Lately, I have been realising just how often I have sacrificed the tender hearts of my children on the altar of my convenience.
Possibly… but I have noticed how I can become frustrated with them for being who they are – immature, but whole human beings, who need me to be their loving partner in life, – need me to be their actual hands and feet, before they can navigate with their own – and I have got irritated, thinking largely of my own comfort in those moments.
There are the times I have subtly blamed them for trying to wind me up, by being unable to do what I expected they should, even when (if I had paused to really consider) it wasn’t yet within their grasp.
Convenience. And inconvenience. That’s what it comes down to.
My children didn’t ask to be born.
But I prayed for them for years, long before we were given the privilege of parenting.
I have longed to be a mother since I was a child.
And for as long as I thought more deeply about it, I wanted to have a large family and be right at the centre of it. I envisioned loving my children and enjoying their friendship.
I am enormously blessed to have carried five children in my womb, and to be able to raise four of them. I treasure the fact that as we walk out this unschooling journey, I am able to enjoy and discover each of them more fully, every day.
And yes I am human, yes of I course have needs of my own, and YES I know that self-care is vitally important – but none of these are reasons to excuse my selfishness.
Parenting is really hard. I don’t know any parent who would tell you otherwise.
It is also a most wonderful and beautiful blessing – and I truly hope that every parent would agree with me there, too.
However, what becoming a parent invites you into (and which I find is often my biggest challenge) is the beautiful daily dance of pouring ourselves out in loving sacrifice for our children –
over and over again, –
joyfully and free from resentment.
When we do – we receive so much more joy and love – and even better than that, we get to see our children become the fullest version of themselves they can be.
Having children is anything but convenient.
The same is true of love.
But they are both worth throwing your whole self into, and refusing all temptations to stop growing.
Besides – all the best stories speak deeply of selfless sacrifice, leading to greater freedom and peace.
I feel like God is doing some deep, deconstruction work in me at the moment, in a whole bunch of areas of my heart – though I am not exactly certain what all of them are right now – but I am being challenged in a beautiful way, to keep stretching beyond my current, perceived limits.
I am finding the beauty in the lament for what has been lost, hope for what treasures are still there to find – and fresh creativity for the journey.Tweet
I don’t want to miss any of the good that this life can offer.
I want to live fully alive, fully joyful and fully connected to my heart, the heart of my God and the hearts of my husband and children.
I want to become more tender and more resilient – which comes through allowing myself to be vulnerable – and I want to always choose to dive deeper.
It is best to start small, by re-learning how to see my children as whole people, rather than as part-empty vessels, waiting to be filled.
And I know, that as my capacity to love expands, so does my reach and the opportunity to bring that love, and its healing power, to those who are hurting and lonely and lost and broken.
It starts with me, extending into my family – then onwards and outwards – as ripples on water.
And in the meantime, in the words of Sandra Dodd, I will –
Read some, do some. Think. Rest. Watch…[repeat]Sandra Dodd – The Big Book Of Unschooling (www.SandraDodd.com/beginning)