How do you measure meaning in the life of a mom?

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Is it in diapers changed?

Loads of laundry folded?

Dishes washed and stacked and put away?

Is it in temper tantrums soothed, fevers treated, number of steps walked to rock babies back to sleep?

What about all those dentist appointments and chocolate chip cookies baked? Is it in cups of tea poured and teddy bear tea parties attended? In baby dolls lost and found and lost again?

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Do we measure a year in developmental milestones or growth charts or good behavior sticker sheets? Do we count all the time outs and spills and failures and starting overs and regrets and missed opportunities and nightmares and wanting to run home to our mothers?

Or maybe it’s in how we’re learning to tell the truth about motherhood? Or get over our mom guilt?

Do we count it in new grey hairs and wrinkles and pounds? Do we judge it on the clothes we couldn’t wear this year because despite our best efforts they still don’t fit us?

Do we judge ourselves on whether our kids finally, finally potty trained or if they can spell their names?

Is it in secrets whispered between bunk beds and hearts tenderly opened and offered – all six years worth of learning how to be human. Is it in hearing your daughter lisp, “I wuv you, mama” or your son try to monkey hug you four times in a row?

Is it in early morning commutes to daycare drop offs or vacation days spent in the pediatrician’s office? Is it in mascara-streaked cheeks and moments spent quietly crying in the ladies’ room at work when we missed their field trip?

Is this year still penalizing us with working mother’s guilt or do we measure the grace we’re learning to give ourselves?

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Maybe it’s all of this and all of this adds up to a handful of loaves and fish that we didn’t think would be enough.

Not enough of us to go around.

Not enough of us to handle the growth spurts and teenage years and best friend break ups.

Not enough of us to manage to single parent for the months he was deployed or on the road for work or simply walked out.

Not enough at midnight and not enough at 4pm when no one wants to do their homework and there’s still no plan for dinner.

Not enough when he’s screaming how much he wishes he had a different mother and she’s trying to sneak into that skirt you’ve told her is too short when you’re short on patience and grace and no parenting book could have ever prepared you for this.

Not enough meal planning and not enough gas for all those car pool runs and not enough hair to pull out on the all out, full on crazy days.

Not enough patience in the galaxy for the mornings all 14 pairs of socks he tries on he throws over his shoulder and declares too uncomfortable.

Not enough time to juggle the OT appointments and the tae kwon do lessons and the scrubbing off the bathroom stains.

Not enough romance or good days or courage.

But here’s the thing – you’re not the first “not enough” and you won’t be the last.

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And what you thought you couldn’t give, Jesus gives thanks for and breaks and multiplies and there is just enough for today.

And tomorrow.

And at 2am.

There He is again, singing over you as you sing over sick babies and breaking your heart into bits and pieces of holy, sacred sacrifice.

More than you could have known.

Measuring your year in all the broken, ordinary glory. Heaped high.

A sacrifice of praise.

Your making and unmaking and remaking.

Immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine. He measures out to us.

And He is always enough.

 

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