Yikes. I don't think I've posted anything new in nearly three months! But I have forced this Mom Brain to focus and now I have thoughts.
My return to church two Sundays ago coincided with a very timely sermon. The pastor was preaching on James 4:1-12, the gist of which is finding our fulfillment in receiving from God, not in taking from the world around us. But one part in particular has had me thinking since that Sunday. While the chapter begins with the observation that quarrels among people stem from our inner passions and desires being thwarted - we ALL want fulfillment - there is an even deeper desire underneath. And I'm guessing it may not be the same as the person we're arguing with (Though it wasn't mentioned, could this explain most recurring marital fights?). At the core, our deepest desire will be for one of three things:
Security. Satisfaction. Significance.
At first, I thought mine was Satisfaction. It certainly seemed to be in my 20's. But as I listened to the rest of the sermon, I realized that Significance is what I worry about most. And I think that shifted with age, not necessarily with becoming a parent. I remember it gnawing at me when we bought a large house and started spending time and money working on it, but there were no plans for children. And it had always gnawed at me during the times in my life I felt a lack of community involvement. Or maybe that's more indicative of an extroverted personality. I don't know.
But I've been pondering Significance, and I do know this...
Cultural values and kingdom values are usually completely opposite. Being others -focused, not just because people are watching you or you want to be known as a caring person, results in a lot of little unseen actions. And who does this remind you of?
And moms crave significance. Culture tells us our significance lies in specific jobs, freedom of self, the amount of strangers we impact or who notice us/follow us, and the amount of money we are capable of making. But Christ gives, especially for women, GREAT significance based solely on their identity in Him. And then when we're given the important work of being a Mom? Though it doesn't feel like it - feelings can't be counted on anyway - we not only wake up each morning with a significant identity, we have very significant work to do!
But we forget, because despite being guilt-tripped into filling our life with as many BIG events as possible, most of life happens in the Between. The mundane, disciplined, others-focused Between. But this is really where character grows best.
Maybe with the exception of the extreme workaholic, everyone else acknowledges that we are most impacted by relationships, both the richness of and the lack thereof. We learn by example, by imitation, and later, through mutual giving and kindness. Our character is really what makes a lasting impact. Especially on our family, who see behind the closed doors of social media.
A few years ago, I bought a cute, black and white sign that said: "Small things become Great when done with Love." Moms are so good at seeing all the little things, the little needs, right? And what do kids remember the most fondly? It's always something small and seemingly inconsequential, but it's something that made him or her feel loved, seen, enjoyed, respected, or secure. And this will go with them into adulthood.
Sometimes small things can be the most significant of all.
I feel like this post was a bit of a ramble...but I know the issue of Significance is big for moms, so I hope sharing my thoughts is a bit encouraging. Of course, kids or no kids has no bearing on a woman's significance whatsoever. But the most important work, the most impactful work, is usually unseen, and parenting is a great example of that.