any previous roles where I had excelled. To top it all off, my home was now more of a mess than it had been when hubby dearest left for work because now I had a halfway finished and unloved project in the entryway.
Who was I? And what in the world was I doing traipsing through this life causing chaos wherever I went?
The answers didn’t come until the kids were all in bed and I was crying myself to sleep later that night. Crying and hurling these questions at God until the hardness of my heart softened enough to listen. Soft words. Gentle truths. Humbling realizations.
I am not here because of me or to further my glory by becoming my version of excellent in whatever role I am in. I have not been placed on this earth to have perfect shopping trips with any number of littles or perfectly performed piano pieces to dazzle crowds. I’m not here to decorate houses immaculately or to impress everyone with how wonderfully my children behave. I was not given these years to have a life that runs smoothly or to be involved in ministries that put my gifts and abilities on display.
None of these things are wrong and most are beautiful demonstrations of God’s glory, but none of these are the focus. None of these are the most important. None of these are the identity.
My focus is to be God’s glory. The important things are loving Him and loving others. And my identity is Christ. My life is actually hidden with Christ Jesus. In God. Hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3) Beautiful. Wonderful. Powerful. And the weights of perfection and success and worldly excellence are suddenly rolling off of my shoulders. Suddenly my world is righted and everything falls back into place. Suddenly peace is rippling through my tired body and a smile is lifting my tear-stained cheeks.
This isn’t about me.
It never has been and it never will be.
The joy is returning and my purpose is renewed. I am here to accurately present Christ to a watching world. To love Him fiercely and to love others the same way. To beautify the gospel of His amazing grace.
And, as unachievable as those things are in my own human flesh, I remember. I remember that I am hid with Christ in God. I am hidden. Hidden in Perfection and wrapped in Omnipotence.
I can sleep in peace. Wake up with renewed passion.
My identity is no longer clouded and muddled by views of myself. My gaze is upward. My vision is clear.
I am hid with Christ in God.