And I get her out of the bath and wrap her up in shiny, skeins of softness that compliment her still brand new skin. I burrito her into my arms and we both laugh and the air smells like baby lotion and love.
These are my big moments. No one sees them but me and her.
I am not a preacher.
I am not a Bible teacher.
I am a mom and a wife and a woman with a heart for other women.
And some days that is enough. But some days it is not. Some days I worry I live too small. I want to make a mark on this world bigger than the instructions that came with the gift that tells me how to mold Zoe’s hand print and keep it framed in pink.
I have dreams in my heart that I would frame if I could.
But I worry over them. I wake up in the night with Jackson’s elbow pushing into my side. He arrives catlike in the dark and I never know he’s there till I wake up. And lying beside him is the nagging sense that I’m not doing anything big. Or that I’m not doing it right. Or that no one will notice or celebrate it or congratulate me for it if I do.
The desire to succeed bothers me almost as much as the worry that I won’t.
I’ve forgotten to shut the blinds and the moon blinds me across the dark night. I stare back at her and know I want to make a name for myself just as much as the people who built a tall tower to the heavens under her watchful face.
I am ashamed that I feel this way. This desperate desire for success. It seems to me that is exactly how my old Sunday school teacher would have told me we spell selfish.
I wash dishes and regret not soaking them longer. My polite prayers to God have done nothing for the state of my restlessness. So as I slop soap and bubbles and wipe the counters I start to talk. I pray out loud. I am not polite. I tell it all to God. I tell Him how ridiculous it is how much I worry about not succeeding. And how much I want to.
I ask Him what success looks like to Him. I tell him I need it – to understand so that I can overcome this fear of failing.
I hardly wait for an answer I am so busy verbalizing my weeks of desperate wrestling.
It is a relief to say the words out loud. Why do I think they will surprise the God who’s been listening all along?
I sit down in the quiet play room with the rows of stuffed animals and toy cars looking on and right there at the corner of where I work and where my children play He answers,
I read it again. My breath is caught and I have to remember to exhale.
“You will fail by being disobedient, not by a lack of success at the task.”
I put down my pen and stare out the window. There are two squirrels racing the fence line. I know what He has called me to. I am in the thick of following Him into deeper and deeper understandings of it.
That is success.
That is success.
That He calls and we just follow.
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
And leave the outcome up to Him.