I find myself incapable of resisting the delectable combination of chocolate and peanut butter, tickling tiny toes, and completing multiple choice personality tests.
Perhaps it’s the puzzle of trying to figure out what I have in common with a pair of cotton pajamas, a Golden Retriever, and a Daffodil that swells the intrigue? Or maybe it’s because I have never taken one that lived up to its promise of defining me? Regardless the why, and despite the let downs, I still take the tests.
The most recent was the highly unscientific ditty What Punctuation Mark Are You? The title screams DO NOT TAKE ME SERIOUSLY. But still, I checked five boxes and I read that I was most like a comma. Sadly, yet not surprisingly, this test didn’t “get me,” either. Now, the comma and I are tight, but no piece of punctuation sums me up better than the question mark.
Why the question mark? For starters, I operate with caution. Although an adventurous streak courses through my veins and predictable is not on my calling card, I invest considerable thought in the decisions that fall under my jurisdiction. Another reason is that my initiation into motherhood requires my participation in a scavenger hunt of sorts. In this hunt, the clues are evasive, the answers well-hidden, and the questions emerge from a bottomless cavern.
Some confrontational questions include:
- Is it normal for my four-year-old to burst into tears because she wants to play with a plastic candy wrapper that I asked her to throw away? And is it a normal part of her imagination to give said candy wrapper a cutesy name and call it a friend?
- Is loosing an entire box of Cheerios ™ a sign of the undocumented medical phenomena Mommy Brain or a symptom of a brain tumor?
- Should I keep choosing my daughter’s clothing for her on Sundays as a part of stressing obedience? Or is it not worth the battle?
- How can I gently stop my one-year-old son from spontaneously screaming?
- How can I keep my kids free of foods stacked with unnecessary hormones and chemicals while adhering to an unforgiving grocery budget? And where is that balance between healthy and unhealthy?
I’m guessing that in 20 years I will chastise myself for wasting time on such unknowns, but if I really believed that wouldn’t the questions vanish?
There are probably child psychologists, super nanny types, and pediatricians who can offer plausible answers to my questions. So I do my research. Yet, even then I find conflict among the experts. What’s a mother to do? I’m discovering daily that courage means learning to live with the questions.Here is my three-step action plan (because I cannot remember more than three-steps). It may seem simple, perhaps even trite, but it’s all I’ve got.
- I’m going to wake up each morning dedicated to doing my best; and accept that on some days my best will be excellent and on other days my best will be allowing my good enough to be good enough.
- I’m going to cover my children in prayer. I’m not going to ever have all the answers. Despite my desire to control my life, I was not given that responsibility. It’s not my job. But I’m on a first name basis with the One who is in charge. And I can call on Him…not just for the answers, but as the Answer.
- I’m going to enlist my inner “Mama Bear” to capture, shackle, and kick out every stinking lie that invades my heart. Lies like I’m a failure as a mother; God made a mistake by thinking I could handle this (fill in the blank); and, I’m going to ruin my kids. Once those culprits are vanished, I’m going to plant truth in those empty spaces. Truth such as, I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind – 2 Tim., 1:7; I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit – John, 15:16; and, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength – Phil., 4:13.
After Pumpkindoodle’s birth I referred to delivering a baby sans pain medication as my Mt. Everest. But I soon learned that the journey of motherhood is the highest mountain to climb. It is going to take me a few decades, dozens of falls, and thousands of bruises and pulled muscles, but I’m going to reach that mountain top some day. And when I do, I’m going to collapse into the mighty arms of my Savior. I pray that He will reward my efforts with seven whispered words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. II Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV)