By Becky Beresford
I remember the exact moment we found out we were pregnant.
As six-month-old newlyweds we had things sorted. The plan was to travel abroad, further our ministry training, and of course, learn how to adult as married people. But then this plus sign on a five-inch plastic stick delivered unexpected news that changed it all, and we were shocked.
Within a few seconds the wave of feelings began to settle in. Shock led to joy, which led to hope, which quickly faded into the not-so-awesome emotion called FEAR. I always struggled when facing transitions, especially huge ones like this, but now I was scared on multiple levels. Would my baby be healthy and safe? Could my body handle the upcoming transformation? And most of all, could I do this? Was I ready to lay down my current reality as an independent human with plans and purposes of her own? Because ready or not, the day was here and everything was going to be different.
You see, dear friend, I always wanted to be a momma. There was never a question as to whether kids would be part of my future. But as I started to explore the gifts and passions Jesus laid heavily on my heart, I realized I wouldn’t be able to do them to the same extent (or even at all) when I became a mom. Time and energy would be precious and the ability to pee by myself, let alone get out and do ministry, would be a rare occurrence. So, I wrestled hard.
I wrestled with the fear of losing myself in the midst of dirty diapers and piles of laundry. I wrestled with pausing my plans in order to pursue my biggest dream: having a family. I wrestled with feeling discontent, wanting more but feeling bad for having that desire. And I wrestled with God, wondering when it would be my turn to pursue the dreams He had given me? Because my drive to do so was only getting stronger.
We decided that one of us would stay home with the littles until they were in Kindergarten, so every day I saw my husband off to work. I was happy he was following the path Jesus paved for him, but I was also jealous and I’ll say it… resentful. I didn’t know what was wrong with me because I wanted a family more than anything else. My babies were my life, but I couldn’t shake the desire for something else… Something that helped me recognize the young dreamer behind the worn-down mommy. For years the inner battle continued until one day I finally broke.
I was in a counseling session, letting off extreme amounts of steam. I shared my thoughts about not being 100% satisfied with mommy-hood and how I felt incredibly guilty for not being fine with my life. She listened and smiled and responded with complete grace.
“Becky, it’s okay. It’s okay to want more and want to do things for you. You are the best mom when you make sure to take care of yourself as well.”
I was stunned. Really, I had no clue what to say! Usually people told me this was ‘just for a season’ or ‘my time would come’, but never had someone actually validated my feelings by saying it was okay to want it all.
I had no problem accepting God’s best for my husband and kids, but I finally began to realize He had a best for ME… right here, right now! It’s such a fine line for mommas. We easily lay down our entire lives for the sake of our families, but being a mommy martyr is not the same thing as serving out of the fullness of Love.
So, Sister, let me save you years of grief and lay it all out there.
You are amazing. You are doing everything you can to make sure your babies are thriving, and God bless you for it! But you NEED to make sure you are taking care of you. You need to make sure you are pouring into the areas of your life that help you feel alive. It looks different for every person and life hands us various circumstances, but regardless of your situation, you need to know you are worth it. You are worthy of having the opportunity to pursue your dreams and passions because you matter to God. Granted, your focusing power may be limited, but you still need to water those sacred parts of your heart (even if it’s just a sprinkle) because your dreams don’t deserve to die. They are part of who you are, and they are meant to be shared with the world.
When Jesus came to this planet He came so that we “may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10). He wanted to restore and fulfill and offer an abundance of goodness that is for your entire family, including you! You are a Daughter of the King, and He loves you too much to let you constantly place yourself at the bottom in order to raise everyone else up.
Your gifts were never supposed to be buried, momma. They need to be resurrected.
I’m serious. Your children need to see them. When you dare to live out your passions, it gives your kids permission to do the same, and they will carry that truth with them into adulthood. You can be a dreamer and a parent at the same time. You can nurture their hearts and yours as well. You can love being a mom and love other things too. It is okay to be both, and it is good.
Don’t shame yourself into thinking you can’t be a passion-pursuer. Your gifts are beyond precious. And if we encourage our babies to go after their dreams, maybe it’s time we take our advice too.
You can do it, friend. And now you know you should.