Refiners Fire. My heart’s one desire is to be holy. Set apart for you my Master. Ready to do your will.
This is a song we use to sing in church when I was a kid. The idea of a purifying fire has been brought up multiple times in my church experiences. I never really got it. I mean, I understood it in my head. A fire hurts but it cleanses. If you want to be purified in a relaxing way, go to take a bath. If you want the purification process to hurt like hell, walk through the fire. While I’ve experienced difficulties in my life, experiences that have helped me grow and gotten rid of crap in my life, I wouldn’t really qualify them as fires. That changed August 17, 2013. The day I became a mom.
Please don’t misunderstand. These last 4 months have been the best of my life. And from the outside, there doesn’t seem anything particularly “firey” about being AJ’s mom. He’s very healthy, happy and content. He’s not a great sleeper, but we’ve managed to function. He doesn’t cry incessantly for no reason. He’s a great baby. He’s easy. And yet being his mom has been the hardest job I’ve ever had. I’ve never felt so insecure in my life, and I was the girl that ate lunch in the bathroom freshmen year of high school. I’ve never experienced so many dramatically different emotions all at once. I consistently feel empowered and hopeless, joyful and depressed, excited and scared all the same time EVERY FREAKIN DAY! I’ve never functioned on so little sleep. I’ve never thought about one topic so intently and for so long. I usually become interested in something, get really excited about it for a couple days, maybe a couple months, and then I loose interest. But I have been obsessing about this baby boy from day one and I don’t think I’ll ever stop. It’s amazing but also exhausting.
And the thing is, being a mom isn’t even the hardest part of my life right now. It’s being a mom AND being everything else- a wife, an employee, a Christ follower, a friend, a Sunday School teacher, a blogger, a housekeeper. If all I ever had to do was take care of AJ then I don’t think I would burst into tears every other day. But I have to take care of him and balance all my other roles. Of course, I love my other roles. It’s not like I want to stop being a wife or quit my job, although I wouldn’t mind giving up the role of housekeeper so if someone wants to take that from me, be my guest. It’s just that I like to be good at everything, and I can’t be good at everything all at once. That’s a hard fire for me to walk through.
I once read a book called Sacred Marriage (it’s phenomenal and I highly recommend it). The basic gist was that marriage isn’t intended to make us happy, but to make us holy. I think the same can be said of parenting. It is a happy job, but being happy as a parent, or making your child happy, should not be the primary goal. Striving towards holiness, with your partner and your kids, should be the goal. So the next time I change AJ and he immediately spits up, poops and pees on himself, I will smile. When he wakes up screaming in 1-2 hours, I will smile. When I’m slathering on a million different ointments for rashes and dry skin that just won’t clear up, I’ll smile. Not because I’m pretending to be happy, but because smiling reminds me to be patient, loving and joyful. It reminds me that my walk through the fire isn’t about my happiness, but rather its about growing in holiness and, along with my husband, teaching my son to do the same.