For several months I have wondered, "What is wrong with me?" I seem unable to do this things that I want to do. Instead of losing weight I gain weight. Instead of being energetic and fun for my toddler, I have headaches and knee pain. Instead of being organized with homeschooling and household, I am always making excuses to myself for the chaos. My brain seems completely fried to the point that as a former avid reader I can't focus long enough to get through a book. I am cranky and complaining and selfish. "It is just the season of life I am in," I tell myself. Is it really?
After a difficult pregnancy with my last sweet miracle of a baby (even at two he is still a wondrous thing to me), I struggled with depression. I didn't want to be medicated so I tried to do the things I read that were good for helping with that: sunlight, exercise, working on a hobby. I discovered that I loved sewing cloth diapers and it became a huge blessing to me and my family. I discovered I wanted to share that blessing with others. I wanted to cloth diaper the world--or at least all those within arm's reach! It began in me as a hope that this was a way that I could use my God-given talents to glorify God. So I opened my Etsy store. I found that I loved it. I love making things that other people appreciate and use. I love answering people's questions and helping them in their cloth diapering journey. I love having a little extra money to either help out with little family things or to fund my sewing and knitting. My husband loves that I do those things too. And all those are good things, until they are not.
I had a moment of clarity this very morning. As I was lamenting again that I cannot be who I want to be, I realized that it was because I wasn't even working towards that goal anymore. Who am I really? Am I an Etsy store owner, a cloth diapering consultant, a blog writer (certainly not)? I am not any of these things. I am a child of God, a wife, and a mother. All the rest is just the extra stuff I choose to do! I realized that my insane level of stress is due to the fact that I have chosen to make all kinds of other things my identity and I am missing me. I am missing being creative for the fun of it. I am missing having the time to bake cookies with my kids (an also being able to refrain from eating half the bowl of dough if I do). I am missing really being there when they talk to me. I am missing waking up without worrying about getting on the computer first thing. I am missing the blessing of being home with my children each and every day. I am missing an organized household (my would-be spring cleaning has now turned into my would-be summer cleaning). I want to get my toddler out of bed in the morning without thinking about the things that won't get done now that he's awake.
I have been working so hard to be good at the stuff in my life, that I have forgotten to be the creative, passionate child of God that He created me to be--the person who's joy is not in a sale made, or a cloth diaper convert, but in a day well spent to His glory. Can't I have both, all of it, my hopes and dreams? Sometimes. But sometimes we use hopes and dreams, or just everyday stuff, for something else-- a bandaid or a filling of a void. There is a time for everything, a season for everything. Sewing cloth diapers helped me to weather the season of depression I faced. Today I realized it is the season for letting go...letting go of the things that have me running in circles to nowhere and a season for rediscovering the joy I have in being a child of the Creator, in my being the wife of the husband who loves me beyond deserving, and in being the mother to three miracles who's lives I am so blessed to a part of!
Am I giving up on something? No, not me. I am realizing that what I was chasing was no real prize in the end. I want to chase my toddler instead...and after that, well, who's to say but my Creator. Will He use my sewing or knitting talents to fill some great need or will He cultivate in my yet a whole new set of skills? I don't know, and I don't even want to. Today I want to rejoice in remembering who I am and even enjoy packing and preparing for the trip we are about to make to watch my middle son participate in a national archery competition. I want to not fall apart when the day doesn't go the way I planned it. So I am letting go...and grabbing on.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.