Five Minute Friday #11

Linking up with The Gypsy Mama:

“On Fridays over here a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real. Your words. This shared feast.”

Today’s topic: IDENTITY

GO.

I struggled when she was born. Not because I didn’t want to be a mother, and certainly not because I didn’t love her. But because everything happened at once. In one 12-month span, I became a wife, was in ministry and then a mom. And suddenly, I didn’t know who I was anymore outside of those three things. I didn’t know what I liked. I didn’t know what I was good at. I didn’t know what I wanted for myself. When people would ask, “If time and money were no object, what would you want to do?”, I wanted to close my eyes, cover my ears and scream,

“I have no idea!!!”

I felt as though I was wearing hats, juggling balls and filling roles — but the core of me was unknown. In this new context of wifehood, ministry and motherhood, I got lost.

And I was desperate to be found.

Everyone meant well, especially my husband. Reassuring me that the roles I filled each day indeed made me who I was. And I would nod, and say, “yes, you’re right.” But I didn’t believe that was all. There was something missing. I felt it daily — huge hole needing to be filled, that would bring all the hats and balls and roles together and make it all fit. And make a better wife and mom. And bring joy and life abundant.

It wasn’t that being a wife and mother wasn’t enough. Not at all. It was just my soul was aching for something I couldn’t identify yet. It was a divine longing.

I used to wonder if Jesus — those 30 years he was simply a son and carpenter and brother — felt the same way. That His life was all well and good, but knowing in His core, in His spirit and His soul, that there was more. Waiting for the one thing that made it all fit. I wonder if He was desperate to be found.

And then His ministry began. And instead, He found us.

I’m slowly discovering the me God created. I’m rediscovering the things that bring me joy and satisfaction as Monica, outside of what hat I’m wearing. Dreams from long ago are resurfacing and whispering, “I was here for a reason. I haven’t died. Don’t forget about me. Don’t let me go.”

It will be a continual process, I’ll always be “…ing” — in the process of — growing, learning, changing and being. I’ll always be finding, but always remain found.

STOP.

Turns Out…She Was Right After All.

Growing up, there are certain things I remember my mom saying, doing or instilling in my brother and I that at the time didn’t make sense. Things that in my naive and young mind I either couldn’t comprehend, or disagreed with, or thought was just plain weird. But as I’m raising my own kids, I’m finding myself saying, doing and instilling the exact same things. And I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

Until this weekend.

I can’t remember the specifics…but I said something to Jaana about who-knows-what. (Espousing some mumbo-jumbo about something uber-important, I’m sure.) And she gave me this look. And I suddenly just knew it was the same look I gave my own mom about something when I was her age. It was that “you are totally weird” look. And it hit me like a ton of bricks — Jaana is me. And I am my mom.

And it turns out, my mom was actually right about a lot.

And now that I’ve caught my breath and my heart has settled from this realization, I have to give credit where credit is due. And say with sincerity — I’m sorry I gave you so much attitude about all of this. But rest assured, payback has hit. And it ain’t pretty.

Here are a few things my mom was dead-on about:

1. Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees. Jaana, and her blessed little eight year-old self has no concept of money. So as responsible parents, we’re trying to teach her that you can’t just “go buy stuff” any ol’ time you want to. She insisted on this special Pack-It lunchbox for school…you know the one, from the informercial? That keeps food cold for like 8 hours? So she has one, but has gotten very lazy about unpacking it when she gets home from school. And a lot of food has had to be thrown away, because we don’t find until the next morning the items that could have been refrigerated and saved. So now she has to pay me for those items. Not because she didn’t eat them, but because it went unopened straight into the garbage and wasted. The good news is that I’m up about $6.50 right now.

2. It’s Harder Making Friends as You Get Older. As I’m now almost 39, I realize that friendships are harder to make. Not necessarily because of a fear of investing in people…but for me at least, it’s because of time. We’re all busy with families and children and getting together to develop friendships is a lot harder than when I was single. There’s less time and money to just meet for lunch all the time. Or dinner. Or weekend get-togethers. And when I do have free time, I want more time with my husband or family.

3. Your Family Really Doesn’t Hear You. I honestly think they are all going deaf. I can speak and speak and speak and not a single person will acknowledge that I’m talking. I even am repeating myself to the dog. The dog. I stood in the kitchen the other day and threw a towel on the counter and said (to myself, naturally, ‘cuz no one was listening): “Really? You seriously didn’t just hear that. WHAT ABOUT NOW?? DO YOU HEAR THIS?!”

4. I Did Want to Stop Talking On the Phone. When I was 16, my mom told me that someday I wouldn’t want to talk on the phone anymore. I think I laughed like a hyena as my hormone-driven mind couldn’t fathom the concept. And when the phone would ring and my mom wouldn’t jump to answer it, I would stare, mouth agape and slack-jawed that she could just let it ring. Well, Jaana has mastered the mouth-agape-and-slack-jawed look and constantly tells me, “Mommy! Your phone’s ringing!” as if the ring itself didn’t alert me to that fact. And I let it ring. A lot. She’s shakes her head in amazement and disbelief. A lot.

5. You Really Should Wear Clean Underwear to Your Doctor’s Appointments.

6. I Have Mastered “The Look.” You know the one. Not the one you got at home when you did something wrong, but the one from the rear-view mirror of the car. When you’d be in the back seat and do or say something to completely aggravate your parents and drive them to want to run off the road? And suddenly these eyes would appear, larger than life in the rear-view mirror and give you a non-physical smack-down that shut you up completely? I can do that now. It’s awesome. (The only part I can’t do is the raising of one eyebrow like my mom can, which is sad. ‘Cuz that really drives it home, you know?)

7. No One Notices (or Cares) That You Really Have Spent All Day Cleaning. I’d come home from school (which felt like six of the longest most-excrutiating hours of my life) and ask my mom what she did that day. And she’d say “Clean.” And I’d be all, “But what about all the other hours of the day?” And she’d be all, “I cleaned, I took a shower, and now you’re home.” And I’d be all, “As if!” And she’d be all, “Watch your attitude, young lady!” And I’d be all, “Whatever!” followed by a door slam. And she’d be all, “You’re grounded!” But I totally, totally get it now. Like, totally.

8. There Really Are Starving Children in Africa.

9. It Does Matter How the Towels Are Folded. Or how the dishwasher is loaded, or how the pillows are arranged on the couch. The little things done my way make a difference.

10. You Truly Can’t Start the Day Without Coffee. I remember my parents downing a pot or two of coffee before even opening their eyes growing up, and it seemed so weird to me. But now the scales have been lifted. Praise the Lord.

And so, the circle of life continues.

What about you? What do you need to fess up to and admit your mom was right about?