When my first two kids were young, I felt like I was “on hold” for a number of years. I felt like, by necessity, I was only able to focus on being a mom and, therefore, I lost touch with who I was deep down.
I lost touch with what kind of music I actually enjoyed. I lost touch with how much I loved learning. I forgot about how pleasurable it was to read a well-written novel. I forgot how much my soul came alive when I would take the time to write out my thoughts and my prayers. I forgot how much I enjoyed having time to myself to simply think without interruption.
There were entire giftings and passions inside me of which I was completely unaware.
I was in survival mode, just hanging on for dear life as a mom and a wife. I simply didn’t feel like I was capable of much more than just keeping us all alive and as injury-free as possible.
It was a heavy load for me— especially because I also totally isolated myself during that season and didn’t feel like I had anyone to depend on except my husband and my dad. And even then: I didn’t utilize their help much. I was too busy trying to prove to myself and everyone else that I was capable and not burdensome.
I was so busy running around after toddlers and trying to figure out how to be supportive as my husband made a huge (and stressful) career change— that I completely got out of touch with myself. I had inklings of dreams and hopes creep up now and again, but for the most part I successfully squashed all of my own ambitions and desires and dreams. Because I thought that was “the right thing” for me to do at the time.
I was only mildly aware of it at the time, but the truth is: disappointment and shame and self-doubt pervaded my mind for several years. I felt guilty for wanting more than “just being a mom.” I felt disappointed that my life completely revolved around everyone else and I was unable to do anything that was truly satisfying for myself anymore. I felt bitter towards no one in particular because I felt squashed and like I had gifts and talents and worthwhile ideas to share with the world— yet no where to exercise any of it in a meaningful way.
I knew that my calling as a mom was of superb importance— and that is what kept me going— but I felt like I was also made for more than “just” mothering these two gorgeous girls of mine. I had a heart for the lost and broken and lonely and confused of this world… yet I had no idea how or where to be able to do anything useful for them.
I felt forgotten, cast aside, and useless.
BUT GOD didn’t forget about me.
I may have forgotten who I was without toddlers attached to me. I may have forgotten who I was without my husband and his career and his issues attached to me. I may have forgotten that it was important to keep making time for solitude and intentional connection with God. I may have forgotten how much I love to read and learn and write and pray for the broken and needy of this world (myself included). I may have forgotten certain gifts and talents and passions that had once burned in my soul… BUT GOD did not.
All the while, when I felt like I was growing more and more useless for the world beyond my immediate family, God was working on me and teaching me so much about Himself through it all. And when the time was right… When I germinated in loneliness, lostness, and depression long enough… He nudged me just a bit, and then a little bit more, and before I knew it: I was alive again. I had come out of isolation and was now interacting with other women, ministering to them and being ministered to by them. I was using gifts He had placed in me decades ago— gifts of writing, gifts of teaching, gifts of interceding for my loved ones, gifts of hospitality— and, without me even realizing it, I found myself blooming. Thriving.
Like a plant desperate for a drink of water in order to grow strong again, I needed community. I needed purpose besides “just” my little ones. I needed support from other women in similar life stages as me. I needed good old fashioned girlfriends to go on walks with and laugh with and study the Bible with and simply “do life with.”
I had thought I was forgotten, outdated, and purposeless… Like the pause button had been pushed on my life and giftings the moment I became a mom… Like Someone had forgotten to ever “un-pause” me. BUT GOD stirred me, woke me up from my slumber, and brought me back to life.
[This is Day 28 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. This year my focus is on the role of STORY in our lives. Click here to get to the landing page with links to each post for this series.]
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What about you?
Do you ever feel forgotten, outdated, and purposeless? What is God whispering to you…?
Please share your journey in the comment section below.