3 March 2015 by romanin
Hey guys, it’s been awhile since I’ve shared anything on our blog. It’s crazy how life is much fuller with 3 kids! For those moms out there who have 3 kids, was it more difficult for you to transition from 1 to 2 or from 2 to 3? I think for me, it’s been the transition from 2 to 3. I wanted to take some time to focus on JOY.
I’ve always dreamt of being a joyful, happy stay-at-home mom who enjoyed being with her kids, teaching and playing with them. In my college days, I am pretty sure my mind was just filled with Hallmark images of moms and kids reading together, doing fun baking projects together and laughing together. Lots of laughing. It’s easy to idealize things when you’ve never experienced it. Do I hear an Amen?
After having Nathaniel, I realized that I wasn’t the patient person I thought I was. I also realized that my days were not only filled with rosy idyllic scenes, but were equally filled, with household chores, cooking, paying bills, phone calls, diaper changes, spit-up, laundry, the list goes on. Idealized world shattered. I also realized that my “humble” self wasn’t so humble after all, and that some days, I wasn’t feeling the whole “I wanna be a selfless mom serving her family” thing.
Add kid 2 and 3.
Household chores and “need to do’s” stayed the same, but time to be with myself (whether just mentally or physically be alone) was lessened. Where 2 hours of chaos with one intensified to the same 2 hours, but just more mentally taxing because there were more little people to think of in those 2 hours. I really wasn’t the patient…or joyful mom I wanted to be or thought I was.
Enter our move to Indiana for full-time ministry to Chinese international students. I again have these idealized images of how my life will look here. Hang out with Chinese girl students, have a women’s Bible study, study language with a girl language partner, teach piano to Chinese kids, all of my imaginings of how it would look as a single person…
Nick starts to meet Chinese students, be on campus more and be available to students more often, study Chinese with a language partner, have a Bible study with seekers, the like.
I found myself getting jealous because after 2 months of being here, all I’ve achieved (or what I feel I have achieved…sometimes very different than reality) on my list of things to do in ministry is hang out with one Chinese girl and go to college group on Friday nights.
But I am not a single person. I am married and a mom of 3.
And let’s just put it out there: trying to live a single person’s ideal life as a married, invested mom of 3 is like putting your right glove on your left hand. It kind of fits, but is very uncomfortable and you just want to take it off. The result is bitterness, a lot of stress and feeling small because you “haven’t accomplished anything”.
Have you ever heard the quote, I think it’s by C.S. Lewis? “Comparison is the thief of JOY.” I see this quote posted on the wall above the kitchen sink in my sister in-law’s house and it sticks with me each time I see it.
When I compare, my joy gets sucked dry because all I see is what I do not have, which causes me to be bitter. And I do not want to live in bitterness or stress. I want to live in what God has given to me because I trust that He knows what is best for me. I always think, “What face do I want my kids to see? Do I want them to see a mad/stressed face throughout the day? Or do I want them to know their mom as the mom with a joyful, peaceful face?”
No one wants to be the stressed out, bitter mom. You can be a joyful mom who gets stressed out in certain moments, or you can be a stressed out mom who gets stressed out in certain moments. It is all in the perspective and thoughts. And I think it’s a discipline to take my thoughts captive.
Don’t get me wrong: I still need to schedule “me” time where I reboot (I need to know my limits), but instead of self-pity filling my mind first thing in the morning, I want to practice the discipline of setting my mind to and filling my heart with joy. I want to remember that God gives me a burden [in my heart] that is easy and a yoke that is light (Matt. 11:30)
Recently, I saw notebooks (for which I am a sucker…@Tiffani Licona, if you’re reading) at Target for sale and I snatched them up mainly because of one that read on the cover, “Be filled with joy”
If this is being marketed to people who don’t know the joy of the Lord, how much more can I remember to be filled with the joy that comes from knowing Him who loves me so?
What makes it difficult for you to be joyful?