I once found myself stuck on the floor of my oldest child’s bedroom, completely paralyzed between two squeaky floorboards. This was all after my forearm was caught behind her pillow for ten minutes as she had put the tooth fairy pillow on the wall side of her bed. My hand was completely stuck holding a teeny, tiny envelope with a teeny, tiny letter inside with teeny, tiny handwriting and an origami dollar bill. Once freed from that ridiculous position, I tried to quietly exit the room with ballet movements I had only seen in movies. When all of a sudden, as I was almost home free, I stepped and heard a creak so loud my daughter’s head popped up. I hit the deck like a spider monkey- spread out on all fours, hovering above the rug and loud floor. Sweat was dripping down my furrowed brow, as I contemplated my next move. But the light from my bedroom was illuminating my whereabouts so I couldn’t slowly crawl and with each new movement I made- hand or foot- some new creak came out. The creaky floor boards were multiplying..is that even possible? Instead of crawling, I decided to channel something I had seen on Bear Grills about being stuck in quicksand… I laid completely flat on the floor to distribute my weight and tried to shimmy like a snake out of the room. I barely made it into the hallway before the snorts of hysterical laughter hit as I wondered what had gotten me into this mess.
I am Me.
That’s why I was in this mess.
It’s why I’m always in a huge mess.
I truly believe I can be all things, do all things, complete every task at hand, and nothing will fail.
It’s a blessing and a curse, really- my obscure and sometimes out-of-touch positivity.
And in the case of the “stuck in spider monkey position on a child’s creaky floor at midnight,” it’s definitely a curse.
The other day my husband, bless his heart, had enough of my hi-jinx, ( this time- a late St. Patrick’s eve debacle with a Barbie pool being filled with green food dye and green glitter…) and looked at me with his sweet eyes and said, “Monica… this is ridiculous. We can’t be everything. It’s Santa, it’s the the tooth-fairy, it’s the Easter bunny, it’s the elf, it’s the wishing owl ( something I made up, of course, with a creepy fake owl on a farm fence post…) Honey- you can’t keep doing this.”
Wait, did it hurt because he said it? Or did it hurt because it’s true?
Probably the second one.
Why is it that us moms feel the need to BE all things? It’s not humanly possible, yet we try with all our might. It is that we feel our worth is riding on all those titles? The imaginative and the real-life?
Not only are we fairies and elves, but we’re volunteers, directors, drivers, chefs, nurses, party-planners, politicians, and every other hat we can fit on our heads.
And it’s draining. On us, and on our families.
So, if we can’t do it all, then who can?
No, dear ladies- the answer is not our husbands. Try as they may, they are incredibly prone to being “fast fixers” but they are certainly not fairy material…
And it’s not our neighbors, friends, or co-workers either. Although asking for help is a bold, beautiful thing. See post from many years ago….
The answer, I’m learning, is God.
He can be, and always will be ALL things.
If we let Him…
My children and I watched the movie Prince of Egypt the other day and something hit me like never before. Growing up well-versed in all the Bible stories, Moses and the burning bush was certainly not new to me. But watching the scene in that movie connected to something I had just heard in a sermon just days before.
An expert on the explanation of Exodus 3:14…
The phrase translated “I am who I am” in Hebrew is ehyeh asher ehyeh. The word ehyeh is the first person common singular of the verb to be. It would be used in any number of normal situations: “I am watching the sheep,” “I am walking on the road,” or “I am his father.” However, when used as a stand-alone description, I AM is the ultimate statement of self-sufficiency, self-existence, and immediate presence. God’s existence is not contingent upon anyone else. His plans are not contingent upon any circumstances. He promises that He will be what He will be; that is, He will be the eternally constant God. He stands, ever-present and unchangeable, completely sufficient in Himself to do what He wills to do and to accomplish what He wills to accomplish.
When God told Moses, “I am…” he was stating his complete power and perfection. Last time I checked, I could not be summed up with that same statement. When I begin with, “I am…” I usually follow it with “mother”, “wife”, “friend”, “sister”, “diaper changer”, “temperature-taker”, “dog poop picker-upper” and these days-and I quote “mean mom who won’t give an 11 year-old an I-phone 13.”
By stark contrast, in a beautiful sermon I heard at the funeral of a dear friend’s mother, the pastor went on to say that what follows when God says “I am,” is everything. “Father”, “friend”, “comforter”, “leader”, “guider”, “provider”, “the Way”, “the Truth”, and “the Life.”
And even though I go through my days willing my plans and relying on my own strength, (all to the tune of, “I want it that way…” by The Backstreet Boys playing in my head), I know that I have a choice, every single day.
There will always be disappointments, letdowns, changes, losses… battles we can’t win with our #tweens.
There will always be more to sign up for, places to be, things to achieve, titles to hold.
But, again- the question is- Where is my worth?
How can I answer, “Who am I?” without all the madness above?
I’ll leave you with this short scene from one of favorite recent movies.
I highly recommend viewing the entire movie, especially as a family.
The next time you have a chance to answer, “Who am I?” – resist temptations to define yourself through your achievements, titles, accolades, or prove yourself with your last post-able picture. And ignore the world telling you that you are only as good as your imperfect parenting, worst flaw, or classic short-comings compared to unreal expectations.
Slowly, take off each of those hats, one by one, and then take a moment of quiet.
When you find yourself wondering what is left when all else is gone, listen hard to hear His gentle, comforting, life-saving words. The only words that truly matter.
He is whispering, “I am.”