A couple of weeks ago, as I was hauling children and carrying out the mundaneness of life, my husband sent a text message. It read, "What are you passionate about? What makes you want to get up in the morning?" I will admit that I was annoyed when I read it, I mean, I don't have time to ponder such big things. I cook meals, I clean up, I wipe butts, I give hugs and I settle fights, lather rinse repeat.
I responded with, "my family", to which he called me out...telling me that was a cop out...he knows I love my family and serve them with all I have.
We let it go at that but the question was in the back of my head...each day I'd revisit that text conversation, it bothered me that I couldn't give a deep answer. It made me wonder where I'd lost myself and who I even was anymore. That's Howard for you, always going there, always pushing me and asking the hard questions.
I thought about all of the things I've been passionate about in life but I felt like reality had beat every one out of me. I wipe tears and butts all day long. I do nothing of great significance, I live my life, I go through the motions but I am not making any great differences, I am not fighting poverty or serving in a third world country or volunteering at the local food bank. I am so tired most days that I can barely drag myself out of bed let alone want to wake up for something.
I thought about my life, I've endured losing my mom, the loss of two sweet baby boys, adoption, foster care and cancer and those are just the big ones. When I was diagnosed with cancer, perspective came, I was just glad to be alive and with my kids each day I haven't been searching for anything bigger or better or more grand.
Then a night last week we found out that a co-worker of Howard's had lost the baby she'd been carrying for nine months, he would be still born that night. My heart was so broken, my eyes full of tears and I paced the house wracking my brain for what I could DO. I called the NILMDTS photographer who did Asher's photos to see if he could go and take some pictures for them. Initially he thought he could but when the time came, he wasn't able to be there, after a message or two with a few local friends who have lost babies themselves, we found a wonderful photographer willing to go. We raced to get ready to get there and when the time came, the mom wanted to be alone, no extra people in the room, and I totally remember that feeling, so after having a cup of tea with a friend, I drove to the hospital and I sat in the parking lot and I just prayed. I didn't even have any words, I just cried out knowing the Lord knew my heart...and the heart of this sweet family.
A few nights later I'd stopped at one of my dearest friend's house to gather a few of my children who'd been playing there. As we were chatting she got a phone call for a foster placement of a sweet three year old girl. I offered to drive her to the agency to pick the little girl up so she could ride in the back of the van with her. We got to the agency and the fear was tangible. Three sisters being separated and pulled from all they knew. Fear and tears in their eyes they waited in a sterile office for the person who would care for them for the time being. We walked in and our eyes met theirs and my heart shattered. I wanted nothing more than to take all three of them myself to keep them together but there is a six kid limit in foster care and if you have six kids in your home you can't take on more, which is why they were being separated.
As we loaded the sweet girl's things and buckled her into a strange van to take her to a place far from anything she knew, she screamed in terror, she screamed for about 15 minutes before my sweet friend was able to calm and reassure her, we offered Happy Meals and Dora and anything we could think of to make things just a tiny bit easier for her. My heart was so broken that night I couldn't sleep, so I sat up praying for that family an everyone involved in the case.
Howard was sound asleep, but in that moment, I sent him a text, it read, "You know how you asked me what I am passionate about, and what makes me want to get up in the morning? This is it. I am living it. Helping and praying for hurting families and children, and it is what I do in my every day. The wiping of butts, the settling of fights, and hugs and the wiping away tears...that IS what I was meant to do. I am doing it. It feels mundane and like none of it matters, but it matters the MOST."
The next day he text back, "That's keeping it 100". (We watch the Nightly Show on Comedy Central most nights, and Larry Wilmore has a show and one of the segments is one called "Keeping it 100" and he is asked questions and has to keep it 100 percent real.)
Sometimes in life, it all gets to be mundane and exhausting, but it is often those moments that are the most defining. Motherhood is so hard. Mothering hurt children is unimaginably hard and there are many days full of therapists and social workers and biological families and lawyers and tantrums and tears, but it matters. It may not appear as grand as serving in a third world country, but we are all called to different things, and my mission field...is my home. It is HERE that I will make a difference. It won't bring me fame or fortune, but it will bring eternal glories...if I am keeping it 100, friends, this life is so hard, so exhausting and so overwhelming, but it is SO worth it. I am living the dream...right smack in the middle of God's will...and there is no better place to be. SOMETIMES I get to love and pray for those who are also going through tough times, I get to comfort with the comfort that has been shown to me and in those moments, I am able to see from the outside and I am so grateful.