I think if you were to ask a relatively new mom what it's like to have kids, and if you could get her to answer honestly, she might use the word "Isolating" in her response.
An "of course I love it and yes I love my kids and I wouldn't trade it for the world but at times it can feel very isolating" kind of blathering response.
This word has been bumping around inside my brain for a long time now. I keep thinking about it because it doesn't seem like motherhood should be marked by isolation. In having children, you join the ranks of a community of many other women--women who, I've found, are ready to offer advice, encouragement, and support at any moment--and yet, the whispers of isolation (in my experience, at least) persist.
It's like your life goes from making sense to feeling like you're a square peg jamming into a round hole. And then, in the quiet moments of the evening when your kids are asleep, a small voice whispers:
You've been forgotten.
I hate to sound so melodramatic, but in the off chance that I'm not the only one to have believed this lie, it seems worth writing.
I wrote once earlier this summer that it always helps me to detect the lie, and I recently put a name to this one. The lie is that I am alone and forgotten. And, as lies tend to do, this one has again caused me to remain motionless. Taken away my direction. It has caused me to place all of my focus on myself and, ironically, begin to forget about the people around me and how I am called to love and serve them.
This week I was reminded of the story of the adulterous woman in John 8. Her story makes me wonder if her sin was a result of feeling forgotten and like she didn't matter to anyone. If somehow she convinced herself that nobody would notice anyway. Not that that pardons the action; I just see now that when you're so focused on your own insignificance that you lose sight of what is really significant (it's always so ridiculously obvious once you're on the other side, isn't it?).
I wonder if in that moment when Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you" she also heard, "You are significant. You matter. You have not been forgotten; go, and from now on sin no more."
Venturing into parenthood shouldn't be an isolating experience. Of course it is a challenging adjustment and of course I'll still, at times, feel like a square peg that can't quite fit into the round hole that is my new normal. I see now though the need to embrace that daily identity crisis and choose to believe that I matter to God. In doing so, I think I will love other people better and seek out opportunities to serve and belong in the community that already exists around me.
Angie Smith speaks to this in her book What Women Fear:
We are significant in our insignificance, urged to have the faith of a child and the heart of a servant. And be assured, friend, that you are loved in a way that is infinitely different than any love you could know here on earth. It is the love of a Man who had the chance to exert His importance in the eyes of the world, and instead did exactly what he calls us to do.
Serve, sacrifice, love.
And be made great for His glory. (130)