More Than A Mother

Since her birth I have taken time to ponder over the fact that I am more than this little one’s mother.

You see, I love her so very much, just like most mothers (and fathers) love their own children. But there is more to my identity. I wonder, what is my identity? Who am I?

It is something I long struggled with, as I battled demons in the shape of anxiety, depression and paranoia. My identity then was not good enough. I struggled to believe that anyone could like me, all that I was, and so I changed it. Slowly though, God brought me back to him. I met some wonderful people at my mum’s church who welcomed me in. And because I was living with my parents, who I knew loved me regardless, I began to let myself shine through once more.

It was only when I moved to Lancaster, though, that I really learned to love myself. I was living with beautiful girls, really and truly, the most beautiful girls you could meet. They were kind, honest, funny, hard-working, prayerful and so much more. I got stuck in at our local church, throwing myself into living a life of serving others in our community. I eagerly took notes during sermons, and my own bible study came to life. 

This weekend I travelled to York for a friend’s hen party. What a night! Aside from my keycard not working at midnight, and having to change rooms, leaving all of my belongings locked in the original room, it was a fabulous do. There was food, cocktails, bubbles, laughter, dancing and even a hot chicken slice. We had brunch the following day, and again much laughter and chatter. It felt wonderful to get dressed up in something that didn’t have a main function of being comfortable and accessible for breast feeding. It felt wonderful to talk about things like the EU referendum and inequality with someone other than my husband. It felt wonderful to let my hair down and be responsible only for myself and no one else. It felt wonderful to be me!

Then, on Sunday, we enjoyed time as a family at a friend’s BBQ, before I went to the evening service at our church. I was reminded once more of God’s goodness to us, and how he made each one of us special and unique. Before my daughter was born, the 7pm service was the one my husband and I went to; the service where I sang in the worship team; and the service which most of our immediate network attend. Obviously things have changed a lot, as we can no longer both go to this service, and we have to make more of an effort to catch up with friends at other points in the week. One of the things I have missed most is worshipping in the worship team at this evening service. I love to sing in worship to God, and love being in fellowship with the others in the team. Last night I got to join in, and I felt like myself again. I felt reenergised.

So, whilst I feel awful that my darling little one refused the bottle whilst I was away, I feel normal. I feel like me. Today has been easier – it’s far too hot, and she is teething – because I have had some time doing things I enjoy. It is surely an important lesson of the first time mum: do something for you, even if it’s small. It will make all the difference to your sanity and temperament.

You are more than a mother. And that’s ok.

When Does an Ordinary Act Become a Holy One?

Whilst at church this morning, my daughter needed to feed. We are still exclusively breastfeeding at this time, and so out came the boobs. Discreetly, obviously! But then, our vicar announced it was time to sing our next hymn. When it comes to my faith, music has always been the thing that speaks clearly to me; the thing which helps me to connect with God and plug into his Spirit. When I have a cold, or a sore throat, I feel spiritually pained, as I love to use my voice to praise God, and really hate being unable to do that.

So, this morning I remained seated whilst everyone else sang this song:  

It occurred to me, whilst I was sitting there and nursing my wonderful daughter, that what I was doing was very ordinary to me and the world… And yet extraordinary to God. 

‘Ordinary things have an extraordinary value in the eyes of God, especially when done as acts of love, love of God and love of the family. But their special value comes from the fact that God became man, lived a family life in Nazareth with Mary and Joseph, and thereby sanctified the the ordinary and gave it meaning.’ (Basil Hume OSB, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, To Be a Pilgrim: A Spiritual Notebook)

There we have it then. Breathe on me, breath of God, till I am wholly thine, until this earthly part of me glows with thy fire divine. What have I always seen as a holy act of worship? Singing! I had felt I’d be missing out on a holy act of worship if feeding during a hymn or song, but that just isn’t true. As I thought about these words, whilst feeding my little one, I felt as connected to God as I ever have. All of these little earthly acts, they are important, when they’re done with love.

What small and ordinary acts do you carry out each day? How can you do them with such abundant love that they become extraordinary, Holy acts?