This month began with a weary soul. The soul, though weary, was happy - content in her role as mother, wife and homemaker - but a soul that somewhere along the way had left herself and the things that made her her, behind. Consumed by those roles, passions which once lit her up before the powerful, luminous light of “wife” and “mother” was bestowed upon her, had drifted out to sea. Ultimately, her life had more purpose than she’d thought possible. But as time passed, like a hand plunging into soapy dish water, cautiously searching for any pieces left behind, she, too, was searching; probing for any remanences of herself she may have unknowingly, or otherwise, left behind. Tirelessly, she quarried through the rubble of laundry, housework and other routine duties comprising her days and nights. As the day drew to a close like every other and she tucked her sweet babies into their beds, their goodnight kisses brought a gleaming warmth to her tired soul, and in that blissful moment, quietened the search often tallying emotional weight to her existence.
Ten minutes for myself, every day, for thirty days. Seems manageable, right? Not necessarily. There are many minutes in a day when I'm not chasing my children, when I’m alone and uninterrupted. But rarely time when I’m not accomplishing an act of service for my family or working from home. Most days, my “me time” is spent crawling into bed and planning things many might consider unworthy of mentioning, such as when I'll shower next, as I drift off to sleep.
As time passes and my children grow, some aspects of life become easier while others become harder. Through my almost-six-years as a mother, I've come to the conclusion that parenting doesn’t get easier over time. Instead, it introduces different challenges with each transient year.
Life with children, a husband, a home and a job definitely has me on a merry-go-round, demanding thought-out structure and consistency in order to keep its course. Schedules must be made and followed to obtain order. I proudly observe my schedule; carefully calculated to flow through daily tasks efficiently. Like a puzzle, it all fits together; however, once presented with this challenge, I realize there is something unaccounted for. The responsibilities I've been allotted consume me to a point where I sometimes forget to consider an incredibly-crucial part, the very foundation of our family’s intricate puzzle, firmly keeping its center intact – the caregiver: myself and my wellbeing.
What would a puzzle be if time wasn't taken to find each piece and carefully complete its border? I am deserving of the effort. My hobbies, my passions, my soul – all missing pieces worthy of the chance to be found and nurtured. So, I’ve revamped my schedule, allotting time for crocheting, prayer, friendships, writing and yoga. I’ve picked up my crochet hook and began to create - not for a customer or my children, but for myself - quietly inviting my Maker to pour into and make whole my weary soul. I’ve made time for friendships, time to call or go for coffee. When I can, I sit in the sunlight beaming through the window and write, giving voice to the words of my heart, allowing them to flow through and wash back over me, replacing my restlessness with contentment. In quiet moments, I retrieve my yoga mat, pose and focus solely on my breathing, the pull of my muscles and the pounding in my chest - casting aside any thought trying to penetrate my tranquility. For the sake of ten minutes and a mind cleared of the hustle and bustle of my responsibilities, I become my main priority - something I hadn’t considered in a long while. By doing so, my spirit awakes. She dances freely to the rhythm of my heart and to the song my soul passionately sings, as the long-lost pieces of me begin to wash ashore.
Beginning the search to find unfamiliar pieces of myself is a journey unto itself, and one that may require a lifetime to complete. I was convinced I had figured out entirely who I was - what I held to be of utmost importance and what I aspired to be. The desires of my heart seemed clear, but once I began to retrieve those scattered pieces on the shore, I was faced with things barely recognizable - parts I was unaware had gone missing in the first place. Their level of importance had little to do with the fact they were unfounded or forgotten, but simply, as I grew, life and motherhood swept me up and carried me away. Suddenly, looking at what lay behind me isn't as demanding as the gifts I've discovered before me.
As pieces come back, I understand things about my present self, the deeply-rooted qualities I possess, driving me to react to circumstances in the manor I do. Focusing on working through personal battles as they resurface throughout the journey brings peace to the restless parts of me; those areas I was once unaware needed calming. Parts I love and have missed dearly are revealed, the familiarizing with these long-lost treasures of my soul bringing colossal joy. One thing I’ve come to realize, though, is how much I have grown, and I now understand how both trials and beauty I have been graciously given will continue to shape me. The woman before motherhood I once knew seems so foreign to the woman I have become, and the growth in my life thus far brings me great pride.
I hope my expressions have revealed just how crucial it is to carve out time. So, it’s time to learn, time to dive into the search of your soul and time to discover who you really are and to reunite with pieces missing. It’s time to work through past chapters left abandoned, unfinished; time to find the divine purpose of motherhood and all it has to offer. Pouring yourself into the life of your family is a magnificent responsibility, one you should not tackle without insuring you yourself do not run dry in the process.
A mistake I often make is having high expectations. Expectations of people or possessions to fill places within often render me empty and barren. I’ve come to realize it is unfair to have such hopes. Sure, you can look to your partner, family, friends - whatever outlet you see fit to bring fruit to your branches - however, you and your Creator, alone, know your true strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, those are the only outlets we should expect to fill and nurture. We should continue to make a conscious effort to make the process of self-pursuit a priority. This process, containing one meaningful revelation after another, has the potential to allow you to begin learning all you are composed of and, to cultivate unending personal growth. Your hobbies and passions, those left-behind pieces drifting aimlessly out to sea, are desperately yearning for the cries of your searching soul, calling them home. Ten minutes for yourself, every day, for thirty days - it takes effort, but I promise you, my darling, you are worthy.
Journalist: Emily Earle