They’re Raising Me

17 Oct

I’ve been baking bread a lot lately. It’s strange, it’s not something I ever thought I’d enjoy. They say you’re either a cook or a baker, and I am definitely not Betty Crocker. Baking (and most crockpot recipes) bother me because you have to follow instructions carefully. You can’t really just add in a dash of this and that and taste the cake batter as you go. That’s what I love about cooking. I can use my hands and other senses to experience the whole thing, to taste as I go and make it better. It’s intuitive to me.

I’ve found with bread, once I got over the initial phase of being annoyed at having to be exact with the measurements, I could be free to form the dough the way I want.

Kneading. It’s supposed to be the hardest part, the most inconvenient, but lately it’s been my favorite. Stretching out the dough, making it softer, firmer, feeling it with my bare hands. I guess it’s a little therapeutic and maybe I need that.

Yesterday I got out of the chair, after nursing my 5-month-old Wyatt to put him on his mat to play. My big toe caught on the hem of my mom-sweatpants and my whole body came crashing onto the wood floor, baby included. Luckily my arm caught his head but i was still so shook up. I sat on the couch and bawled, even after we checked him and knew he was ok.

Aurelia comforted me, saying, “It’s ok mama, it’s ok, don’t cry.” I’ve never met a 3-year-old as good as she is in a crisis. It helps that since she was very small, her dad and I have told her to slow down and breathe whenever she starts to panic.

Today she said “Mom, remember when baby Wyatt fell and you cried? God is with you all the time.”

Some days as a stay-at-home-mom feel like eternity and my children feel so small and needy. Other days I just look at them and I wonder what galaxy they came from.

After I knead the dough for 10 minutes, my hands are covered in flour and a little cramped. I pat it down to try to smooth out the cracks and make the heap of dough as perfect as possible. But there are always flaws.

Then comes the wait time. I am not good at that part. Instead of enjoying the fruits of my labor immediately, after all that physical exertion I have to wait for it to rise. I have to leave it alone in a warm place and trust that I didn’t mess it up.

I have to trust that it will grow and become what it was meant to be.

It’s been 5 months since I became a mother of 2, and about 2 and a half months since we moved 1,000 miles to our new home. Some days I am so, so tired. My brain is numb. I am annoyed and ungrateful.

Other days I stop and stare at the window and see changing leaves: oranges, yellows, and reds. I open the doors and the windows and feel that glorious nip in the air, inhale that wonderful, life-giving, smokey fall scent.

Sometimes I stop and talk to my daughter, and wonder at her brilliance. I make my son laugh, his mouth open wide, his whole face engulfed in joy.

Sometimes the only thing I can do is whisper “Thanks,” with tears in my eyes.

For so long it felt like we were barely surviving. Like we were wandering aimlessly in the desert. The manna was always there, but I grew so, so tired. I continued my feeble, half-whispered prayers every night and most waking moments.

“Please.”

You have to be patient and wait for the dough to rise. When it’s ready, you’ll know. When you put it in the oven, the whole house fills with a homey, fresh, comforting wintery smell. When it’s ready, it’s perfectly crisp and crunchy on the outside, and soft and comforting on the inside. The butter melts and your heart and tongue rejoices.

Motherhood feels a lot like your body being broken and made whole over and over. A holy calling in the most humble disguise. Waiting and watching. More patience that I ever thought was possible. Kid’s don’t play on our adult-made timeline.

Neither does God and his mad and hilarious recipe for our lives.

It’s better that way. I’d be bored with formulas and exact outcomes and I know it. Very little is actually in my control. It’s beautiful and freeing and it takes a lifetime to fully realize.

“Mom, God is with you all the time,” My three-year-old states this matter-of-factly, like she does her name. And I know, as much as I struggle through the beautiful, difficult chaos of raising them, they’re also raising me.

And I know I can fall back into the trust that there is grace and provision and abundance and more than we can ever dare to ask or hope.

In the changing of seasons. In a new home. In our daily bread.

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One Response to “They’re Raising Me”

  1. Wendy October 19, 2017 at 7:21 pm #

    Thank you for the beautiful devotion. Great analogy and awesome reflection. Enjoyed every word

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