I wish I were a mom with constant craft supplies. I wish I had every kind of glitter available and fresh scented play-dough always waiting for little fingers to mash. I wish I were a mom who filled hours with learning, a mom who sent thank-you notes on time. I wish I had real, practical goals in my mothering life.
I wish I weren’t just standing at the kitchen sink while my son begs me to play cars with him again. I wish I weren’t begging him to stop asking so I can finally mop the floor for the first time since we moved in two months ago.
I wish I were a mom who knew how to plan ahead and get my children (and myself) ready on time. I wish I knew how to help my stubborn son actually get his clothes on without having to ask seven times until I’m a raging, fire-faced mother, snapping children up and sticking them in car seats, using my “stressed” voice to complain to my kids that we’re always late because they won’t listen. When really, we’re late because I can’t seem to order us. I can’t seem to order myself: my morning routine, my dealings with my boys, my heart that screams at these little ones I love the most.
There is enough.
There is enough time. That’s what I needed to know when I was eight years old, carrying our kitchen’s egg timer around with me from morning task to morning task. Five minutes to make my lunch. Two minutes to brush my teeth. Three minutes to tie my shoes.
And when the timer rang, I was a crying mess, my little-girl-self shaking and shoving my foot into the floppy shoe, shouting to my dad: “I can’t do it in time, Daddy! I can never do it in time!”
My brothers mocked my egg timer ritual but my parents whispered about it in concerned voices. They finally took it away. I couldn’t time myself anymore, they said. But we always find a way, don’t we?
Who is ever enough?
We are people pleasers, aren’t we? I’ve always been striving for the Honor Roll: in childhood, in my family, in my relationships, in ministry, in God’s view of me. Tell me I’m exceptional! I silently beg whoever is near. And when I fail, I hate what I am not. I want you all to think I’m awesome. I want my family to be proud of me, my husband to be mesmerized by me. I want my kids to come out of life with me kind and brave, unwounded and full of love. I want to be everything: good enough and inspiring enough, stylish enough, bold enough.
There is enough.
The Benedictines have always believed there is enough time in each day, Kathleen Norris said in her Preface to The Cloister Walk. I was reading it just days after giving birth to my first son. I was sitting in a bathtub while my mom held my newborn son downstairs. I was looking for something, anything, to tell me what to do with my new mothering self. How would I survive? How would I be who my son needed me to be? How would I keep working and praying and being a friend when this child was asking me to be his everything?
“The Benedictines,” Kathleen Norris wrote, “have always believed there’s enough time in each day for work and study and rest and prayer.”
Enough time. There’s enough time. Those are the words God whispered to me that day, back when I’d never heard of St. Benedict. Those are the words I’ve been working out ever since. Words I still can hardly believe most days. Words I need to see every day. Words that led this girl and her egg timer to the Benedictines and to this blog.
There is enough time because I don’t have to be enough. There is enough time because I have been rescued from my weaknesses. I am weak but I am loved by a Creator who sliced Time into its minutes and hours and days and months. I am loved by a Creator who doesn’t judge me by my Pinterest-style or some Motherhood Honor Roll whose ranks I will never enter. I am loved by a Creator who offers Time with grace on all sides of it. A Creator who writes “Enough” into every slot in my calendar and whispers in my ear, even as I scream threats at the piddling child.
I am enough because I am Christ’s beloved.
There is enough time in every day for prayer, whatever it looks like. There is enough time to love well.
There is enough time because I don’t have to do it all or be it all or please them all.
There is enough of Christ, enough of grace, enough of me.
That’s my New Year’s Resolution. One Word: Enough.
This year I am being formed by God’s Sweet Enough in my life. I am choosing to believe there is enough time to love my family and friends well, to create, to care for the people entrusted to my hands.