Clean-Up on Aisle 12–Mom-breakdown in progress

I had a mom breakdown in the ice cream section of the grocery store.psalm28

A few weeks ago, we had been out all day in the sun and warmth and I had one of those moments when you feel like an extra-generous, extra-spontaneous, extra-sweet, just extra good mom.

I’ll treat them to ice cream, I thought.

But I wanted to be economical and efficient.  Rather than sit and eat at an ice cream shop or run into the convenience store for individually and outrageously priced frozen goodies, we parked the minivan and headed into the grocery store.

I thought surely we could pick one box of ice cream bars to share.

But one child wanted Popsicles and one wanted Klondike Bars and one wanted Nestle Drumsticks…

No one wanted what anyone else wanted.

I have come to appreciate the power of majority rules, of democracy in action, of voting and sticking with the outcome of the family vote.

And I have also come to appreciate the power of the maternal dictatorship.

Either way, this is how it goes with my brood of three older children (the baby has yet to express an opinion on these matters).

What should we pack for our picnic lunch: hard-boiled eggs or sandwiches?

Egg.  Egg.  Sandwich.

What should we do to enjoy the day: go to the park or take your bikes out riding?

Bike.  Bike.  Park.

But what I realize after my mini-breakdown in the grocery store freezer section over our complete inability to ever just make things easy for once by being the same….

….is that easy and the same negates the complex and unique majesty of God’s creativity.

God is limitless in His capacity to design and form individuality.

And, oh how breathtaking the view when we see our kids as wonderfully unique.

This month, I’m drawing near to the presence of Christ and the heart of the Creator by dabbling in creativity myself.

I thought that meant glue sticks and fabric, a sewing machine, or recipes, or scissors and paper.  But yesterday I celebrated Mother’s Day with my kids and thought what greater honor than this—God asks us to be part of the creating of life and the molding of character.

I may be a hot glue gun failure and hopelessly inept with all things “arts and crafts,” but God still invites me in as a mom to the creativity of parenting.

I see this quote from Mary Southerland in my Facebook feed the day before Mother’s Day and it rumbles inside my head all Sunday afternoon:

Motherhood requires great sacrifice and limitless energy, but to invest your time and beset efforts into a child, and to watch that child grow and develop is to be part of the creative majesty of life itself.

We moms can chatter away endlessly in checkout lines and in the waiting room at the ballet studio and on the sidelines of that soccer field all with this one conclusion: Each child is so different.

I have four little ones and it’s not just ice cream choice or lunch packing at issue.  It takes all my mom-focus and mom-energy to know each of my babies, really know them, know those motivations and fears, those funny bones and those tender hearts, know the likes and dislikes.

And then just as I know them, they change.  A new favorite color.  An overcoming of a fear.  A new worry.  Now they need me.  Now they don’t.

Every day as a mom is made new.

I must roll up my sleeves and dig my hands deep in the soil of their child-hearts—tending and weeding, pruning and feeding, watering and helping them, not just grow, but thrive and bloom in maturity and fruitfulness.

I must change and adapt.  What worked for one child doesn’t work for another.  What worked yesterday doesn’t work today.

This is no assembly line art.  No paint-by-number or dot-to-dot project.

This requires masterful creativity of the highest form, without instructions or samples and with a million voices shouting at you to “do it this way because it’s the only right way.”

I’m not woman enough for that.  I can’t even sew a simple project without ripping out stitches and starting anew.  How can God trust me with these children?

But God doesn’t ask us to be perfect moms or perfect women.

Instead, He gives us this grace—the invitation to the creative journey of motherhood and the promise of His presence along the way.

And He gives us this mercy of fresh starts and short memories, of brand new days, of forgiving hugs and lay-it-all-out-there-honesty, of goodnight kisses and tiny hands, of godly examples and those who look back and say, “Way to go, Mom.  Don’t give up.  You are doing a great job.”

And He promises us the help we need:

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
    and with my song I praise him.
Psalm 28:7

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Create Beauty’?


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King