“Bits and pieces of me have rolled off and been lost along the way. They have rolled off down this mountain someplace until there is not much left but a dried-up husk, with me leeched out by hard work and babies.” -Ivy Rowe, protagonist of Lee Smith's achingly poignant novel, Fair and Tender Ladies
These past ten, almost eleven, years of motherhood have altered me.
Some days, I side with Ivy, and despair that the years have devoured all parts of me that used to be intelligent and interesting and fun. Caught red-handed discussing bowel movements and household products, I'm the guilty one. The verdict echoes down the hallways of nothingness. We, the jury, find the defendant, Jennifer Pollock Michel, guilty of BANALITY.
On better days, I remember that these years become what I make of them. The fabric of my days and years, in His hands, has all the potential for becoming something breathtaking. The final chapter is not yet written, and I'm pulsing with capacities and curiosities.
It's not true that motherhood is only exhausting and depleting, a season to be suffered bitterly, until FINALLY the children go to school, or college, or get married.
I admit that motherhood has taken me by the toes, turned me upside down, and emptied me. Of illusions of being great and doing great things. Of my defiance of limits. Of that predictable temptation towards a center-stage kind of life and ministry. I've turned in my superwoman cape (or sparkly gold boots?) and are learning to content myself, not with greatness, but faithfulness.
"You've observed how godless rulers throw their weight around," Jesus said, "and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It's not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served-and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage." Mark 10:41-45
I'm following Him today in my ordinary moments.