Hidden Contentment

Ideas spilled out of my head onto paper. The nature walks, the science experiments, cooking lessons, reading and writing practice. I planned the weeks out carefully hoping I could make our summer full.

After a week of plans that I thought were simple, I realized that it wasn't going to work. I simplified even more. That didn't work either. 

I began to struggle. I knew that many of the things we could not do were because Elias was not interested. Or it was a safety issue. When a nature walk turns into me running after Elias to save his life (twice) from a busy street, with a three month old baby strapped to my chest, I crossed nature walks of my list.

This summer was hard, but really good. I could see the discontentment in my life as I cried over the things I wanted to accomplish with my kids. I battled jeolousy over other families that can do things that I cannot. I would catch myself mumbling under my breath all my irritations with the woman who would walk by my house with all of her well behaved children that never ran from her. It seemed like she was walking by my house anytime I walked out into the front yard, like she wanted to rub it in my face...I can go on walks and my children stay on the sidewalk!

This summer I changed. As I sat in the backyard watching my tan children play in the blow up pool (where Elias can't run from me.), I thanked God for reminding me that this season is good. The days that seem unbearable, where all I feel like I'm doing is keeping my children alive, those days are good. 

I thought about how I looked content to people on the outside looking in. The lady who goes on walks with all her children probably thinks I'm a very content mother as I smile, wave, and give her a happy hello. But she has no idea that my heart does not match my warm smile. Really I want to squirt her with my hose and throw water balloons at her.

I don't remember what day it was, but I'm sure I was sipping on iced coffee, (my survival drink of choice) when I realized I needed to change. I remember feeling broken, but also free. God was faithful to remind me that my life is rich. I may feel like I am struggling most days, or at least part of the day, but it's a good life that I've been given. It may look different from others, but that doesn't mean it's less of a life. It doesn't mean that these days are less valuable. 

This summer looked very different then what I had planned. Most of the days ended with me in tears as I battled the struggle in my heart. But it is helpful to know, no matter what the struggle, I can ask God to help me be content. There may be days I look like a mess on the outside, but there can be contentment hidden deep inside my soul.

Summer (in photos)

I'm sitting at the kitchen table listening to the laundry tumble in the drier, prepping the kids clothes for school. Last week we said goodbye to summer and turned the pages to another chapter of life, a new school year. All my kids look taller, and they have this glow of summer, like it left it's mark on them. 

I have more to share about summer, but for now...some pictures!

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Seven Years of Being Your Mom

Seven years ago you wanted out of my belly. I had imagined what my birth experience would be like with you, but when that day came it was nothing what I imagined. My birth story with you is much like your passionate personality!

I had my ideas of what being a mother would be like. I had perfect pictures of patience in my mind. We would laugh, hold hands, finger paint, and never would there be any yelling.

Well, my passionate redheaded son, I had no idea what my life would be like with you. To be honest, I struggle with guilt. I am not very patient, their hasn't been much finger painting, and there's been a lot more yelling than I knew I was capable of. 

The way I envisioned being a mother looked really nice, but it had no depth. 

I know you don't understand this now, but I want to write it to you because one day you will know what I am saying. One day you will fail, like I have. You will disappoint. You will feel shame. There will be days when you wonder how others can love you when you make awful mistakes.

And that's when you will remember me—on my knees, once again, asking you for forgiveness. 

I know our relationship has been bumpy, but without those bumps I would be a terrible mother. Those bumps are what we need. Those bumps remind us that we cannot walk this road alone. We need Jesus. He is the one who gives us all we need. When we fail, he will pick us up and conquer! When we lose our temper, He will be our patience. When we make bad choices, he gives us wisdom. 

The last seven years with you has brought so much joy to our family. You are quick to love others. When you see a homeless person on the street you would empty your jar of recycling money in a heartbeat and give your bed for them to sleep in. We have seen you care for your brothers and sister in a way that is beyond your years...you have learned to put others before yourself. I have learned so much from you.

I love you Vitali, you are only seven, but you have experienced so much life already. You are a gift to all of us. The day you made me a mother was the most amazing day of my life. 

Happy birthday!

© 2014 Natalie Falls