Several months ago, I was marveling at a mom of 4. I told her she always seemed so full of grace and patience, and acted so calmly. She said thank you and assured me that her household and her attitude could definitely be a mess at times. But she also added, "I have just learned to stop fighting so much." She went on about a sort of giving in to motherhood that has had to occur.
Although I had recognized the giving in part of motherhood, I don't think I had really considered the stop fighting part. This doesn't mean we stop fighting for our identity or our marriage or our dreams, but that we stop fighting for our "rights" that simply don't match up with our season. Days where I'm constantly wiping noses, folding laundry, declaring time-outs, holding a baby who just wants to be held, preparing dinner, reading books, and feeding bottles are normal days. Anything I do beyond all of that is extra fluff. (However, I do try to feed myself and brush my teeth at some point in the day.) My free time is mostly spent on housekeeping and there is a small percentage of time that I get to spend on things like blogging, reading, and songwriting. If I expect to have a perfectly clean house and time to sit around on my phone, paint my nails, take a relaxing bath, and run errands at my leisure, then I'm really setting myself up for failure. The reality of my season is that I am serving, teaching, loving, and protecting my children.
I read Restless towards the end of 2014 and it couldn't have been more perfectly timed. One specific night of reading really sticks out. There was a chapter that focused on surrendering. As I was reading, I felt the slightest bit of anxiety rise up within me. (Now that I've learned how to manage my anxiety, I've learned that a lot of times, God actually uses those anxious feelings to stir me and get me listening. It's his own unique nudge to me.) As I finished the chapter, I prayed and told God I wanted to give it up and let go. (There were still pieces of doubt and uncertainty I was carrying with me because of my experience nursing Nova.) I told God, "Tell me what to do and I'll do it."
After this prayer, with my eyes still closed, I immediately saw a slightly opened door with light shining through the cracks on the sides and bottom of the door frame. I saw this image as clear as I see my fingers typing right now. Then I sensed God was saying, "This is the way and my door is open. You have unlocked it with your surrender. Come see what awaits you." It all happened so fast, just one thing after another. That was the first time in a long time that God had been so clear to me.
We recently got back from a wonderful trip to California. We met up with the Watsons and had such a great time. Although I love laughing with them, watching our kids play together, re-living old college stories, and eating good food, the best (and, certainly, most necessary) part of being together is always the refining that happens in our marriages. Having friends that can tell you what's up in a loving way or ask you pointed questions is invaluable. While talking with just Mirela, she brought up the idea of surrendering. Okay, God, I get it. I knew in my heart that Surrender was my word for the year but after this I really knew.
Surrender is quite possibly the most cliche "word for the year" I could have chosen. I brainstormed for a while, trying my best to find a synonym that was at least a little cooler sounding. I thought about the word Yield. That seemed a little sweeter, a little less intense, and a bit lighter of a commitment. But Surrender was the word and there was no getting around it.
"God does great things with surrendered people. And surrender happens every day in one thousand small moments." RestlessBack in 2012, there was some real surrender going on when I worked through my anxiety. But when Nova came, I yanked a bunch of it back. Surrender happens every day. Unfortunately we don't get to surrender it all one time and be done. We are living in a constant state of surrender. The thing we're trying to surrender may be different, but there is always surrender of some sort.
I can say that there is certainly more space for surrender in my life as a mother, a wife, and a follower of God. What does it practically look like for me? It's giving in to my role as a mom of littles. It's giving up the focus on my rights in marriage and focusing on what I can do better. It's trusting God with all of the people I love in my life. It's believing that God has my good in mind and his plan for my life is better than anything I do apart from him. I am learning every day - surrendering and fighting back all at the same time. It's a 2 steps forward and 1 step back kind of thing, but if it gets me closer to the person of Christ, then it is worth it.
What is your word for 2015?