Transformed by the Interruptions of Motherhood

Originally published Friday, 17 May 2013.

On a Friday in August 2011, my afternoon plans were interrupted when my water broke.

Thousands of interruptions have followed.

Interrupted sleep, meals, relationships, hobbies, TV shows, showers, projects, chores, dreams, careers,...

A beautiful stream of interruptions slowly breaking me down.

I cried, hard, the 4th day of this journey. Too little sleep. Too many interruptions. Too much, too soon. Too little of me, too much given to him.

Here I am, 19 months later, close to tears after a day full of interruptions. Interrupted plans, nap, chores, time with God.

Too little for me, too much for him.

These interruptions aren't things, annoyances, garbage to be tossed aside in favor of more desirable, more urgent, more rewarding tasks.

This is my son.

I hear my son wake in the morning, and I groan inwardly. One more sip of coffee. One more moment alone. More time for me.

I hear him cry in the middle of the night, and I clamp my eyes tight, hoping he will sleep again without me. More sleep for me.

It's exhausting. All these hairpin turns.

Snoozing away and rousing to a cry or a shout from the other room. Putting down a book or an unfinished project at the end of nap time. Setting aside a sponge in favor of playtime at the park.

It's a constant state of interruption.

We long for the day when we won't be interrupted. We encourage one another with this day coming soon. When we can pursue all that we have put off without a peep or a call or a cry from the other room.

Without these living interruptions.

As suffocating as all this interruption can be, without sounds terribly empty.

My boy. My Crazy Toddler. My human interruption. My eyes, my heart, should be here, in this moment.

Stubbornly devoted to tossing off everything else and letting this interruption change me, change my course.

I'm looking over my son's shoulder at a book that's waiting to be read, TV show waiting to be watched, clothes waiting to be folded. I'm looking past playtime at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Everything that I've "put off for now", all that I long for. The encouragement we speak over each other to "just wait, you'll have time one day soon." That longing for the future... It's all interrupting the big show.

Longing for the day when I will get back this time, these things, just degrades what is in front of me today. It fixes my eyes on me. More time, life, dreams for me.

Perhaps motherhood is where God slaps me across the face and relabels what I call interruptions, refocuses my lenses. On this boy. This marriage. This life.

My eyes squarely fixed on them. These three. My God. My man. My son.

Even if it changes me. My body, my dreams, my goals, my trajectory in life.

Aside from my God, my man, my son, all else is an interruption. My hobbies, my chores, even my sleep, my food, my leisure.

Of course, I need fuel. I can't fast completely, indefinitely from sleep and food and leisure.

It's just... where are my eyes fixed? For what is my heart longing?

Am I focused on the next time I get to sleep? To play? To be free of these "interruptions"?

Am I focused on a time in the future when I won't be bothered at all?

Am I getting through young motherhood by dreaming of a time when I can be selfish again?

Too often, I am.

I feel Hebrews 12 rattling around inside me to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."

This. This is the race marked out for me. Right now. This gig. This marriage and motherhood stuff.

This is the proving ground, the breaking down of my old will and birth of my new life.

I need to toss off all the "me" that hinders, all the sinful desires that entangle, and run this race. This race. Fixing my eyes on Jesus. Serving Him through my son, the least of these.

When Jesus called the disciples he didn't say,

"Leave your boats and follow me... for now.

You can come back in a few years and be the same old fisherman you once were, once again."

Maybe I will return to the career, hobbies, dress size, leisure activities of my past. I just don't want those longings to haunt my present.

Today, I am Will's mom, and he is not keeping me from anything. He is it. This is it. I can sleep later, eat later, read later, write later, pursue whatever with whomever wherever later.

I pray for a new heart, a new view of interruptions.

A complete change in my perception of my pursuits. An embracing of my son, this life, and shrugging off all else that entangles me. Letting go of anything that shifts my focus from this present calling.

I know I'll cry about it. More than once. Mourn the passing of these desires. Weep at the longing for more for me.

All I can do is pray to be a new creation. New in Christ, new in motherhood.

No longer longing for that girl of the past. No longer trudging through my present by envisioning a more self-focused future.

Why toss aside the beautiful breaking down and rebuilding work God could do through this child in me? If I let Him.

Instead of longing to get it all back, my time, my body, my career, myself, I pray that all that slips away and I will be made new.

New dreams, new desires, new hobbies, new acceptance of my body, new more selfless self.

A selfless self.

Oh, rather than looking past my son, longing for more time for me, that I might envision a selfless self emerging from loving him.

Recognizing this "interruption" of motherhood as the womb for my rebirth, a completely new woman, in the image of Christ.