Invisible Motherhood

I’ve often pondered what womanhood would look like when I was a young girl. I saw my own mother work in an office as a clerical secretary and how she would type away at the keys and manage phone calls like a “boss”. It was a catalyst for me to see just how women could run multiple things at a time without batting an eye.

As I approached my teen years I had visions of being a highly educated woman who worked her way up the corporate ladder in stilettos while bumping fists with other high-powered women executives.

Girl Power!

So I set off on my educational venture to get as much education as possible so that I could be fully equipped to enter the marketplace. I worked hard, studied hard, (and played hard too but I’ll save that for another post) and expected the payout to be rewarding. As a college graduate, I began my first career job making more in my first year than my mother made in her 30+ years in the workforce.

She was proud of me.   And in my extremely immature 23-year-old mind, I thought I had arrived and was well on my way to earning six-figures by the time I was 30.

But shortly thereafter, I got married.

And then the babies started to arrive.

And somewhere in-between baby #2 and #3 I found myself as a Stay-At-Home Mom.

Wait what??!!!

This was NOT a part of my career plans. I planned to be a highly visible woman all the while managing my growing family as a successful mother. I planned to do it ALL.

However, I traded my corporate Amex card and nice hotel suites while traveling regularly for never-ending piles of laundry, poop, and chasing toddlers. I swapped out executive summary meetings for the 189th reading of ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear – What Do You See?’ and sweeping cheerios off the floor.

As much as I loved my children, I slowly began to realize that I had settled into believing that my identity was based very much on my ability to work professionally and contribute financially.

It was during this time that I realized that much of the work that I was doing was doing now as a mother, was unnoticed.

Unseen.

As much as I was educationally equipped for the outside workforce, I was totally unprepared for this season in womanhood as it pertained to parenting.

And that is when the discontentment set it. I felt that I had become a woman that I never thought I would be. I was wishing for another life instead of the one I had right in front of me. I felt overlooked and undervalued in a culture that applauds the outward and visible contributions to society. As a mom, I just wasn’t measuring up. With all the work that I did, I felt like I was barely accomplishing anything on a daily basis.

I wanted more.

I wanted to be significant and valuable in the kingdom AND marketplace as a Christian woman with many talents and skills.

This is a noble and holy aspiration, right?

In Matthew 6:1, Jesus says to his disciples “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”

Motherhood can often feel isolating and lonely with constant demands and the pondering whether if you are doing it right. It is a secret sacrifice, the hidden work of making another meal, cleaning another mess, and losing sleep for our precious children.

It is in the mundane daily work where we do not receive the outward validation and acknowledgment. Society places value on certain types of work, particularly work that is paid or considerably higher paid. Although our days as mothers can be filled with just as much work as our husbands or friends in the workplace, most people don’t actually see it and may not be viewed as valuable.

If we are not careful, it is easy to become resentful in this sacred space of motherhood. Always looking to the next stage of “when” so that we can be more useful to the kingdom or at least appear to contribute more to those in our communities.

These mundane moments are what are temporary and instead of needing the immediate satisfaction of being noticed, we can rest in the eternal glory of what is to come. The truth is that nothing that we do or think is hidden from Jesus, and every sacrifice we have sown will reap a harvest at the proper time.

He Sees.

He Knows.

He is With us.

It is another invitation that God has for us as mothers to live for the approval and acceptance of Him. It’s in these secret places that no one else on the planet sees, and yet He is longing to gift us with His presence in these mundane moments. This work is needed and sacred in this season.

His grace is sufficient, even as we mother in obscurity. He is working out His purposes in us in ways we cannot even fathom. This is our work as mothers, whether paid or unpaid, seen or unseen. It is not in vain and it brings glory to our Father.

The Voices

I recently came across a question that rocked me to my core. It simply asked “If you had a friend who spoke to you the same way you speak to yourself in your head, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?”

OUCH.

We all have that voice in our heads speaking to us all the time. It’s the core of what we are really thinking. What we believe. How we see ourselves. How we believe others see us.

It’s in those inner voices that I personally find the most critical messages that I believe about myself. Have you ever experienced that?

Social media is the virtual landmine I tend to fall into if I am not careful. Things can go downhill pretty quickly as I am inclined to go on a scroll fest and then be sucked into hearing the voice questioning my abilities and comparing myself to others. Oh, how I hate to admit that but it is the truth. I would question everything from my parenting skills, being a wife and homemaker, if I am cut out to be a successful business owner, or if I was a good friend to others. That’s the short list.

I have even questioned if I was “Christian” enough if I wasn’t pouring my entire life out for the sake of the gospel. I would hear that I needed to be “fruitful” in all of my works. Whatever that even means.

It came down to striving and trying to prove something to others and myself that I am enough.

I. AM. ENOUGH.

I was so desperate to believe this that I even bought the t-shirt. See Exhibit A below…

And yet, I have this nagging voice that would keep rearing its ugly head telling me that no matter what I do or what I did, it was never enough. Telling me that I would NEVER be enough. After falling short despite my best attempts, which typically occurs on a daily basis, I realize that I allowed this voice to become a part of who I was. For years, this voice has tried to dictate who I am, my identity.

Have you ever heard the subtle inner whispers that make you question who you are? If so, how in the world do we overcome the negative chatter in our minds?

There is a song that comes on the radio that speaks so loudly to my soul as it relates to this nagging voice in my head. A song by Casting Crowns called “Voice of Truth”.

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He’s holding out His hand
But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again, “Boy, you’ll never win!”
“You’ll never win!

I am so glad that the song does not end there. It continues by saying…

But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story
The Voice of Truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
And the Voice of Truth says, “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth

It’s choosing to disregard all the voices from society and in our own heads and pivoting to listen and believe the Voice of Truth. Romans 12:2 tells us “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”

The voices that I hear that replay in my mind, I have a choice to believe them or not. The problem comes into play when I don’t realize that what I believe is actually a lie a not truth at all. My mind must be renewed continually and saturated with the truth of God’s word in order to detect and know what is truth.

I’m finding myself on this journey to change the narrative of what voice plays in my head. I’m inviting you to join me. It’s time to end the friendship with the voices in our heads that tear us down and tries to rob us of our true identities. It’s time to walk in sweet communion with the One who calls us friend (John 15:15). As we quiet ourselves before Abba Father and rest in the truth of His word, let it set us free from any voice that is NOT the Voice of Truth.

On a scale of 1 to 10…

What if we understood God’s plan?

What Mountain Are You Facing?