Community & Friendship · Devotionals & Walk with God · Faith · love · Motherhood · Parenting · Travels · Women to Women Ministry

How to survive motherhood when you’re homesick

I came across this post written a long long time ago, which I never got around to quite finish off…reading it again reminded me the truth about God’s love to us — His gentleness… His mercy over our failings…His patience over our slowness… and His good plan over our brokenness…and especially on days when you feel like you can never get anything right—today, our household is sick and I’m barely speaking, and it does feel, on days like these, that nothing is ever achieved nor anything ever gets finished – but it is on days like these that we need more of the truth about His mercy, about His grace, and about His never failing, always giving love — so maybe you and i can share this today,  the kind of encouragement that you need to just lift you up – especially when you’re feeling alone and discouraged, and experiencing the drain of it all – may it be etched in you that the Father loves you very, very much…

Written sometime in October last year…and never quite finished…

So we flew back to my own Mama’s home, and the two weeks we spent away from our own home, did me in, I felt a little unravelled, a bit undone, and I almost came unglued.

Coming back home always does this to me. The aroma of Mama’s home-cooked dishes always left me feasting full at the table of love. The way she poured herself out on us tells us that we were the apples of her eyes. My sisters, and sister in law, and their spouses – simply lavishing their time, attention, gifts on us – everything spoke of love, everything rejoiced with the delight of being simply together.

I feel it deep because I have been away from home for more than two decades.

The kids had it best – the never ending attention, the one on one play everyday and time, the special shopping treats, the piling on sugar of all types— kicking free, letting loose, laughing loud, these relationships ravish us, these delicacy delights us. A time of knitting the tapestry of family joy.

I’ve come home time and again, every year, to return to relationships that nourished me, and my own people that had me.

In moments like these, time seem to stand still, and any length of days really, are always far too short, and goodbyes come too rapidly, and always, uninvitedly.

So when the time finally came to say goodbye,  I gathered my innards, closed my eyes, and tried to soothe the longing to stay. My daughter’s crying over her missed cousin, and I felt like crying over my missed sisters, and the home, and the memories I’d grown up with, and the layers and layers of relatives and their friendships that I’ve had to leave, many times. Why can’t we just live together, in one continent?  Countless goodbyes and numberless reunions, and this heart of mine know that one day, all of these will too end. How much more of these do I have? How do I keep home in my heart when we are geographically separated – when there’s no “I’ll drop over your house for a chat tomorrow, sis” nor “Hey Mum, can I just leave these kids with you tonight?” ever, and technology doesn’t quite bridge the distance of time and space? I want to keep all memories alive, keep my heart hoping for the next quick return to home. If only I could freeze moments of love and stop the clock hand from turning itself. 

Coming back and being on my own – the kids were happily playing with bubbles, advertised to never pop.

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I have now grown accustomed to having no other adults in the house, or bumping into chats and laughter which invariably happen when you live in a house frequently visited by relatives and friends, grown used to not having anymore those extra pair hands that come in handy to babysit the children for me, and in that aloneness, I held this close to my heart – that when God spoke, it came to be, and when He commanded the light to separate from the perpetual darkness, day and night were created.

God used time to create distinctions. And God used time to mark off the changing of the earth’s seasons.

I want to see God in the grandscape of life, and know that He holds those most loved by me close to Him. I want to know of His nearness when I’m emotionally yearning for more time with my own kin. I want to know that God is with me, and will very gently lead me, and other mums who would cry out for God to fill in those emotionally empty spaces.

My toddler’s delight slowly turned into frustrations. Her hands were too unskilful to bounce those “unpoppable” bubbles properly.  She inadvertently, always popped the bubbles. Her frustration turned to tears and I tried consoling her, telling her to just enjoy the moment, because those bubbles will eventually pop. How do I teach her to bounce them gentle without squashing them hard, and that the best way to play happy is to sink deep in the present moment of the now?

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As I tried to stop the tears from flowing, I too felt the gentle hand of God speaking to me, soothing my own fears of popping too many bubbles in life over things and events I cannot control, and worries that never mount to anything and fears that don’t change a thing.

Time, can’t be captured, but its moments can be enjoyed. And I can trust God to love me through the seen and the unseen, on days when I feel all spent, emotionally empty, and could see nothing happening. I hunger for that love, joy, peace and patience…especially on trying days when whiny, disobedient kids are testing my best parenting resolute.

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He loves us, and I want to let go of what I’m trying hard to preserve so that I can play happy and live full, just like these kids with their bubbles.

“He tends His flock like a shepherd, He gathers the lambs in His heart, He gently leads those that have young” Isaiah 40:11

I long to be all-here, all-engaged, all-alive, all-present to the moment

“If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play!”

Charlotte M. Mason

 

So I prayed: “Lord, teach me to stay engaged to the present, to be alive to the NOW, to be sensitive to Your moving today…I cannot live in the past, nor plan for the distant future – I must stay awake to the moment today, play happy, live full, trust deeply, give myself away… It is the knowledge of Your nearness that makes me strong.  You’ve unstuck my soul and I’m aware that You are here, right here with me…and I am free, I am not preoccupied, nor entangled and my scope’s broad, my heart’s free…

 

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