My whole life I've been a wanderer of sorts. Some people would call it a free spirt or a hopeless romantic. Others would call it irresponsible and flakey. No matter what you call it, my heart was always dancing on the edge of every opportunity to stretch out my wings and jump off that cliff. Looking for adventure around every corner. Exploration being the food that fueled my wandering heart. I wanted to conquer mountains and dip my toes into foreign soil. I know that book "Wild at Heart" (by John Eldridge) was written for men, but in so many ways I think it was also written for me.
When I became a Momma though, I remember the wrestle on the inside of me. So much of my spontinaety felt like it was laid down. Because now, every choice I made directly impacted this little person that literally could not survive unless I stepped up to the plate. I couldn't go chasing the sunset unless I wanted to bring a stroller, a few diapers, some wipes, a burp cloth, prob some diaper rash cream, a warm jacket, a change of clothes, a blanket, and like 20 other "little person requirements". By the time I was finally ready, the sun had already set! (Any other mommas feelin' me on that?)
With each child it got more complicated. But the longing to just run for the hills or walk along the shore until I reached its end was always there, rumbling under the surface of all my responsibility. I watched other moms seem so deeply content with their reality. I felt guilty for being so restless. What's crazy is I had attached so much of my "free spirit" to my relationship with the Lord. I always felt like he understood me. Like he knew exactly what he made and even if it was just Him and me, it would be the best adventure ever. All the wildness somehow made me feel closer to Him. And my willingness to embrace it somehow made me feel like it drew him closer to me. So when I felt as though I was laying it all down it almost felt like I was distancing myself from him.
I sit here today, reflecting on this journey of my heart. I want to share the wrestle because maybe there are other mommas out there wrestling with the same thing. And I know I'm only 33, and my oldest child is only 7, but I think back to those early years and how I wish someone would have been there to tell me I wasn't crazy. That the transition was hard. But that my greatest adventure was actually all around me! All I had to do was change my lens.
Learning to find myself again post partum, learning to meet the Lord in the mundane, learning to see my children through the lens of my "greatest adventure yet"...that's all been a process of deep surrender, real wrestle, and leaning with all my might into a very patient and gentle teacher. I kept thinking that if I could just make my wild heart die, maybe I could be more content and joyful as a mom. (I know I'm being super raw right now but it's honest) If I stuffed it down far enough and denied it long enough it would just go away and I would feel better. But the more I did that, the more miserable I felt inside. The more frustrated and resentful I felt toward all these "things" that were "holding me back".
It's embarrassing to say this but since I'm already being crazy transparent I'll just throw it on the pile...it wasn't until Ryan and I watched two of our closest friends loose their 3 year old baby girl followed by my two miscarriages back to back that I was able to take off that old lens and put on a new one.
Suddenly my kids weren't holding me back from adventure, they WERE the adventure. It took witnessing and experiencing great loss for me to recognize it. I had spent so much time trying to be the "perfect mom" by denying the person I was made to be. When instead, all I had to do was change my perspective on the storyline and I could still be that wandering, wild and free me. Except this time my cliff was motherhood. And this time, the sunset I was chasing was the twinkle in their eyes. And this time, the mountain I was conquering was the task of leading them into all Truth.
Sometimes it isn't about loosing a part of ourselves, sometimes it's about changing our lens, turning the page, and embracing the next chapter.
When my 5th child Titus was born, it was all about savoring the journey. A lot more deep breaths, a lot less resistance. A lot more smiles, a lot less tears. I'm still looking for adventure around every corner...but now it looks a lot more like chasing 3 pairs of little feet and gazing at the wonder in their eyes. If there is a part of youself that you felt like you had to stuff away when you became a parent, perhaps the Lord just wants to change your lens? My prayer is that it does not take great loss for you to see it as it did for me. My prayer is that today, and every day after, you be fully you while still being fully theirs and with all your heart you embrace this wild and crazy fun adventure of parenthood.