"What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."
Life is so full, isn’t it? We plot out our schedules and our days and we pack them with the things that are most important. I tend to wear “busy” like a badge of honor, equating productivity with importance or, perhaps more damaging in the long run, a full schedule with a full heart. But these things are misleading. Busy and full can be amazing seasons, but they can also be the most draining and leave us with that all too familiar feeling of accomplished-emptiness. You know, the one where our list is checked and we got what we wanted and we did the thing we said we would do… but now we sit discontent until we can busy ourselves again. I am the guiltiest person on earth of this. I need a list and a few goals and darn it, I will get them done. And here I am, expecting a little boy any day now, but when I get really quiet and really honest with myself, I know that my heart has been full of other things.
My third little baby is going to be born in the middle of a violent, chaotic world. Last week it was Paris and Mali, but just a few weeks before that it was a community college in Oregon. For four years it’s been an escalating crisis in the Middle East that we as Americans can no longer avoid dealing with. And daily it is another battle of words and opinions and vastly different interpretations of history and how we got here. And I feel all of these things: every little girl raped or sold, every Syrian putting their family in the ground far too soon, every orphan who desperately wants a mom to rub her back, all the people who need just a little bit of a hand… and I am sitting here in my warm home looking at all I have thinking that I cannot just sit here.
Then my belly moves. And I am reminded that every so often, I can. And I should.
Do you know what I was doing as I was waiting for Harper, my first, to be born? I was writing her a book. Yes, I set the bar a smidge too high on that one and set myself up for a few conversations with my boys about how I love them just the same, I know this. And if it weren’t for the serious nature of how much God has rocked me to my core in the last few years, I might laugh at how very different my first and third pregnancy are. As I’ve been waiting for my third baby, I have spent more nights unable to sleep than I can ever remember, thinking about the girls taking their clothes off for strangers or the people forced to flee their homes and how we can raise money for them. And I believe these are good things to be burdened for—we are supposed to be burdened when we see hurting. But there is something I have not done enough of in preparing for this baby: I haven’t been simply sitting with him, guarding my heart against anxiety and unbelief the very same way I want to guard each one of my kids’ hearts. And every day, more and more, I am realizing just how vital that is.
This weekend, my sweet friends celebrated my little boy with me. They served brunch and cold brew, and wrote out words that they would be praying for us in this season: all of my very favorite things. I felt so known and so seen by them, and my goodness, is there a sweeter thing we can do for one another than make them feel that way? But as I opened a few gifts that, despite my objections, friends brought anyway, I also felt something I’ve really been missing: I felt peace. And as I folded up the soft blankets I will very soon be wrapping a baby in, I realized how much I have missed that feeling.
Motherhood is the best work I get to do. The very best. My full of fire little three year old girl, my tender and quiet eighteen month old boy, and my soon to be sweet newborn son: my first life’s work wrapped up in three little souls. I can so easily and unintentionally treat these hearts more like a to-do list than a calling, especially when it feels like the work to do in the world is growing by the second. But that’s not the mama I want to be.
I’ve been praying for my babies all morning today. No emails. No checking boxes. No long-term writing plans or brainstorming on sticky notes. No newspapers. No headlines. Just scripture and prayer for the people right in front of me. I want them to see a mama fully engaged with and devoted to building God’s kingdom both in my words and my deeds. I want them to know me as a teacher and a writer and maybe even a big dreamer. But mostly, I want them to see a mama who was absolutely crazy about them. Every day, no matter what the hours brought us. So as we wait patiently to become the Blackburn five, I’m praying for a heart that is more than content, in fact, overwhelmed with joy, right here, wrapped in our soft blankets.