Each time I went through the ins and outs of pregnancy, you know the stuff no woman really wants to deal with but does so they can hold the prize of a newborn child, I would think to myself, “Someday, I will have a talk with Eve in heaven and let her know what I think of her boneheaded decision.” Now that I’m starting to leave behind the childrearing years, I think Eve and I may have quite a bit in common that we could sit around a heavenly mocha and talk like old friends. I’m not so sure that I would have done much better having to face the decision of what appeared to be an ordinary life of garden tending with my husband, or the pizzazz of knowing it all, being able to stand out above the rest and experience things that tantalizingly weren’t meant for me, but sure seem to be more than what I’ve got going in the present.
This may be a woman thing, but I have my hunch that it is more than that, it’s a human thing. Always looking for the something bigger that we’re supposed to be about, but missing the spectacular in our lives that is right under our nose. The problem is, if I am the proverbial donkey chasing the carrot all my life, going places but never getting what satisfies, I will live my life unsatisfied. I’m pretty sure that that wasn’t what God was aiming for in us. When Jesus talked about the abundant life He came to give us in John 10:10, He meant abundant. Last I checked abundance and unsatisfied don’t abide together very well as roommates.
I end up talking quite a bit to women who are around 10 years younger than me trying to encourage them in the area of motherhood. A friend of mine reminded me that that’s what us “older women of the church” are supposed to do. (I have arrived! LOL) I see them struggling with the same feelings I had back when I started out my life with all 4 of my kids: an eight-year-old, a five-year-old, a three-year-old, and a baby. The first trip to Walmart with them left me in my Suburban, in tears. I told God, “I can’t do this. I can’t do four kids. What was I thinking?”
Laundry, messes, runny noses, fights, stomach bugs, head lice… You name it, I struggled through it with them. It wasn’t the glamorous life I thought was lying just feet ahead of me if I stretched my neck a little more and grabbed the golden carrot. Had I only had my eyes on what I wasn’t, I would have missed so much of what I was: I was the rabbi for my little band of four disciples. I had a brief stretch of time to tell them what I knew of God and I tried so hard to make sure It was told. I was able to soak in so many magic moments: First steps, First words, twinkling playful eyes underneath construction paper masks we would make, laughter from building the most outrageous playdough figures, watching them sleep after nursing them in my chair (I’m pretty sure that’s as close to an angelic look they could muster). Moments that would have been lost to me had I been looking everywhere else for the magic to appear.
We live in a performance-based society. What you do, your title, is commonly a sought-after commodity. Somehow the title “Mom” doesn’t appear to be as appealing as the many other money-making titles that can follow our name. We want to be somebody, have our few moments in the spot light. Maybe we’re all a little bit like Eve, reaching out for the forbidden fruit that would make her spectacular in her own eyes.
We so quickly forget what it was like with the simplicity in the Garden. I think God wants us to move back towards that simplicity we had before the fall. It’s what Jesus died and rose again so we could have. Before things got complicated with the fall, life for Eve was time walking closely with God, living simply with her husband, and enjoying the things that God had surrounded her with.
That sounds like the recipe for a better life for each of us moms and wives: Walk closely to God. Enjoy what God has made you to be. Soak in the time you have with your children (it will fly by faster than you wanted it to). Remember the gift your husband was intended to be to you, enjoy the love story you are writing. These are the big things. Don’t miss them chasing something tiny and unfulfilling that will vanish like a mist that you can never hold.