Changing the world

Confession: For as long as I can remember I am always looking for the next thing I can do that will somehow make me memorable.  Perhaps this is the result of moving a lot as a child and feeling the need to be known or remembered once I had moved on to the next town.  Maybe it is because as a middle child, I always have lived in the shadow of my older sister who seemed to never do wrong and the wake of my younger, artsy/gutsy sister and my Midas-like brother whose talent is enviable.  It could just be my humanity, and my natural instinct to make a name for myself.  Whatever the case, as a kid and through college I was known for my need to be at the top of my class, to engage in meaningful Socratic dialogues, to be known by professors and the head of my department.  The problem with this kind of being known is that once there was no valedictorian status to attain to, no goal of summa cum laude, no one to discuss pastoral literature or the early roots of Nazism with, this overachiever felt lost and unknown.

When I was a teacher, the need was somewhat met by the experience of kids who changed their behavior and academic achievement for the better over the course of the year, the discovery of some new mnemonic device that really worked, a great annual review, and a new contract.  Since I became a stay-at-home mom, I haven’t really found anything that fulfills my innate desire to be seen.  Indeed, what I do each day (the interminable laundry and dishes, the budgeting and meal planning, the cooking and the cleaning, the child disciplining, organizing, picking up after three little ones and one not so small one) is draining.  As I’ve said previously, I am a perfectionist, an achiever, but nothing is ever perfect or complete on the home front and I fight against frustration constantly.  For some time, this frustration was unnamed and unnoticed as I tried to love what I’m doing, and don’t get me wrong — I do love it, but so often when the day ends and it feels like nothing has been accomplished, I lay in bed at night and guilt-fully long to do something worthy of the history books which I so long studied and taught from.

In the middle of a time with very little fellowship, much pain and sickness, greater frustration yet, Matt told me that I’m recluseing.  It’s true, you know.  I pretty much have a standing coffee date with an amazing group of friends, also daughters of the King, intentional and selfless wives, intuitive mothers, and in the midst of them is messed up me, and I’ve felt like I don’t belong.  I think time away from them, with my mind focusing on their strengths and everything about them that makes me grateful for their friendship, caused me to focus on all my shortcomings and desire to not be as well known.  I mean, I’ve wanted to be known as something great, but not living up to my own standards and expectations, my shadow mission of supermom, and living in raw community where it is obvious that I am not these things is so hard and yet so sweet.  I had forgotten about the sweetness; about the camaraderie that helps us enjoy the ups and downs of this journey together.

I’ve been thinking about this post for a week now.  I had been trying to withdraw from being known for who I really am.  (Hey, why not start friendships up when you have arrived?)  When I went to get groceries last Friday, I randomly selected an album on the ipod that I had purchased and never listened to.  It is amazing when the Holy Spirit knows what my heart is feeling and needs when even I cannot put my finger on it.  What I heard, I imagine is what my friends sometimes feel too, and so I just had to share.

You’re up all night with a screaming baby
You run all day at the speed of life
And every day you feel a little bit less
Like the beautiful woman you are

So you fall into bed when you run out of hours
And you wonder if anything worth doing got done
Oh, maybe you just don’t know
Or maybe you’ve forgotten

You, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
Making history with every touch and every smile
Oh, you, you may not see it now
But I believe that time will tell
How you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time

With every “I know you can do it”
Every tear that you kiss away
So many little things that seem to go unnoticed
They’re just like the drops of rain over time
They become a river

And you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
Making history with every touch and every smile
Oh, you, you may not see it now
But I believe that time will tell
How you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time

— Steven Curtis Chapman

So when I want to become a hermit because I am not who I want to be, yet, or when I’m just overwhelmed by the duties of the household, I am beginning to remember that it is about training their hearts; the merit of my daily doings will be in who they become.  We as mothers have been entrusted with the greatest responsibility, and though messy, the honor of the challenge to change the world cannot be taken lightly.

“She looks well to the ways of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
   but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
   and let her works praise her in the gates.”

Proverbs 31:27-31

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2 thoughts on “Changing the world

  1. You are the full of energy, talented and not lazy, gutsy one whom all of my efforts even to this day strive to be more like. Love you, Linds.

  2. Oh Lindsey, I just love this post today. You are such a great person and mother. Please, please, un-recluse, so we can hang out again. I love your laughter, your intelligence, your diligence, but most of all, I love being with you! Remember you have friends who live nearby and really want to be with you! Thanks for this awesome post. It is really beautiful. Love you, Mary Robin

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