We sat in their living room, plants and paintings surrounding us like a warm tropical forest. There was an ease in the conversation, though it was the first time all four of us had sat down to visit. I tucked my feet under Alex’s legs to warm my toes and turned to our new friends.
“So what was being a new mom like for a driven, purposeful woman like you?”
She was the mother of two toddlers with another on the way. I felt I was tapping into a deep well of knowledge from someone who had been there, done that.
She glanced at her husband with a knowing smile and his tired eyes twinkled back at her.
“It’s been tough”, she replied honestly. “There are so many other dreams I’ve put on hold for now.” She paused. “But I feel like this time is about God building my character for whatever is next”.
Her words sunk in like heavy bricks hitting thick mortar – my understanding expanding like new construction.
I thought about her words often over the next week, each time the truth setting in a little firmer in my spirit. They held the weight of conviction as I realized how often I’d looked down on the role of “mother”. It’s almost as though when I saw a woman with young children that’s all I saw. I didn’t see the passions, gifts, dreams and calling on her life. I saw “just another young mom running ragged after her crazy kids”.
But soon that woman is going to be me. And as I struggle with the reality of putting some of my dreams on hold, I wonder how it will feel. Will others look at me as I’ve so often looked at young moms? Already I’ve started to turn down new speaking opportunities in preparation for our little peanut and each time I ask myself “Is this really what God wants?”
He spoke to me so clearly this past Tuesday evening and I heard her wise words echoed in His.
“Heather, I’m more concerned with your character than I am with your success”.
Like the disciples must have felt after asking Jesus, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” and hearing his response, “whoever takes the lowly position like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me”, my pride is humbled. I sheepishly realize I’ve missed the whole point! Jesus is saying that the one who welcomes a child, welcomes Him! Do you hear that momma’s?!?
I still get caught up in the ways of the world and the flesh. I still forget that a full schedule doesn’t equate with a heart full of his Spirit and truth and presence. I still lose sight of the cross – the reason He came, the goal and purpose of his life on earth.
“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
God, this day I willingly lay my hopes and dream, goals and desires at your feet. Change my perspective that I might see with your eyes. Re-order my values so they are in line with yours – the last, first; the greatest, least; to serve rather than be served. Grow my character that it may be an inviting, lush forest where your Spirit can make its home and success is but an afterthought. Amen.