This summer will mark my tenth anniversary of doing diapers…that’s right, one decade straight of diapers, diapers, and more diapers from one kid to the next without a break in between. It’s been ten years of mountains of laundry to wash, dry, fold, and actually put away in drawers. Ten years of cooking meals and doing a million dishes, only to turn around to hungry kids and more dishes. Ten years of putting bandaids on scrapes, eating all meals standing up, cleaning up when kids are sick, consoling when a lot of goldfish die, looking up how to get permanent marker off the couch, and let’s not even talk about the joy of potty training.
But that also means one decade that I have had the blessing and joy of being a mom. Ten years of cuddles and hugs and kisses and smiles. Ten years of hearing each baby learn to say “Mama.” Ten years of reading books together, tucking in at bedtime, playing at the park, exploring new places, playdates and learning to be friends for both kids and Mommy. Ten years of creating special memories at holidays and vacations and celebrating birthdays. Ten years that were great just because we were together.
And amidst all the crazy times and all the special memories, I’ve been “Mommy.” And I love being “Mommy.” I’m thankful that I get the honor of this title, this job, this role, in all its glory. But recently, God has reminded me that I have forgotten my other identity, really my true and first identity. And that is a Christian. Over the years, I have slowly slipped away from thinking of myself as a daughter of Christ. So many days, I rely on my own strength and I place my hope in bedtime and that the day will end. So many days I discipline my kids out of anger rather than genuine love for them. So many days I put the needs of the kids before my husband and our marriage. But then God reminded me that yes, I can love being a wife and a mom, but my main identity, who I am as a person, is a Christian. I am a sinner who has been redeemed by what Christ has done for me. I am in need of His grace for each day and I am thankful because he has provided that grace to me in his Word. On the days when I remember this identity, my identity as a follower of Christ, then my identity as “Mommy” becomes easier. It means I can give grace, I can speak kindly, I can be patient, I can sacrifice, I can be thankful, I can shepherd in love, and I can truly enjoy my family. Not from my own strength, but because of the grace that God has shown to me.
I’ll be honest, most days my mind is a whirlwind of what I’m making for dinner, which laundry hasn’t been done, what time I’m picking up everyone from which school, who has a practice and which sport we’re playing that day, and which tiny child is at my feet crying for candy. But in his grace, God reminds me that I am a “Mommy” who knows Christ, who has been saved by grace, and has hope in the goodness and faithfulness of God for each day.
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’” –Lamentations 3:21-24