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just a mom

A few days ago I had to fill out some paperwork for something or other.  I sat down, filled it out, and handed it back to the nice lady who worked at the reception desk.  She looked it over and proceeded to ask me a few questions:

Birth place?  South Africa

Number of dependents?  Seven

Occupation?  “Just a mom,”  I told her.

As soon as the words came out of my mouth I realized how that sounded.  Yes, I was a mom.  But just a mom?  My choice of words made it sound so much less than who I truly was–almost as if I was playing down my role and making it seem impartial.

Oh my goodness. I am a mom.  Period!

I drove away that day thinking about how many other times I had downplayed the most amazing role God could ever have given me. 

I seriously have the greatest job on earth.

Is it easy?  Heck, no!  I have many days when I look around my house and wonder if I will ever get on top of the cleaning.  And don’t even get me started on the darn laundry!  Oh my word, talk about never ending.  Some days I wish we could go back to the times when each member of the family had two outfits–one to wear and one to wash.  When did we ever decide that we needed SO many clothes.  It’s ridiculous. 

I often think about when I was a child and my mom used to tell me that it really was not necessary to change my clothes three times a day.  Of course I disagreed completely and emphatically told her why I needed to dress myself in various outfits as my mood changed throughout the day.  What goes around comes around, huh?  One tiny little bit of dirt on a shirt and that thing gets whipped off in a flash of lightning and a clean shirt gets put on…even when it’s 6 p.m. and time for a shower.  What ever happened to spot cleaning?

Sheesh.

Some days are just downright tiring.  I literally fall into bed at night feeling like my to-do list once again went untouched.

And you know what?

That’s okay!

While I certainly do have my moments (my family will vouch for the fact), for the most part I am perfectly content to let the laundry wait just another day.  In the bigger picture it really will not matter.

Because this is where I would much rather be….

With the ones I love.

I realized a long time ago that someday, when my children are grown and out of our home (which comes way too quickly, they tell me), that they will not remember (or be impressed by) how neat the house was.  Nor will they remember a laundry pile the size of Mount Everest.  No, they will remember the love, the memories, the laughter, the togetherness.

And I don’t want to miss a single thing.  I want to cherish each and every milestone that my children reach.  I want to sit out in the park and make memories together before I reach for the Swiffer. 

I am not just a mom. 

No, I am a mother.  And I love it!

I never have to look hard for miracles or the wonder of God.  I see it right here in my own home. I get to witness miracles unfolding every day of my life. 

As her mom I get to be her biggest and loudest cheerleader.  Who would ever have thought that this little bear-crawler would come so, so far in a year?  Heavens, not me!  There was once a time when she was so afraid of the grass.  She wouldn’t even touch the stuff.  And as soon as her hands or feet landed on the green stuff, she would whine and complain.

Just look at her now.

I love these pictures.  They remind me that miracles happen every day.

Hailee is all over the place.  Put her on the grass and watch her move.  The girl cannot sit still for a single second.  She is into everything (think closets, toilets, books)!

And when she’s outside…..

She gets up on her two feet and is actually willing to walk barefoot.  Barefoot!  That’s huge for Hailee.

Words cannot even describe what an honor and a privilege it is so be Hailee’s mom. 

It’s true, you know. I have the greatest job in the world! 

I get to see my six year old, who was abandoned by humans and left in a filthy crib for five years of her life, thrive in a family.  I get to watch a terrified little girl who had absolutely no idea how to interact with people or even know how to respond to human touch, blossom…and blossom…and blossom.

My breath is taken away every day when I see this child crawl all over her siblings.  As soon as one of them is on the ground, there she is.  She seeks them out.  She craves affection and is just the most delightful little angel.

Who would ever have thought?

Oh, and to see Hailee love play.  I mean LOVE play.  After all she has been through in her life this, for me, is such sweet redemption.

She laughs until she loses her breath.

She giggles from the dizziness.

And then…..

“Let’s do that again, sis!”

And I sit nearby, capturing it all on camera, and realizing once again that there is no place in the world that I would rather be.

Than right here.  Right now.

How I love being their mom.  Not just their mom…but their mother.  The one whom God has called by name to parent these blessings. 

I confess.  Some days, in all the craziness, I forget.  I forget to love them well.  I forget to give them my everything.  I get so caught up in the trivial, mundane stuff–the things which have zero eternal value but are simply just there to steal my time and rob my joy.  Ugh!

Some days I forget about the high calling of motherhood and what an incredible privilege it is to be able to have such influence on young minds.  There are those days when I am so distracted, my mind in a million other places.  Those days when I am anything but fully present with my children.

Some days I forget to clean less, and hug more.

But thankfully, the Lord is so gentle, kind and gracious with me.  He always brings me back.  He always reminds me of what matters the most.  He is always so good to remind me of where my priorities are.  For before I know it, they will be out on their own, living their lives and running their own races.  Oh, how I pray that they will go out from our place of safety and be world-changers, not conformers!

Last week I met a world-changer.  I had a dentist appointment which happens to be in the largest hospital in our city. I had no idea where I was going and felt a little lost.  The building is enormous.  As I ran through the front doors, there at the entrance sat a young girl.  Perhaps she was about twenty.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  She had the friendliest face ever and was extremely articulate in answering questions and directing the constant flow of traffic.  Many, like me, seemed lost, and she was more than happy to point them in the right direction.

I stood there.  Observing.  Smiling.  Chills all over my body.

She was changing the world!  Changing perceptions.  Breaking down barriers.  That young lady was building a bridge between the community and special needs.

She had Down syndrome.

I came home and looked at my own treasures on this earth who rock the extra chromosome and something resonated so deeply in my heart. As their mom, I have the the honor and the joy of encouraging my girls to be ALL who they can be.  Each and every day God has given me a great gift–to be able to help these sweet and beautiful girls to be everything whom the Father has created them to be. The power of my words and the ability to build them up, encourage them, help them to see themselves as fearfully and wonderfully made, and to take the opportunity to tell them every single day that they are BEAUTIFUL….wow!

Mothers are so much more than just moms. 

And so in the day-to-day craziness, in the weariness, in the busyness of life, I will attempt to always be mindful of the fact that God has given me the most awesome calling I could ever have asked for.  And if in my lifetime I am never anything other than what I am right here, right now,  I will be perfectly content.

Simply because I’m their mother.  And there is no other job in the world that I would rather have. 

I am complete.

Just in case you were wondering–this picture is Harper’s latest monkey see, monkey do.  She watches the boys spray on deodorant, and then proceeds to show us all exactly how it’s done.  Of course, she can do it way better than they can. We cannot help but smile.  Way too cute.

To every one of you who is raising the next generation, let me encourage you today and tell you that you have the most awesome job on the face of the earth.  Not always easy.  But amazing. 

You are more than just a mom!

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