What Practice Really Means

Today's my twelfth post in a 31 days series about Practicing Messy Motherhood.

I have three kids that are in various stages of learning to read. With a 5, 6, and 7 year old - they are so close and yet so incredibly different in their abilities. Our 7 year old reads himself to sleep each night, tackles hard words, reads my blog over my shoulder as I write, and reads most of what he sees out in society. Our 6 year old is in the watch and learn and eek-out-what-you-can-phase. Reading with her helps a ton and if she's in a good mood, she can tackle most words with a little help. When she's in a bad mood or when she's discouraged, it's so disheartening. I'll sit at the table with Glory and quietly cajole her, reminding her that she CAN read. That she's already a reader. Helping her try again.

Our 5 year old though? I'm not sure sure about him. Like, I can't get a read on his skills at all because it's hard to decipher what is faking it and memorizing books and what is maybe some genuine giftedness at reading. He'll occasionally tell me he's read a book and I honestly don't know what that means to him. Did he hold it in front of himself and flip the pages or did he really read the words? 

I became a mom at a relatively young age, when none of my other friends were mothers. I felt green and fresh and way ahead on the curve. In absolute honesty, during my first few years of motherhood, I wouldn't say I felt pressure to do it well - I just assumed I WAS doing it well. Occasionally I'd feel corrected by society, an actual person, or the Lord - but mostly, I was just doing motherhood. Doing what I thought I was supposed to do and checking off the boxes. 

It wasn't until about three years in that I had an absolute break. For a variety of reasons, I suddenly felt like I wasn't capable AT ALL. I felt like I'd never actually be a good mom. And I needed everyone to tell me how to do what God had already assigned me to do. I think back to those days, and I imagine I looked very much like Glory looks when she's discouraged about reading. I think the Lord was probably sitting beside me, inside me, all around me - quietly whispering - But I've already made you a mom. I've given you these children. With my Spirit, the Helper, I'm telling you - you can do this. 

I very intentionally picked the word "practicing" for this 31 days series. Because I don't want to be like my sweet little 5 year old, new mom self. I don't want to "fake it till I make it", cruising along on my own assuming that I GOT THIS - all the while, maybe not actually even absorbing any of what the Lord wants me to see. On the other hand, I don't want to be so obsessed with my own self - my victories and my shortcomings - that I lose sight of the fact that I am indeed called, equipped, and currently receiving grace as a mom.

I want to live a life of PRACTICING MOTHERHOOD - seeing the whole scope of where I'm headed and knowing I'll need grace along the way. But trying again, day after day, to walk more fully in what He's called me to. Getter better as I go and getting closer to Him at the same time.