Joy comes in knowing our true purpose.
Before I had kids, I couldn’t wait to be a mom! I just knew it would be the most fulfilling adventure. My days would consist of snuggling cute little babies and kissing squishy cheeks. Reading board books to toddlers, building forts in the living room, and playing chase in the yard with preschoolers. I could envision waking up every morning feeling so lucky that I got to relive the best parts of my childhood with sweet, tiny people who would call me “mom!”
Now? Now that I’ve been living the stay-at-home-mom life for three and a half years? Now that I have an almost four-year-old, a two-year-old, and another one the way? Now, I feel like I have to confess a sin.
If we could sit down at my sticky kitchen table, dirty dishes piled in the sink behind me, holding the cup of lukewarm coffee I’ve given up on reheating, I would lower my voice and whisper to you, “I don’t always like being a mom.”
It sounds so cringey even as I type! How dare I say these words aloud, let alone think them at all? “Children are a gift from the Lord!” I instantly correct myself. “I chose to stay home, and I would choose it over and over again.”
Maybe you would, too! You recognize that staying home is a sacrifice, but it’s also weirdly your preference. You love your babies no matter how old or needy or loud or mischievous. You
love like taking care of your home and having the opportunity to press pause on your career. You’re grateful for the opportunity to focus your time, attention, and energy on your children. You just didn’t expect the loneliness, the repetitive days, the lack of feeling accomplished, the mental weariness, the strange twilight zone you find yourself in. Every day feels the same. The frustrations and the tasks never change. And the tiniest people with the best smiles are still unpredictable, emotional people who require so much of you.
Being a mom is hard. On most days, I like it! I truly do. But some days—like today—I don’t. And I think it’s okay to admit that. It’s okay to say, “I’m not getting much joy out of today.” Because when we look to our children or our job (yes, even our job as a stay-at-home-mom) to fill us with joy, it won’t. It was never designed to.
Psalm 16:11 says, “In your presence there is fullness of joy.”
We are meant to find our joy in the Lord. He alone offers us joy that doesn’t hinge on our situation or our child’s attitude. The good news is, His presence is easy to find. God is with us right now, right where we are. His presence is near which means joy is accessible. It’s just a matter of shifting our focus.
What if we took our focus off our messy house, endless to-do list, bickering children, or emotional toddlers? We can’t neglect these things…that would actually make everything worse. But I am challenging us (myself included) to not let those things be the only things we see today.
I want us to see Jesus. To notice His goodness in our messy, needy kiddos. To recognize His grace in our less-than-Pinterest-worthy living rooms. I want to see His love fill up our hearts so that we can share it with everyone in our home. Will today be perfect? Absolutely not. The argument I got in with my husband before he left for work. The pity-party I threw myself for being the only one doing the dishes. The swift dismissal of my kid’s stubbed toe. This proves that today will be far from perfect. But it doesn’t have to be perfect to still be filled with joy. If only I turn my eyes away from myself and fix them firmly on my Savior.
Joy is available to you, too! It may not be a perfect day, but it can still be filled with joy. Jesus is with you right now, so talk to Him. Turn on your favorite worship song, take a deep breath, and move into the next few minutes soaking in the presence of the Lord. Remind yourself that, “in His presence is the fullness of joy.” Then, put the mess of the morning behind you and do one thing that reminds you how awesome it is to be a mom! Because even if it looks nothing like you thought it would, it’s still pretty great!
Callie Clayton writes to encourage others (and remind herself) that it’s possible to experience God right where you are. She enjoys teaching the Bible to teenagers, having good conversation over meals she didn’t cook, and baking all the chocolate desserts. Embracing her role as a boy-mom to three little ones, she and her husband are worn out, but loving the adventure of parenthood.