Living motherhood authentically With What You’ve Been Given is hard to do because we are so used to focusing on what we don’t have but today I invite you to focus on what you do have.
It was one of those frantic and get into everything toddler days and I was counting down the minutes to hear the muffled sound of my husband’s car in our driveway.
As soon as he walked in the door, he took a look at me and he said, “Bye!”. I must have looked like a hot mess because he knew I needed to be alone with myself. Alone with God.
I didn’t go far but I had my running clothes on so I ran in our neighborhood a few miles away. I remember thinking, “Don’t cry.” I just need to make it until it’s dark so no one can see the tears.
The evening was muggy as most Texas summer nights are. I turned the corner of the quiet street as the sun was setting. Just as I turned the corner, it was like my whole life turned with it. The dam broke and the tears rolled endlessly with my sweat. I stopped and I stared blankly into this field that was being prepped for a new bustling housing community. Feeling jealous this field knew it’s purpose and plan but I didn’t.
Wrestling with God
Not only do I have a toddler but also a baby in tow. We can’t afford a sitter so I can go volunteer somewhere a couple of nights a week.
He whispered, “What do you want from me?”
I continued to run and complain. Here I was 6 months pregnant and my heart was restless. I had this deep passion for serving Him in the inner city and making Him known to the least of these but I could barely manage to muster up the energy to make dinner. I lie awake at night dreaming and envisioning the many ideas that swirled around my heart.
He whispered again, “What do you want me to do for you?”
I had so many questions for God. I yelled at Him and I pleaded with Him, “Why are you doing this to me? Why are you giving me such a passion for something I can’t do right now?
With each passing day, my passion grew to the point where I drove myself sleepless fighting with God, frustrated that He would give me such a passion and no time or energy to do it.
Dusk came and I stopped running. I leaned against the stone brick wall, sobbing out in the dark street, staring blankly into the field.
He reminded me that He’s right there with me, listening and He wants to hear my heart not just my complaints. So I answered His question–What do you want me to do for you?
The words came forth and I spoke the unspoken dreams and my passion for serving Him. I didn’t just complain as I had been doing for months. I didn’t just focus on what I didn’t have but instead, I told him what was deep in my heart and gave Him what I did have.
Freedom flowed with every spoken word.
He dared me–
…to let all the not-enough there in my open hands–let it be broken into more than enough…” ~A. Voskamp
Though there were remnants of a broken spirit as I ran home, there was freedom with each step. That short distance home had never been so amazing because it was clear to me–
“Mari I have a future for you. I just need you to change how you’re seeing things. You’re focused on what you don’t have. You are set on doing things in a certain way and channeling your passion and skills in this specific way. Let it go and let me show you what you do have and what you can do with it.”
The answer to what had robbed my sleep for months was as simple as tweaking and shifting my perspective ever so slightly. I just needed to let go of my ideal way to serve Him. I needed to stop and thank Him for what I did have. When I did I found freedom but above all else I saw those limits much differently.
He said ever so gently, “Serve me with your kids.”
Our limits can be gifts if we let them be.”
I loved the idea of serving with my kids but as the days went by I analyzed everything and questioned everything–Who is going to let me volunteer with my 2-year-old? What can he possibly do that would be of help to anyone? How can I help anyone in my “great with child” state?
One night I couldn’t sleep and this came to me–start a Mommy and Me Mission at the church so other moms who feel as burdened as I do can also serve alongside their children. It was a successful endeavor not without its glitches but what can you expect from a room full of moms with lots of toddlers trying to serve. My toddler and I both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Oddly enough a year later, we left to the mission field. My limits became a gift.
They might show up like a failure, a season of life, disability, grief and burn out.
They might show up like lack of talent, time, money or space.
But the limits tell us important things about ourselves.
Limits help us draw lines for margins.
Limits ave the way for vulnerability.
Limits remind us to be human.
Limits force us to invent, create, make art.” ~via Emily Freeman
How to live Motherhood Authentically with What You’ve Been Given
Sweet mamas, I encourage you to make friends with your limits! When we embrace our limits we begin to embrace our life and live authentically with what we’ve been given and the phase of life we are in. He’s not asking you to pretend to be someone else. I didn’t need to become a version of my other mom friends. I didn’t need to feel guilt for what I wasn’t doing.
He wants our authentic selves so He can transform us into our amazing selves.
I just need to remember weekly and sometimes daily to:
- Embrace what I’ve been given.
- Offer it up back to Him.
- Let Him multiply it.
Let’s lay those limits and frustrations at His feet. Let’s be brave and bring those unspoken dreams, passion, and skills before Him. Ask Him to transform them, mold them and multiply them as He sees fit in His timing.
Invite Him to show up in the midst of your limits and your passion and then listen to Him whisper His truth.
Remember in the book of John the boy who brought what he had? He only had 5 barley loaves and 2 fish.(John 6:9) to feed a multitude. Oh boy, this is definitely a great example of having limits. There was a multitude to feed and he had what a few loaves and a couple of fish.
Enter His presence boldly with your offering.
Dare to let all my brokeness–be made into abundance.” ~A. Voskamp
You see even the disciples questioned Jesus when they heard about the boy with 5 loaves and 2 fish, “But what are these for so many people?” But watch what happens next in verse 11–
- Jesus took.
- Gave thanks.
- Broke the bread and distributed it.
Jesus didn’t reject the offering, instead, he took it and then He multiplied it.
He made it enough! Remember he didn’t ask the boy to help him figure out how to feed the 5,000.
He makes our offering enough!
Day 3 Challenge:
In Day 1 challenge I asked you to write down what you’re good at, what you dream of and your passions. For Day 3, today, I challenge all of you to carve out some time today and consider what are your limits in this very moment, in this phase of life, and bring them at His feet. Then ask Him to turn those limits into gifts.
Don’t be afraid to go to Him with those longings and limits. He is asking, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Even if our motives and desires are in the wrong place He wants to hear them. If you let Him then He will take those dreams tweak and transform them so He can multiply it.
Invite Him into those limits and ask Him to give you peace and ask Him to show you what you DO have. Ask Him to show you how to use what you DO have in the midst of your limits, for His glory.
Bring your loaves of bread to Him and let Him do the rest!
This is Day 3 of 6 (full schedule of posts) for our Brave Moms Strong Families Challenge that I’m doing with fabulous blogger Jenny at Night Howells blog! Join in on the fun HERE to get encouragement and free printables directly to your inbox.