I thought I'd elaborate a bit on that new season I was telling y'all about....
I don't know about you, but perhaps when you became a mom you knew exactly what to do, you'd been around countless other moms and babies, and you knew how you wanted to bring up your children. You found it easy to feed, easy to wean, easy to keep house and balance everything. True?
Me? Er, not so much.
Perhaps it was giving birth for the first time in South Korea? I didn't have the faintest clue what on earth I was doing. Quite literally every step of the way - I look back on the birth of my firstborn and wonder how it was possible to know so little - granted it happened in South Korea, we didn't have a computer to our name and the only Lamaze class I found was this dodgy video I bought over the Internet. It's laughable now, really it is.
Or perhaps the whirlwind of returning to Zimbabwe, selling everything we owned, and moving to South Africa with two suitcases and a 4 month old baby?
Perhaps having been without a community in South Korea for almost a year (we didn't live near any Westerners), or the having to start all over again in South Africa...which for those of you who have moved countries or continents know, is excruciatingly hard.
Whatever it was, (perhaps just plain old motherhood?), I found those first years hard.
I had this perception that a perfect mom gave 100% of her time and attention ALL the time to her child. So my firstborn son had my undivided attention from the moment he woke to the moment he slept. No really, I kid you not. I did not do housework. I did not cook. That had to come when he was napping or in bed. There was even a season when Braveheart returned from work and cooked dinner. See what I mean?
Thankfully, time has passed. And here I am now.
I now have three children, who are 7, 5 and 3.
And I have grown up a bit. A lot.
And He has opened my eyes some.
And then some.
And I am surer now of the steps I'm taking as a mother.
I've relaxed into this motherhood thing. (Okay, well truthfully I'm still as intense. But it feels different!)
Who knew this journey would be so bewildering? That it could be so hard, so lonely, so new, so exciting, so daring, such an adventure?
But I feel my wings unfurling. I feel a new wind beneath me. I am who I am now, and I'm at peace.
And this what I am seeing now, in this season.
The most important thing is not that I am the Best Parent Ever.
Or that I am the Best Mother.
Or that I am even a Homeschooling Success Story.
Nope. The most important calling for me, first and foremost should be my calling as a wife.
For that's what I was in the beginning, a wife - before the Clan was conceived, and that's what I will be primarily, when my clan has cleaved.
But I don't want to only re discover the joy/beauty/importance of being a wife in 20 years time.
In the here and now, I want to remember that I am Braveheart's helpmeet. His companion. His lover. That our intimacy is important. Our communication is key. Because you see, without this a marriage may crumble. Slowly start to decay. Or at the very least settle down into mediocrity.
And I'm having none of that.
A year ago Braveheart and I stood at a serious crossroad in our marriage. The kind of crossroad that slams you in the face, takes you by surprise and leaves you breathless, trembling, wondering how on earth you could be the couple facing such a crisis. Now, looking back, I'm glad Braveheart proved to me how much he wanted us to last. That he chose to fight. I'm thankful I chose to fight.
And I know this: It really is a fight to guard the heart of your marriage.
To guard it so that it will last. Fiercely protecting it.
Show me a strong marriage, and I will show you happy and secure children. The presence of raw real Love securing and affirming them in who they are, day in and day out.
(..and to those of you who may be single/widowed parents reading this, please know that I do truly believe God can stand in the gap for you, but, well, it's even harder when you're on your own, and my heart goes out to you...)
And so God has laid it on my heart to start focusing on the heart of my marriage. To start paying attention to it with the same passion I approached parenting (okay, so ask yourself - when did you last read a good book/blog/article on marriage? And when did you last read a book/blog/article on parenting, motherhood or something of a homeschool nature? Food for thought huh?).
Now perhaps you're one of those lucky women whose close girlfriends are just around the corner. Women whom you can share your soul with and with whom you have history. Godly women whom you can talk to about marriage and sex and Real Things without feeling awkward, ashamed or like you're betraying your loved one. O perhaps you have an awesome Mom who shared everything with you and with whom you share everything.
Me? Again, not so much. My dearest oldest friends live in other countries, and with the Zimbabwean diaspora, most live on other continents. I'm slowly making good friends and as the years pass by, there's recent history here...but for those of you like me, I wanted to share some communities I've recently stumbled on that exalt marriage, and Oneness, and Intimacy. And I hope that they will bless you. And that together, we can be Super Wives, not just Super Moms!
One Flesh Marriage - Brad and Kate blog here and I love that you can read both a wife and a husband's viewpoint on the same subject....
Hot Holy and Humorous - J says, "I am...a Christian, a wife, a mom, a writer, and a work in progress. What I write about in this blog is the kind of stuff I would talk to my closest girlfriend about in confidence, but plenty of us don't have someone who'll chat biblically and bluntly with them. Read my posts to see how sex in a Christian marriage can be HOT, HOLY & HUMOROUS!"
Intimacy in Marriage - Julie Silbert says, "I am simply a Christian wife with a heart to offer hope, encouragement and resources on this sensitive topic. I am like a lot of you, in that I juggle a full life. I am a wife, a mother, a friend, a family member…and the days seem to fly by a bit too fast. It’s crazy! I love the Lord and I am tremendously grateful for the call on my heart to come alongside other women in their journeys. We are not quite as alone in it all as we sometimes feel.
The Romantic Vineyard Tom and Debi Walter say, "Our prayer is that this site will provide couples many ideas and resources for growing their marriage to glorify God in all things! Notice the tabs at the top - these will lead you into different “rooms” in our vineyard; each one with it’s own purpose."
CWIVES - "CWIVES or “Christian Wives Initiating, Valuing, and Enjoying Sex” is your trusted resource for biblically-based, practical advice for making your marriage sizzle God’s way. The I, V, and E parts of sex don’t always come easy to women, particularly after the honeymoon glow fades, and the laundry, bills, and children pile up. And when wives don’t prioritize or value sex, we don’t initiate sex very often—if at all. We can become sexual slackers, not doing our fair share to make our marriage sizzle!"
To Love, Honor and Vaccuum - Sheila Wray Gregoire is a Christian speaker, columnist, and author. She's written five books, including the upcoming The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex. She loves speaking about marriage, parenting, and keeping our eyes on Jesus.