Sometime this past year, my motherhood bank account dropped below zero. My reserve credit card on extra love and patience was maxed out. There was no penny left to spare. In the wake of my physical, mental, and spiritual bankruptcy, I was left with a brutally honest image of myself. I was becoming as juvenile as my three year old who screams and whines when things don’t go his way. I felt angry and short on patience. Happiness in motherhood can often be synonymous with defeat, guilt, and loneliness. I was so deeply thankful and happy to be a mother, but never had I felt stretched so thin. Never had I felt so insufficient and unworthy. I could no longer find the easy button on my life. It was time for an attitude check, a re-set on mindset, and a fuel up.
I had to check my motivations and search the core of who I am to make sure it was actually aligned with where I wanted to be heading. I thought back to the moment I committed my life to Gabe in marriage, the moment I first laid eyes on my son, and the reason I had said yes to it all. It was easy to find the answers. I knew I was made for this. I was designed to love with everything I have. It’s the way we are wired as women. This can be lived out in many forms, but I knew for me, it was motherhood. With every feeding, lost hour of sleep, and moment of service to my family there is honor. There is honor in loving another before yourself. There is joy when you can set aside selfishness for the sake of someone you love. To experience a love for another so fierce that you would give up your life for them is a love that is nothing short of a privilege to experience in your lifetime. To nurture, cultivate, encourage, and champion the heart and soul of a human being you have been entrusted with are holy grounds. Every effort we make, every moment we give, and every breath we offer day in and day out in our motherhood holds value. It’s a value that cannot be named, put into words, or price tagged.
And so I began my re-fueling. I had many tearful conversations with Gabe, many moments of listening, reading, praying, and more crying. I still feel like am re-fueling in many ways, and often feel like my account is empty and my reserve tank on low again, but there is also a greater freedom. I have accepted that the hardships make way for the refined heart. If we look at our hearts like hard drives (I am using this reference because my macbook is currently in the shop for hard drive space issues. Oh the irony.), you can only make room for more love if we give up the unnecessary parts of it taking up space. I am cutting out more noise and distractions, and making room. I am learning that physical exercise, prayer, and time with positive influences have to be a part of my week. I feel lighter and braver. I have a long way to go, but I am so thankful my two feet are walking on these holy grounds. Grounds that Gabriel, Veronica, Max, Rocco, and Azelie can rest on and grow roots in.
I know to be a healthy mother, I need to put time into my marriage, my well being, and my personal health. I need to remind myself daily that there is no need for perfection. The simple and ordinary mundane is just as grand. My purpose is rooted in the knowledge that God created me for something greater than merely existing.
So when the days your bank account runs up empty, I hope each of you women who are offering your lives in service for others, for your families, and for your children, are reminded through these words that your efforts are not measured by immediate results. I once was reminded by a wise woman that it took Michelangelo 24 months (over 700 days) to build the Pietá through very small movements of the hand and chisel, but the outcome was a great masterpiece. In the same regard, every effort we pour forth no matter how big or small is working toward a great art.