Our baby is 3 months old now. We have settled into our new roles and are working ourselves into a more predictable pattern of living. Life as a mother of five small children is a blur. Every day has its own rhythm. Sometimes it is like a song. Sometimes it is total chaos.
Last week was particularly hard for me. I was sick with a fever for a couple of days. The whole time I kept waking up thinking, “Who is going to feed everybody?” Of course Randy took care of us. But laying in bed, I could feel the house getting more and more out of my control. I knew it was going to take me a long time to get on top of the monumental mess-making that was happening while my eyes were closed.
When I got better, I told the kids that for every ten toys/clothes/things they got rid of, I would give them a dollar. (Don’t laugh. I owe them $13.50 and counting…) Sometimes, I just get completely overwhelmed by the amount of people living in this house. We weren’t thinking about a family when we moved in. And we weren’t expecting that it would be so hard to resell one day. And we certainly never dreamed we would have 5 children. We were short-sighted. We were writing songs and expecting to make a living making music, playing shows anytime and anywhere we were invited. It seemed like the greatest purpose of our lives. Something we had been working up to since we met. Something we would always do.
Life is different now. There are so many wonderful things about living with children. They are completely inspiring. (I say this while Rosie is sitting under the blossoming blackberry bushes, drawing the white flowers in her nature journal, and Paloma is drawing bright yellow dandelions and the tiniest little lavender-colored-weed-flowers that are growing in our grass.) But there are times when I get so frustrated by how little I can find time to do. I grow weary from being the person who must ultimately meet the constant needs, who must address the constant interruption, who must answer the constant clamour of questions, who must think ahead for everyone. If I let myself think about all of the things I want to accomplish in life–things that at one time truly felt like the reasons I was put on this planet–it will gnaw at me until I am completely discontent with the life I have been given.
My purpose has shifted. The person I used to be has been swept up into this powerful current that rushes day and night. These are the kind of waves that you can only take one by one, and you can not look too far ahead because they stretch out before you for miles. It takes faith to believe there is a calm ocean somewhere just beyond them.
This season will be over in a moment. I know this. Complete strangers tell me this almost every time I go to the grocery store. They tell me with regret and sadness in their voices. As if they truly wish they were the ones with two in the buggy and three at the waist. I know it is true. This little whisper of a moment where my baby laughs only by smiling will be a bittersweet memory in a few short weeks. The deepening color of fire-red hair, the morning sounds of running feet, the sharp surprise of every season shared with small children who are full of wonder. One day the house will be quiet. And I will miss the music in their voices. Oh how I love them. How I want to enjoy them every moment I can.
The purpose of my life is not to have more time. It is not to write songs or make things or update a blog. It is not to have an orderly house. It is not to live a life that is pleasant. It is not to do all of the things I have ever dreamed of. I am designed for one purpose, and it has very little to do with me. It is this: to love God, to know him, and bring him glory. This is what I want. This is the one thing that I can devote my life to without regret. The way this plays out is different now that I am a mother. I don’t have to wake up in the morning and wonder what it is that I am supposed to do. I know. It starts with breakfast and it doesn’t ever stop, not even when the last sleepy eye closes late in the evening. It is just to say yes to what God has begun in my life. To surrender to this season with my whole heart. To find joy in it. To listen for the song that lies beneath this chaos and to try, with all my heart, to sing along.
“I witness the power, great mystery telling
In every moment, with every swelling wave
I feel the depth of your love and devotion,
My heart like a bird that dives into this ocean blue.”
(song lyrics from Wave After Wave by Iona)