At the Windrush Day Away Retreat this past weekend, we were challenged to reflect on how God meets us in our tensions. For me recently, this tension has been motherhood.
On one hand motherhood is an overwhelming source of joy and love that feels too big for my heart to handle. Everyday, I rush to finish work so I can go pick Jude up and hear his tiny infectious laugh, and we spend evenings scrolling through photos missing him long after he’s gone to bed. But at the same time, motherhood has left me feeling trapped in the past months. The first trimester of my second pregnancy brought fatigue, nausea and general apathy that I couldn’t escape. I can feel trapped by my pregnant body, by the demanding yet sometimes monotonous schedule of parenting a toddler, and even by the ways I feel emotionally tethered to this tiny person.
As I explored the tension of the beautiful yet difficult aspects of motherhood, I mourn the different past versions of myself that don’t live in this tension. I mourn the unrealized versions of myself that could-be-but-weren’t because of this motherhood reality I am living in.
When we met in small groups as part of the Windrush Retreat, I shared my thoughts on this tension with my group. After listening, Erin (who is abundantly full of wisdom and understanding) offered insight - what if my current season of motherhood is like an invitation God is sending me? She saw me walking to a mailbox and opening an invitation into this season of motherhood. There were other invites I had gotten at other stages of my life: the invitation to college that brought new friendships and independence, the invitation into early marriage that brought the growing pains and exhilaration of learning how to share a life with someone else, or the invitation to my late 20s that brought self-expression and a sense of freedom.
What if I saw this stage of motherhood was an invitation into the joys and sacrifice of giving myself to someone else so deeply? It had me thinking about how other invitations would come, giving me a lifetime of opportunities to express the fullness of who I am. But for now, God is meeting me in my tension by extending this invitation, and I don’t want to miss being present to it.