I told my husband yesterday that I felt I had no purpose anymore. My life seems to consist of watching small children and cooking, and I struggle with feeling satisfied on a daily basis. I have all these dreams and ambitions and many of them now seem hopeless when faced with the work of raising and caring for my offspring.
My husband always is willing to listen to me, a trait I love about him. He is unfailingly patient and thoughtful. I am not patient. I am like a freight train going from 0 to 60.
So he listened to me pour out my heart and my struggles and than he challenged me to really stop and think about what I was saying. To identify my goals and list what makes me feel satisfied. Doing this really helped me understand some basic concepts about myself and the way I work. I like completing things, the task of crossing something off my list, of moving on to the next task. I like seeing a finished product and holding it tangibly in my hands. I love knitting, sewing, reading and writing. I dream of knitting and crochet projects to design and could devote myself for life to creating patterns for people to follow. It makes me happy, it brings me joy and most of all I get a sense of fulfillment from doing those things.
Raising children is never "done" at least not for the foreseeable future. Children are unpredictable. They require unfailing patience, they don't listen, they take swathes of emotional and mental energy. At present, it is not a task that fulfills me. I am constantly frustrated, tired, worn thin and baffled by my children. I can parent for hours but then I need some space to recharge and small children don't understand the concept of space. At least not mine, not yet.
With my husbands help I continued deconstructing my thought patterns. What would I want my life to look like, when I looked back upon it in 60 years? Decades of making knitting and crochet patterns and YouTube videos? Or decades of dying to myself and putting my trust in God for this season of raising kids? What would fulfill me in the long run? The answer to this question required no thought. I hope to look back upon life in 60 years (I'll be 92 so this is unlikely, but I can dream) and see that I ran the race with endurance and sacrificed my selfish desires on the alter of God's Will. I want my children to know they are loved, more than any dreams or passions I have. I want them to spend each day knowing they are special and seeing God's work in my life and theirs. Yes, it would be nice if I had some time to knit, but that is not the purpose God has for me right now.
In parenting it is easy to be consumed by frustration over the fact that nothing is going my way. I am daily bogged down by the emotional and mental weight of caring for small kids, cooking, cleaning and managing a house, communicating with my husband and raising Reuben and Rebekah. It's a alpine climb, like Anne says. But it is so worth it. There is meaning in what I am doing, even if I don't feel the sense of fulfillment at this time. And what more perfect opportunity can be found for being perfected by God's fire? He is pruning me as I devote myself to his task. He is teaching me so many things, but most of all I am learning that life is not about me. Life is not leisure, life is hard work. Life is devoting oneself to God and to his plan, regardless of ones own dreams and desires.
And I know in the end I will have no regrets because God's will for me is perfect and he is without flaw.