There was a time when I didn’t know if I’d ever have children of my own (read about my infertility here and here). I desperately wanted them but infertility was against me. For the first time, I understood the desperate cries of the barren women in the Bible. Hannah. Sarah. Rachel. Elizabeth. Reading their stories touched me personally as I felt both their pain and my own. When you long for a child and your arms are empty, your life can feel empty too.
I will forever be thankful that I live in a time where there is help for the infertile. Without intervention, my daughters wouldn’t be here, and I can’t imagine life without them. Every mother loves her children. But at times I feel like my love is even deeper and fiercer than most. Experiencing so much heartache in the attempt to have a baby has made my time with them more precious.
After the twins were born, my world revolved around them. Eve and Vera were my everything. I didn’t care what I had to sacrifice to be with them and it was extremely difficult for me to share that time with anyone else. They were mine and I wanted them with me. Always.
Eventually I realized that it was more than a mother’s love for her child that was filling me. My kids became my idol. I was, in a sense, worshipping their very existence.
Even though I realized what was happening I didn’t necessarily want to change – I love my kids so much! – but I knew that I had to and that I needed help. So I prayed. I apologized to my husband for putting the kids first. I became more conscious of letting other people love on my kids without becoming angry or jealous. My heart became more balanced.
Too bad I didn’t learn my lesson.
I have high expectations of myself. On any given day, I try to keep the house clean and tidy, exercise, focus on making nutritious meals, play with the kids, teach the kids, read my Bible, do all the laundry and grocery shopping, discipline the kids, plan for the week to come, put my thoughts into writing, and keep my heart open to other people. If someone asks for something in three days I make it a point to have it done in two. I have always pushed myself.
The summer after Lia was born I suffered from exhaustion. Yes, having three kids under three had something to do with it but it was more than that. I began to realize that my determination to be an all-star woman was wrecking me. The guilt I felt when I didn’t check every item off of my “Be Awesome Today” list would make me push myself even harder.
Once again, I had erected an idol. This time, the idol was myself. Me and my pride.
You see, when people look at my life from the outside in, I want to impress them. How well my kids behave is a reflection on me. Whether my home is tidy or in disarray is a reflection on me. The quality of my work is a reflection on me. The status of my relationships is a reflection on me. The way I take care of myself is a reflection on me. And I care. I want to glorify God, yes, but I also want to keep some of the glory for myself.
Somewhere along the way God whispered his truth into my heart and I realized that how I live my life is a reflection of Him even more than it is of me. And because I love Him, I want to honor His image. Though I suspect that I’ll fight the battle of my pride until I die, I now focus more on living out His truth than on being praised for my own accomplishments. I have learned that I will never be satisfied unless I allow Him to be my master.
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)
What is your master?