Yesterday was my first real day home with two kids. I don’t have to do it long. For the rest of the week my husband is working from home and next week my mother-in-law arrives. (And my mother just left this past Saturday after being with us for two weeks.) I have it really good.
But I woke up in fear of what the day would bring. I spent Sunday suffering from mastitis. If you don’t know what that means, don’t bother looking it up. Just know that it’s terrible. I was in bed with a high fever, chills, and massive achiness. Thankfully, I had Wuthering Heights to keep me company when I wasn’t fading in and out of sleep. And I also had my husband at home playing Rocket-Star Wars/Buzz Lightyear in the next room. But I had in the fuzz of my mind a massive fear that I would wake up Monday morning with two babies to care for and the same fever. Miraculously, it was gone. I was weak but able to play Rocket-Star Wars/Buzz Lightyear, make meals, nurse a baby, and shoo my husband to his super important meeting. I even managed to fold some laundry.
When I started this blog, one of my deepest fears was whether or not God could ever be pleased with who I am: the simplicity of my life. I had always wanted to be a woman who rescued orphans and dug wells for the thirsty and sacrificed comfort for the sake of the broken. And instead I found myself a SAHM in the middle of comfortable America, my only suffering being my lack of a washer and dryer. What was I doing for the world? Sure, I believed God loved me, but could he really be proud of me? After all, despite the sacrifices all moms make, it wasn’t hard for me to love my kid. And that’s what I did…All. Day. Long.
Since then, I’ve been a slow transition of my heart and mind. It’s not that I never knew God loved me, it’s simply that I’ve begun to believe it. I believe that when I practice the most mundane exercises of motherhood, I am living in God’s sweetness. I no longer hold fast to a version of God that has a Wall of Fame with his best and brightest smiling in frames. Instead, I rest in the reality that God adores me because I’m his, not because of what I contribute to his cause. Lord knows, even if I’d chosen an entirely different path, none of my striving could have landed me a spot on that Wall.
So, as I went about my Monday, wiping baby Brooksie’s butt while August stood on a chair beside the changing table and laughed about poop, while I sat on the floor nursing while pretending to be Mater (the tow truck from the Cars movie), while I read stories and told August for the 18th time that it’s so sweet to kiss your brother but you have to be gentle with his head, I felt something new. It was God’s pleasure. God was being kind to me, not because I’ve earned a great place in the Kingdom of Awesomeness, but because I haven’t.
There’s a verse in Zechariah (chapter 4, verse 10) that asks the question: “Who dares despise the day of small things?” I first discovered that question six years ago, when I was straight out of my MFA program and working as an administrator at a construction company. It was not the job I’d dreamed of doing. (My dream was to somehow have my poems discovered and to become a great poet who could then afford to build a lot of wells around the world.) So, I’d tell myself that I could find joy in filing work orders, organizing plans, and making phone calls to subcontractors who called me “girl.”
And though that passage dwelled with me in that season, I feel more and more like it’s settling into my core. Yesterday was a day of the smallest of things: the survival of two children, their nourishment, their snuggles, the building of a foundation of love in their lives. Who despises that?
If I’m honest, I can say there have been days that I’ve despised myself because it seemed I couldn’t do more than those simple things. But yesterday was not one of those days. It was sweet and generous and full.
And that’s worth a Thankful Tuesday post.