Know Who You Are (Not)

“It will be so great and really easy! All you have to do is fill 8 (gallon sized) ziplock bags with 20 pieces of dried macaroni in each bag… then cut 10 inches of yarn... kids can string these pieces onto the yarn… so important for their fine motor skills… and then we exchange them… It’s like a cookie exchange only we swap crafts instead of cookies!” she exclaimed.

I was sweating in my yoga pants as my friend told me about these “busy bags.” My blood pressure rises when another mom uses the words easy and crafts in the same sentence. There was a time in my early early mom years that I thought I needed to do all the things--all the crafts, games, story times, tumble classes, play dates, etc. What is wrong with me? Why can’t you be like that mom over there?

I still remember that conversation with my friend. At the time, I was too insecure to share with her that A) I didn’t want to craft with my kid and B) I didn’t know how to...

I think when I finally had the courage to share with her, her blank stare and quick response was to go to Pinterest to find inspiration.

Sister, please.

I just can’t. I would rather wash/dry 8 loads of laundry, fold, and put away while listening to my favorite podcast all the while my itty bitties sleep. I like simple. I like structure. I like routine. Some would say I like boring. I did tell you I was type A, right?

Note: for all mothers who are incredibly crafty, spontaneous, have beautifully decorated homes, and throw kid parties that would make the Royal family swoon, I stinking love you. I love that you are in my world and that my children get to go to your houses and your parties! I am thankful that my kids get to experience YOU and the unique gifts you give them in your talent and time. Really. I love you.

I was once challenged to do a little “know thyself” exercise from a book I was reading. This author used the analogy of a balance beam and a gymnast--there are things that can be on or off your bar. She had me intrigued as I laid out things in my life that make me off balance and fall off my bar and then the things that I am able to balance on my bar.

Off my bar:
Home decorating
Spontaneous silly fun
Late nights
Kid birthday parties (planning)
Gift giver
Following directions

On my bar:
Purging (like a boss)
Throwing away my kids’ junk, I mean crafts
Deep intentional conversation
Early mornings
Kid birthday parties (attending)
Buying gift cards
Making to-do lists (for someone else to-do)
Telling others what to do

These lists could have continued for quite some time, but you are all mothers and have a life to get back to.

After my third-born, I became convicted about embracing my true self, the person God created me to be. It was around this time that I learned how to pray with the help of the MPC. More specifically, praying the self page that changed my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I had heard two speakers speak about this topic of “loving thyself”, and their messages helped me flip open that blue prayer book and pray for me.

The first influential piece came from a priest who shared one of my favorite lines. He said that we will never achieve greatness outside of our mission. Meaning, until we come to embrace the life, the vocation, the mission God has set before us, we will remain searching, wandering, and in a few cases depressed or full of regret.

I personally spent many years wishing I was somebody else. In middle school I wished I was prettier, thinner, and more popular. In high school, I wished my family had more money, I had a cool car, and that I didn’t have pay for my college. In young adult years, I wished for a great job, a boyfriend, and I was constantly looking to be happy. I put all my worth in others and I struggled for years and years with vanity--how do others see me?

It was at a moms’ group when a speaker encouraged me to ask God to reveal who I was in His eyes. She shared her own story of heartache and searching. She shared that during a particularly challenging season in her life she listed out every lie that she had bought into about herself. She then turned to scripture and rewrote those lies into Godly truths.

Being an activator, a go-getter, I did this that afternoon. I desperately wanted to fix the broken tape that played in my head. I opened myself up to my good, Good Father and asked Him to tell me, his daughter, who He says that I am. I began to pray my self page and I included the intention that I be healed from vanity, approval of others, jealousy, fear of failure and comparison. I also clung to His love letters in His Holy Word. I clung to truth in the scriptures.

There was (is) no flaw me. (Song 4:7)  

If you have not made your way to the self page, I encourage you to begin filling it out today. I would actually encourage you to move the self page to the front of your MPC. Here’s the thing, my friends, as mothers we pray and we pray, we give and we give, and then when we fall apart emotionally, physically and spiritually we ask “how can this be?” I remember a time when I prayed so much for my husband and kids and our family that I realized I had been spiritually suffocating myself!

I heard an analogy once that before a plane takes off, the flight attendant reminds moms to put their own oxygen masks on first and then help their children put theirs on. Why don’t we approach life that way? Why do we neglect our own need to breathe and instead try to put the oxygen masks on everyone else in our lives? I’m not saying we’re supposed to be selfish -- I’m not calling for a mom boycott of our responsibilities. I am calling for a change in how mothers love themselves, because until we do - until we learn to accept the love of our Father in our own lives - we won’t ever be able to emulate that love for our children. You may have heard this saying, “You can’t give what you don’t got.”

Dear sisters, you must embrace the uniqueness of you--the one and only you--the one who God the Father created you to be; the wife and mother only you can be for your family! So what if I don’t craft or even care to learn how to? God loves me just the way I am. The woman I am right now - today.

If we cannot go through the exercise of discovering our own gifts and talents and areas that we need to ask for God’s healing power - how will we ever be able to do this for our kids, our husbands, or our families? The journey of filling out your self page is an exercise of accepting God’s plan for you, His unique mission for you, His love for you. And THEN, it is my hope and prayer, that you can gift this same experience to your children and spouse through the MPC.

Know who you are (not).png

Stef Blackwell

Stef Blackwell and her husband are raising their four kids and living the dream deep in the heart of suburbia, Flower Mound, TX. She’s a raging choleric and high functioning introvert, which some have said is impossible. But alas, here she lives to tell her tale. Her greatest strength is bossing people around; her greatest weakness is she bosses people around - and Jesus loves her just the way she is - today. She looks for the one mama who is standing alone and strives to bring them into the fold. God has given her a passion for marriage, motherhood, and living missionally.