I've begun to notice a trend lately where women, especially mothers, have exulted the necessity of self-care and time to themselves. As a counselor, I applaud this trend of recognizing that often, to do our best work, we must spend time by our selves, with our selves.
But, in addition to this healthy focus, there seems to also be another trend occurring -where the act of motherhood.. and even marriage, has been equated to work. And not the good kind.
Obviously, both do require work. HARD work. HOLY work. Neither are easy, and both are costly. They cost time. Effort. Intention. Imagination. Sacrifice. But all this? It's an intangible cost. It's a daily cost.
But when did we start providing a bill? And even more so, when did we suggest that both were something that occurred outside ourselves? As if we could clock out? Or that we should?
Before I became a wife or a mother, I remember being quite cynical about "those" women who seemed to idolize their roles as either of these. It drove me crazy. I sometimes even thought that their passion bordered on an unhealthy obsession. I mean, I would much rather be known by my own name than, "so and so's wife" or "so and so's mom", right? It made me cringe.
How am I supposed to maintain who I am while being these other things as well? I think I have been asking the wrong question.
Here is what I have learned - Sure, I am something besides "mom" and "wife" but I am actually so much more because I am a mom and a wife.
And regardless of who I am, it's not about glorifying my name nor my roles in life - it's about glorifying God's name.
Think about a missionary going where they have been called - expecting change and miracles. They forget that the change doesn't just happen in the physical space of where they reside. It happens within themselves. Within their heart and in the hearts of others.
Their goal is in who they represent. And who are they representing? Christ. They could care less if they themselves were known. When you are a missionary, there is no separating yourself from your current circumstance. That is where you have committed to reside until God says its time to go.
This is our mission field. To be the best wives we can be - serving our husband in a Christ-like manner so that Christ himself can be glorified. To be the best moms that we can be, so that we raise our children in the way in which they should go - a path following the voice of God.
It's time that we stop attempting to categorize all the parts of ourselves - glorifying our independence from these things that are actually quite honorable and holy. Because by ourselves, change is impossible. God is doing the best kind of work when we are with others. When we make ourselves about others.
On the hardest of days, when you want to give up - when your first thought is about separating yourself - physically or emotionally -remember, that THIS is your mission field. And God? He gives you the strength you need, the grace you need, and the drive to keep going. Be proud of the work you are doing and who you are because of it.