I can't help but laugh when I see one of Johnson and Johnson's ads that quip "having a baby changes everything." Beyond the messes and antics associated with raising children, babies have a way of forcing their parents to grow up! I'm still amazed at the immaturity in me that rises up when I'm dealing with my kids.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I read the routine parenting books, figured I knew everything and was beyond excited to be the world's perfect mom. What a wake-up call I received! Instead of all the warm fuzzy feelings that I expected, I was slammed with post-partum depression that dragged on for months. I adored my new baby, but I was exhausted, overwhelmed, frustrated when my little one didn't behave like all the books had promised, and scared to reveal the dark thoughts I was thinking. I kept silent for months until I finally admitted my struggles to my father. With love and wisdom, he identified what I was going through and did not condemn me. That was the beginning of healing.
Since talking about my problems seemed to be therapeutic, I assumed that other Christian women in my circle would be able to identify and safe to share with. Afterall, aren't we, as Christians, supposed to show compassion, support and acceptance? What I discovered instead were raised eyebrows and polite smiles. Not open criticism, but looks that I felt said "if I do identify with you, I'm going to pretend that I don't because how could a good Christian have those thoughts/feelings."
I would come away from conversations feeling alone and foolish for opening my mouth. I longed for that Titus 2 woman to take me under her arm and mentor me. For a while I clammed up about my frustrations and weaknesses. Then something changed. I guess I decided I didn't care what other people thought. That I couldn't be alone in my struggles and frustrations. You know, the more I opened up, little by little other ladies did the same. Slowly I discovered that I wasn't alone.
Looking back, I think God used those feelings to plant an idea that has been growing for 7+ years. I have a heart for women, and especially young moms. Something has happened in our society, be it the feminist movement, the breakdown of the family, I don't know, but somewhere along the line, women and even Christian women have been sold a lie that we have to be perfect. That we can do, be, and have everything. That we can be supermom. We can have the dust and clutter-free Pottery Barn home and well-behaved Gap kids. That burden is deceiving and impossible. I've tried to live it. You end up exhausted, depleted, frustrated.
Yes, I've decided to be open about my struggles. I still get some rather incredulous looks when I readily admit that yesterday was a bad day and I screamed at my kids. But I figure if just one woman discovers she is not alone, God can use that. I have no desire for the focus to be on my issues. This isn't about me, nor is it even really about the struggles. My desire is to be honest about the challenges on this journey of being a wife, mother, and woman of God, but to dwell on and rejoice in the refinement God does through those issues. And so here I am starting a blog. I can't promise perfect grammar (although I do find comma rules awfully exciting :-) or stories about perfect kids. I can promise real conversation about what my sovereign God is doing in my life to make me into a daughter who resembles her Father. I welcome you to join me on the journey.