You are spectacular

To be nobody but yourself in a world doing its best to make you everybody else
means to fight the hardest battle any  human can ever fight and never stop fighting.
~ e.e. cummings

Back a few years ago, I had my first deep foray into what I call mom-envy.  Up until that point, I had read many times over that feeling of inadequacy that parents, moms in particular, feel toward other parents.  I went through the debates with a discerning eye, whether I felt my vocation towards motherhood should have included a monetary position outside the home; whether I felt less of myself with what my calling was; always coming to the conclusion of No.  I was completely satisfied in my own skin and how I chose to live out my role of motherhood, complete with my parenting choices.

That is until I met Sheila.

Sheila is what one could honestly define as a supermom; well, at least in my mind, that's the only word I could think of with her.  Sheila devoted her life, her mind, and her body (she birthed 12 kids!) to raising her children.  When I knew her, she was a homeschooling mom who could minister to a bruised knee, find a lost blankie, pass out sage computer advice, start a bonfire, cook 50lbs of onion rings all while cheerfully entertaining a gaggle of parents.  With little exaggeration, that's how I viewed this woman, thus beginning my first pangs of mom-envy.  I thought such detrimental things about my vocation:  Wow.  I could never do that.  Why don't my kids act like that? Uh-maz-ing.

After meeting Sheila, I thought the secret would be very simple:  follow her around, take mental notes, and emulate her demeanor, like reading a how-to in a magazine or online article. Yet, somehow, that never got off the ground because the things that worked for Sheila didn't work for Kris.  Then I started to get depressed:   See you thought you were a good mom, now look at you! Look at what other moms can doWhy can't you be more like her?
Honestly?  It wasn't my best look.  I got feeling pretty low thinking that I just stunk at motherhood.

Then I recall waking up one day, taking my kids to the beach and sitting on the bench, looking out over my rambunctious children.  Watching them, it hit me anew how very distinct each one is, regardless that they come from the same parents, live in the same house, eat the same foods.  I knew I was hearing the answer to my self-doubt in my heart.  I may be a child of God, but I was unique.  I didn't have to mother the same as anyone else - we may have the same goals for our children, but it's ok to have differing ways of getting there. 

I understood then that my problem wasn't how I was parenting, it was that I doubted my gifts of motherhood. I saw something that I thought I was missing, but in reality, it was there all along complete with my own special fingerprint.  When I could remove myself from over-analyzing every move I made as a mom, I took stock of what my beliefs are:  I believe in my heart that motherhood is my primary vocation.  I trust that God is in charge of my life.  I have faith that God instilled every little thing I would ever need as a Mom in order to fulfill that vocation.  The point where I became envious is the point where I deviated from my faith in my abilities through God. 

I know many wonderful mothers, and, maybe because I value the vocation of motherhood so tremendously, some of my dearest friends are the most magnificent mothers.  They were hand-picked by God to be the center of their respective families, just as I was for mine.  I trust these ladies and look to them for friendship, love, laughter and advice.  You see, to say that I can trust in my instincts as Mom is not to say I don't have anything to learn from other moms, because I do.  I also firmly embrace the need to step out of the role of mother and into my role of wife or friend with exuberance; I must "love others as yourself" and satisfy that commandment when I am, on occasion, Kris first.  And yet, it all comes together so much more beautifully than I could ever imagine due to the sustenance I receive by fulfilling my other tandem roles which help me minister to my family in my primary role. 

God made you and I unique.  We each have our own, hand crafted, skill set in our vocation toolbox.  Sometimes, with parenthood, those tools include other parents to help shed some light on a particular problem.  He made ME, Kris, and I must have enough confidence in Him to trust that knowledge, especially when the mom-envy bug comes to try and bite me.  I am spectacular because I'm made in the Image and Likeness of my Lord Jesus Christ.  He rejoices in my being.  He also made you in His Image and Likeness....when the truth sets deep in your heart, how could you be anything less than spectacular? 


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