I was in a gym, surrounded by people who seemed to have it all together. Curled hair, makeup flawless and outfit on point. With older children, these moms get to sit and watch their kids play sports without carrying two bags of necessities, a beast of a stroller, or a preschooler who dead sailors every time the moment requires legs.
I was a hot mess.
Oh, I dressed to impress. Made myself all purdy. Did my best to be prepared for keeping Evie and the twins preoccupied and fed. Got to the game early to get set up.
And yet, it all fell apart.
Car rides have become a given in this stage of the game. We spend around two hours a day toting kids. So the moment my babes are out of a car seat, they are ready to roam. Not conducive with volleyballs flying about. Add to that a reclusive preschooler and you’ve got yourself a hostile situation.
And I get it. This is just a moment in time that will eventually pass. I know that all too well as I watch my teenage daughter in this tournament whilst holding a one year old. Or two one year olds.
But that moment across the court. That is fleeting too. And once again, as a mom of many, I’m wrestling with how I split my time with seven.
In the midst of this, I have to pick up the other three kids from school. Fortunately my grandparents show up at the game and offer to keep an eye on a baby so I don’t have to lug my monstrosity of a stroller all over campus again. They are angels, I tell ya!
So on goes this day in a chaotic fashion. I am in no way trying to be in the way with all the kids, but it is kinda hard not to be.
And as I try to listen to my boy talk about school, while pulling my 4 year old off the ground for the 237th time, in the midst of a building with the acoustics of an airplane hangar, filled with screaming girls and projectiles going all over- the thoughts and feelings rise from their crypt.
“You are just a nuisance. Take your insanity and go home.”
“I’m just certain these people are thinking that you are a mess.”
“Could you not pull off perfection for one day?”
Now, before I get a bunch of messages confirming the opposite, let me make some thing clear: these are thoughts. Thoughts that cross my mind in the heat of a stressful situation. And I share them here because I know- I KNOW that there are others reading this who get the same feelings. We are human. They happen, and if you say they don’t come to you, you are not being honest.
I tell you these stories to say you are not alone. We all need confirmation that our struggles are not abnormal. There is nothing new under the sun. I also share to say don’t let feelings dictate your actions and your thoughts about you or others for that matter. Feelings are not a good indicator of truth, they simply are your expressions about any given situation.
What really happens after these thoughts enter your cerebral cortex is entirely up to you. The Bible tells us that our thoughts need to be taken captive. Feelings and thoughts need to be evaluated under the microscope of truth.
“I am loved by God. That same God gave me these children and these opportunities. He also gives me the wisdom to know when to do something and the strength to do it.”
“No one in this gym is perfect. Everyone has their own problems and burdens. They are too busy to worry about mine. And if they are judging, they will stand before God to give an account. That is on them, not me.”
“Perfection is unattainable-like chasing the wind. God doesn’t give me merit for being perfect. He gives me favor because I am His child. Besides, the Bible tells us to confess our faults one to another. I’m confessing without having to say a word. That’s great multitasking.”
And even if I’m still not feeling it, I tell myself the truth and eventually my stubborn heart falls into line.
The world needs real Christians. Not people who put on a perfect persona. I can be harried and joyful. I can be struggling and hopeful. I can be grieving yet grateful. The Christian life isn’t a formula for perfection. It’s the way to travel though this life of ups and downs with joy and peace, giving glory to our Maker.
As I recounted my day and my thoughts to my husband, he said to me, “Maybe that is our ministry. To be the realest people in the bunch.”
A ministry of realness? I can get behind that.