Do you notice the amazing food photography above? Are you salivating as you see the beautifully presented meal? I am. But not due to the photography (there are too many food photographers to count anyway). Instead, I am just super excited by the super lush meal for Dave’s return tonight. One of our favourite takeaways is a shish kebab. And Great Britain does a shish kebab well. Like nothing I remember in the States. But instead of ordering one out tonight, I raided our cupboards, and bought a few extras, to make this favourite meal in.
Chopping mint and coriander for the garlic oil that will be soaked into the diced chicken. Smothering garlic mayo through the red cabbage, carrot, and onion salad. Opening a pack of fresh pitta bread. Layering slivers of potato with olive oil, to be transformed into chips in the oven. All while sipping on gin and tonic, with Radio 2 on in the background, and Peppa Pig blaring in the distance. Oh what an evening.
So what does a kebab making evening tell you about my recent emotional state? Not much if you haven’t been around me this week. But if you have been around, you know I have felt quite low.
Maybe you can relate to some of the feelings below.
Do you feel stuck? Like the world keeps moving on and you remain in the same place? Most of my “mama” friends are returning to work. The church we are plugging into is 45 minutes away. My neighbours are quite busy people. And all of the sudden, my days are fairly empty because there aren’t as many people around to visit or invite to our house. I have my two handsome boys to keep me company. And I love them with all of my heart. But feel isolated at times. I think this is the common experience of young mamas. But that makes it no easier. Loneliness can be a killer and totally suck. But simultaneously, I realize the unique and special relationship I am fostering with my boys and would have it no other way. They are forming a healthy attachment like no other and feeling the affection of a mother that adores them. But sometimes I feel like I am a broken record while everyone around me is blasting an exciting new album.
Have you ever put a child in school for the first time? I did this on Monday. Hudson started going each afternoon to our local infant school. I hate seeing him scream every time I leave. I hate that he has felt abandoned the last 3 days. But I expected to feel that way. What I did NOT except was to feel like an empty nester. I expected “empty nesting” syndrome when my boys leave for college. But not for preschool. What the heck. Who am I? What do I do with my time? Am I valuable if I’m not busy with 2 needy children calling for me? I need to fill my time. I need to make myself valuable. These were all thoughts from the last 3 days. Fundamentally, it is an identity issue. Do I receive my identity, my sense of self and importance, from the fact that I am home with two busy boys? I have craved meaning because of Hudson going to school.
Have you every wanted to be on a wild mission? I have felt like that. I want to do something amazing. I don’t want to settle for the status quo. I want to live a wild life that others and myself can look at and be “wowed”. I don’t want to be mediocre. I want to do crazy things for Jesus. I want to do crazy things for myself. But at the moment, that just isn’t on the cards right now. At the moment, I have a mortgage. I have a job. My husband has a job. And we have two littles that crave routine. So life is ordinary. I’m not traveling or changing the world. A wild mission just isn’t happening.
Can you relate in any way?
If you can, then you may know that you can’t reason yourself out of these moments. I couldn’t. Even with talking to myself and recalling all I have to be thankful for. I have felt low. And tearful.
Where do you turn?
I turned to the only One I know can help. I prayed last night that today would be a new day. I plead to God in prayer that today would be different. And I woke up this morning with a new spring in my step. He heard my cry.
I still feel like everyone else has moved on. But today, I’m okay with that. This season won’t last forever. Slow days are sweet days. And I am sure I will soon miss them. I will miss cuddles. And kisses. And reading. And cooking. And soaking in sun. And parks. And McDonalds. These days will pass like flowers fade. Take time to smell the flowers of the season.
I still feel that my identity has been stripped away from Hudson going to school (and a host of other reasons from the past year). But my identity isn’t found in my role as a mother, wife, friend, church member, good cook, amazing hostess, or employee. My identity is found in the fact that I am a uniquely created individual that has purpose and value. That I am valuable to a Father. Just as Hudson and Isaiah are valuable to me. They are valuable because they are mine. Not based on anything they do or don’t do. As am I.
I still feel I want to have a wild mission. But I am on a wild mission. I am raising up two boys that could possibly change the world. And heck, I WILL go on a wild mission some day. But that day doesn’t have to be today.
And because my head and heart are on the “up” today, I am making my favourite meal.
Fellow reader, feel encouraged. You aren’t alone. Make a kebab. Or order one. And give yourself a break tonight.