I had big plans for this summer. Real big.
Plans that included amazing things like Superhero Day, Pirate Dinner, Squirt Gun Fight, Go Cart Racing, Popsicles by Candlelight…
So about midway through our, seemingly, very short summer break I found myself very discontent, frustrated and irritated when I realized our summer plans were not being accomplished and would largely go unaccomplished. I felt inadequate as a mother. Wasn’t I supposed to be creating these amazing summer memories for my children? I felt that I was for sure, ruining their childhood by not bringing to fruition all these fun summer dreams.
Crazy amounts of rain led to movie watching and simple indoor activities. Lots of traveling meant many days were spent preparing to leave or many days were spent recovering once we arrived home. And although we had lots of time together I found myself being disappointed in those simple moments, not truly recognizing them as the blessing that they were.
I want to be content in those simple moments, not restless and disappointed. I want a heart that knows well that my efforts and plans are not what make me a ‘great’ mama.
The failing of all my big summer plans, and my subsequent discontent heart, forced me to ask the hard question, why am I even seeking to do these things? Is it to keep up with a standard made by the world? Is it to seek the approval and affirmation from those around me? Is it to prove to myself and everyone else that I really do love my children? Is it a strange competitive move to prove that I am, in fact, the best mom around?
Or am I seeking to fulfill these plans because I genuinely love my children and I want to create memories that they will carry forever?
If social media no longer existed, would you still be pursuing the plans you are holding on to so tightly?
I recognize that there is an element of accountability with posting goals and plans to social media but if I am making plans to take my little ones to eat ice cream only so I can Instagram the image later then I am in major trouble. My focus has been shifted so far from that which is true and right and good.
The focus is on me and my performance and how well I am measuring up to the world’s standard of being a wife and a mom. My focus is no longer on my Savior or my identity as a child of God; I am no longer truly seeking what is best for my children or my husband or my friends and extended family. I am seeking after that which will bring me validation. I am seeking after that which the world defines as being a good mother, wife, sister, friend, etc.
This world is so sneaky because really good things can suddenly become terrible things when our heart is not in the right place. Squirt gun fights and pirate dinners are really good (and fun!) things but if I am pursuing those things for all the wrong reasons then they are pointless.
God graciously revealed the state of my heart to me this summer, helping me to see that I was seeking all of those fun plans because I believed that’s what made a great mama. God sweetly reminded me that being a great mama is not defined by lavish, huge experiences. Rather it’s defined in the way I talk to my children and listen to my children, in the way I pursue their hearts, their likes and dislikes, the way I really try to get to know them, what makes them happy and what makes them sad. Being a great mama is defined by my willingness to put their needs above my own and consistently pointing them to Jesus. Being a great mama is defined in those mundane moments when no one else is watching you except for your children.
Ask yourself those hard questions, what do your children see in you?
A heart that is for Jesus, or a hear that is only for yourself?
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
I want my children to see that I fear the Lord. Above all else. That is the best memory I can create for them.
So, I made a new plan. To intentionally love on my littles. To intentionally pursue their hearts and point them to Jesus. To have fun and make the most of our days together no matter what we are doing. We only have a few days left of summer and I plan to enjoy every second of it… loving on them. And to make chocolate-covered frozen bananas because they are Andrew and Asher’s favorite. 😉