How to Pursue Your Dreams Amid Diapers
- Becky Beresford Author. Speaker. Dreamer.
- 2021 23 Dec
I remember the exact moment we found out we were pregnant.
As six-month-old newlyweds, we had things sorted. The plan was to travel abroad, further our ministry training, and of course, learn how to adult as married people. But then this plus sign on a five-inch plastic stick delivered unexpected news that changed it all, and we were shocked.
Within a few seconds, the wave of feelings began to settle in. Shock led to joy, which led to hope, which quickly faded into one of my least favorite emotions – FEAR. I always struggled when facing transitions, especially huge ones like this, but now I was scared on multiple levels.
Would my baby be healthy and safe? Could my body handle the upcoming transformation? And most of all, could I do this? Was I ready to lay down my current reality as an independent human with plans and purposes of her own? Because ready or not, the day was here, and everything was going to be different.
Wrestling With a New Reality
You see, Dear Reader, I always wanted to be a mama. There was never a question about whether kids would be part of my future if it were up to me. But as I started to explore the gifts and passions Jesus laid heavily on my heart, I realized I wouldn't be able to do them to the same extent (or even at all) when I became a mom. Time and energy would be precious, and the ability to go to the bathroom by myself, let alone get out and do ministry, would be a rare occurrence. So, I wrestled hard.
I wrestled with the fear of losing myself amid dirty diapers and piles of laundry. I wrestled with pausing my plans in order to pursue my biggest dream: having a family. I wrestled with feeling discontent, wanting more but feeling bad for having that desire. And I wrestled with God, wondering when it would be my turn to pursue the dreams He had given me? Because my drive to do so was only getting stronger.
We decided that one of us would stay home with the littles until they were in Kindergarten, so I saw my husband off to work every day. I was happy he was following the path Jesus paved for him, but I was also envious, and I'll say it - resentful. I didn't know what was wrong with me because I wanted a family more than anything else. My babies were my life, but I couldn't shake the desire for something else. Something that helped me recognize the young dreamer behind the worn-down mommy. For years the inner battle continued until one day, I finally broke.
The Blessing of a Breaking Point
I was in a counseling session, letting off extreme amounts of steam. I shared my thoughts about not being 100% satisfied with motherhood and how I felt incredibly guilty for not being fine with my life. She listened and smiled and responded with complete grace.
"Becky, it's okay. It's okay to want more and want to do things for you. You are the best mom when you make sure to take care of yourself as well."
I was stunned - speechless, I might add! Usually, people told me this was 'just for a season,' or 'my time would come', but someone never validated my feelings by saying it was okay to want more. I had no problem accepting God's best for my husband and kids, but I finally began to realize He had a best for ME as well – one that was rooted in the abundant life of Christ and the giftings bestowed on me by the Holy Spirit. It's such a fine line for mamas. We will quickly lay down our entire lives for the sake of our families, but being a mommy martyr is not the same thing as serving out of the fullness of the Savior's love.
Pursuing Your Passion Does Not Make You Selfish
Please allow me to save you years of guilt and grief. You are not selfish if you do something for yourself too. Jesus tells us, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' (Matthew 22:37-39 NLT). Mamas often have no problem loving others and doing every they can to make sure their babies are thriving. But the final two words in this passage, 'as yourself,' can throw us for a loop. The Bible makes it clear that we are called to care for ourselves as well, even love who we are in Jesus. Loving others can include loving ourselves too.
Therefore, we need to pay particular attention to passions or areas of our life that help us feel alive. What brings us joy? What makes us feel connected to God? It looks different for every person, and life hands us various circumstances, but we need to know we are allowed to dream with God regardless of our situation. We are worthy of having the opportunity to pursue our dreams because every detail of our lives matters to Him. And remember, our Creator is the One who gave us our passions in the first place.
The Resurrection of Our Dreams
It's true, our focusing power may be limited in the trenches of motherhood, but we still need to water those sacred parts of our hearts (even if it's just a sprinkle) because our dreams don't deserve to die. They are part of our holy makeup. They are strategically placed for a reason. And for the sake of the gospel, they need to be shared with this hurting, broken world.
Our gifts were never made to be buried, mama. They need to be resurrected. Not just for ourselves, but also our children. Kids need to see their mother's gifts and dreams. When we dare to live out our passions, it gives our kids permission to do the same, and they will carry that truth with them into adulthood.
You can be a dreamer and a parent at the same time. You can nurture their hearts and yours as well. You can love being a mom and love other things too. It is okay to be both, and it is good. Don't let shame or guilt stop you from being a passion-pursuer. If we can encourage our babies to go after their God-given dreams, maybe it's time we take our own advice. With Jesus, you can do it, mama. And now you know you should.
Photo credit: ©Getty/MoMo-Productions
Becky Beresford lives in Huntley, IL and is happily outnumbered by her husband and three wild boys. She is a writer and speaker with a Master’s Certificate in Discipleship from Moody Theological Seminary. Becky loves encouraging God’s Daughters to embrace their truest selves in Christ and walk out the gospel truths empowered by God. She would love to connect with you online at BeckyBeresford.com, where you can grab a FREE copy of the Brave Woman Manifesto: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Feel free to follow her and the weekly Brave Women Series on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter.