Thursday, July 26, 2012

Because He first loved us.

It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about.  What’s hard is figuring out what you are willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.” Shauna Niequist

I knew becoming a mother would be a change. A big change. I knew I wanted to prioritize. Make time for this new little person entering our world. I knew I would be his sole source of food for 6 months and his main source for another 6 after that. I knew babies took time. I knew they took your sleep. I knew life would be different.

And yet...I had no idea.

Preparing for him, I gave up directing the musical at my school. I made that decision before I even knew we were expecting. We just knew we wanted a child and that removing that stress from my life and our marriage was probably a good first step. It was a fairly easy change especially because I did get pregnant and spent all of musical season on the couch in the throngs of my first trimester.

When we were expecting, we talked a lot about my maternity leave.  We had discussed me staying home with children before we were even engaged so it was no surprise to me when we easily agreed I should take the maximum about of time allowed. It was scary to think about my life without teaching and I even blogged about my last day. Such a huge transition was a big decision but I was happy and content as I knew it was what we wanted for our family.

I have always helped with my husband's musical at his school. This year (with baby on hip) was no exception but we often looked at each other and knew that next year with Noah being then 1 1/2 I wouldn't be able to help. With rehearsals far away and a toddler it seems my role there will be cut down to almost nothing in the future. My husband has enlisted new help to do what I used to. This is a sad reality as I have always loved helping him create his shows. I will have to simply help him by caring for his son, his home, and his belly. 

Before Noah arrived I had agreed to manage the costumes for TMP's (our local community theater) two summer productions. After Noah arrived and I realized how much extra time and energy I didn't have. I backed out and asked if I could possibly only do one of the productions. It amazes me now that I ever thought doing both would be possible. It has been a struggle to manage this household and help Noah through all his changes just working on one show! The no dinner nights, the baby hand offs (my husband music directs the other show right after I finish with costumes), the messy house, the cranky baby, the phone calls of distress, they have all lead me to believe I really should not commit myself to any future productions. Until Noah is...oh, I don't know....6? 10? 25?

The two weeks before my sister's wedding I wanted to dedicate as much time as I could to her and helping at the house. This pretty much destroyed our apartment and I burned the candles at so many ends I ended up sick afterwards. (I wouldn't take this back and it was a short term - once in a lifetime thing - that I do not regret. It still shocked me how run down I became doing what I had done many times pre-baby with no problem.)

So all this leads me to my much do I have to give? How much of my old life gets put away (for now)? How much do I have to stop doing? Can I commit to anything outside of house and home without the whole thing falling apart? Not to sound cliche but sometimes it does feel like I am losing myself. If I don't teach and I don't do musicals and I can't power through a family wedding with gusto then well...who am I?

I am new. I am a new creation. The process is slow and the learning curve is steep but it is happening.
I no longer live for myself. I no longer can give to students, schools, or productions what I once did.
I have a new job life: Mom.
How much do I have to give? I have to give it all.
I have to give when there are no thanks. I have to give when there are no smiles. I have to work for no money and and take no holidays. I have to drastically change my to-do list and let someone else do theater. Love is not about making sure I have plenty of "me time" or seeking approval from the outside world (the world rarely gives approval anyway).
*Love is sacrificial commitment to the good of the other.
And it is a sacrifice but it is required.

We love because He first loved us.
We give all we can because He gave it all.
We die in small ways for others because He paid the ultimate price for us.

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps.  It is not something to do if you can squeeze time in.  It is what God gave you time for.” -Rachel Jankovic

*Definition of love from Timothy Keller's book The Meaning of Marriage

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