My alarm sounded much too early on Tuesday morning and yet not soon enough. Weighed down with fatigue, my body struggled to keep up with my very alert mind. I can hear Moe-puppy begin to stir, stretching and yawning as she pads softly to the bedroom door, waiting to great the morning and the squirrels. My bleary gaze shifted down to behold bright eyes and chubby hands reaching up to be held. It is officially time to get out of my cozy bed and I cannot think of a better way to start my morning.
And then the reality of motherhood sets in.
Breathing like a little piglet, sweet baby’s nostrils are crusted with stubborn mucus while his lungs work their hardest to clear themselves through a persistent cough. He lets out a big sneeze followed by the sweetest coo you have ever heard. As his red-rimmed blue eyes look up to meet mine, a gummy grin spreads across his face. We go about our morning laughing and giggling. He shows off his acrobatic moves during his diaper change. I show off my ninja mom skills in getting the diaper on anyways and then one thing stands in between us and breakfast…the dreaded NoseFrida.
Oh. The. Drama.
I went from being the best to worst mom ever the second those saline drops hit his nose. Screams that could rival those in a horror flick fill my home. I am convinced the entire neighborhood can hear me torturing my near-perfect baby. Eternity seems to pass before every stubborn booger in sight is collected, only to find they reproduce at a rate faster than rabbits. I snuggle my little man, who continues to cry and wail in protest, making sure I am fully aware of how he feels about our twice daily date. I know that I am doing the most loving thing in helping him breathe, but does he understand? Does he know that I love him? He seems remarkably quick to forgive as he latches on to eat breakfast…finally.
I sit at my desk, tears welling up in my eyes, as I vent to my poor “assistant” (let’s be real, she runs the place) Tyra about how sucky it is to torture the poor baby and then hand him off to everyone else to love on and play with him. How comments like, “It sounds like your traumatizing him” reverberate within the broken pieces of my mother’s heart, joining the voice of the accuser in my mind, “You’re a nurse and you can’t even help your son who has been congested for nearly two months.”
True to form, Tyra offers a listening ear and loving encouragement. I compose myself and then head into worship (yes, we get to worship sometimes at work!), entering the throne room weighed down and suffocating. I stand, my arms out, palms open, and in the deepest part of my soul confess, Father, I feel so inadequate and insecure.
I mean, why play games? I am in over my head and I know it. I can hear the Enemy whisper, “Fraud.” And there on my knees, tears sliding down my cheeks, my ears are filled with the most precious reminders of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and gracious love towards me. A deep sense of shalom washes over me, and I am instantly aware that in Christ – that here, kneeling at His feet, crawling up into Abba’s lap, there is nothing missing, nothing broken, and nothing lacking. That my naked soul is not just observed but seen by God Himself and all of my shortcomings, weaknesses, and frailties are avenues of His grace, strength, and faithfulness to flow into the world. And with that, every excuse on my lips falls mute, the music ends, and I find my footing.
I am finding my footing.
The reality is that we can limp through life weighed down by inadequacies and insecurities, our lungs laboring in a hypoxic state, worn and ragged from breathing in polluted thoughts. We can cripple our potential, diminish our beauty, and exhaust our very souls by pretending that we’ve got this life-thing down without a problem or care in the world.
We can call a spade a spade in the throne room. We can find our footing on the foundation of grace. We can walk forward in shalom, in complete wholeness. We can accept that like any good family-style dinner served around the Father’s table, you can only pass what you first receive. Friends, you are not required to bring a side dish to this potluck, only the uniqueness of your presence.
At this table, there is more than enough to go around.