"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

13 January 2011

Parenting and "Spousing"

Why isn't there a word for being a spouse? Or is there one and I'm just having a moment of oblivion?

A portion of this entry will be from my journal, and although that entry was a week and a half ago, it ties in well with my thoughts tonight, so I thought I'd include it, with some modifications of course. After all, there's a reason I keep a journal along with this blog.

With the start of each year comes that inevitable, familiar question: What's your new year's resolution? I used to make up these grandiose plans for each year when I was younger, laying out incredibly lofty, profound goals for myself to be a better person, perhaps naively thinking that by writing down my resolutions, I was already on my way to becoming the someone I wanted to be.

"I've sort of ignored the question in the past few years. I don't know if this is due to contentment with who I am and the life I live or because time has shown that most new year's resolutions are shelved by the end of January, put away and forgotten along with all the holiday decorations. It's probably a mixture of both.

This year, among the flurry of new year's greetings on Facebook, I noticed that one of our young, college-aged friends had asked the question. Initially skimming past her post, I found myself returning to it, wondering what my primary goal for this year really was. All the usual, fanciful resolutions flittered through my mind rapidly, but once those initial thoughts dispersed, I suddenly realized I did have one true goal for this year.

I want to be a good mommy.

This, I believe, encapsulates all my other dreams and desires in life, because in order to be a good mother, I must first be a plethora of other good things. I must be a good wife to my husband, a helpmate and a friend who encourages, loves, respects, and supports him. I must be a good homemaker -- which is not at all the same as being a good housekeeper, although that too, has its place -- creating a safe and pleasant haven for our family and friends. I must be a good friend, demonstrating that people and relationships ought to be cherished above things and circumstances. And above all, I must be a child of God, redeemed and full of grace.

As we ready the nursery for the arrival of our little one, as I launder his clothes, blankets, and diapers, as we ensure the safe installment of his car seat, and as we faithfully go to our weekly doctor's appointments, I want to keep at the forefront of my mind that I must ready my heart for motherhood. I haven't really felt the nesting instinct yet, but more important than getting my house spic and span, I want to sweep out the cobwebs of irritation and the dust bunnies of impatience. I want to wipe away the muddy footprints left behind by selfishness.

As in marriage, I am learning that my life isn't just my own to do with as I please when I please. Family is communal living at its most intimate, where all the members have an intrinsic calling to love one another, just as He first loved us.

It seems altogether fitting, then, that my ladies' Bible study has chosen to study Danny Silk's Loving Our Kids On Purpose and that our couples' community group is going through Focus on the Family's Higher Love. Working on my studies is a daily reminder that in order to be a good mom, I need to keep my priorities straight. I need to spend time fostering my relationship with God, reading my Bible, and praying. I also need to keep my husband ahead of my child, which isn't hard now, but probably will get increasingly difficult once Baby G is here.

So with this new year comes yet another lofty resolution, but somehow, I have a feeling that I won't be shelving this one by the end of the month.

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