I melted into the carpet of my office floor, the window open, the breeze rattling the stray papers on my desk. I listened to the chorus of birds, the roar of a lawnmower, the buzz of a single fly, and the cry of the neighborhood cat.
And as the hum of spring filtered through the screen, I was lulled into one of those in-between sleeps, not fully unconscious but not fully aware. My eyes were closed and I could hear. But at some point the sounds of the surrounding world melded into one indistinct moan. And the thoughts in my head became obscured. I knew I was in my office, and yet I’d forgotten.
Until the screen door slammed and a child tromped across the hardwood floor.
After being jolted from my in-between sleep back to full consciousness, I couldn’t help but think of all the other in-betweens I’m in.
I’m somewhere in between young motherhood and mature motherhood. I’ve had almost 8 years of experience, yet I have no advice to give. I’ve got the basics down, but I’m still learning and failing every day. I still look at my children with amazement, stunned by the brightness in their eyes, comforted by the scent of their sun-drenched hair. I wonder how any imperfect human being can have such smooth skin as my fingers are drawn to their rosy cheeks. But I still grumble about how much work they are. I don’t appreciate it as much as I’d like to. And I wonder if I’ll ever reach mature motherhood. Will I ever fully understand the responsibility of raising children? Will I ever truly cherish every moment?
I’m somewhere in between immaturity and maturity. I look like an adult, but I don’t often feel like one. Most of the time I feel like the 12-year-old me, either doing what is expected or running in the exact opposite direction. I’m either seeking approval or I’m trying to prove that I don’t need it. I say no just because I can. And that’s okay. But sometimes I slink back when I should step forward. Like when I hide from an acquaintance at the grocery store instead of just saying hello. Sometimes I’m obnoxious when I should be humble. Like when I prove my husband wrong and throw out a big fat I-told-you-so. And I wonder if I’ll ever look AND feel mature.
I’m somewhere in between childhood and adulthood. I have actual human beings that I’m responsible for, other than myself, and I think I do a decent job of caring for them. They are housed and clothed and fed and loved. But I still think about myself too much. I still want to be taken care of instead of always having to take care of others. I still demand things like a child. I still stomp my feet and cry out to God that life isn’t fair. And I wonder if I’ll ever fully reach adulthood.
I’m somewhere in between loathing my body and loving my body. I praise it for the miles its traveled, for the lives its birthed, for its ability to get out of bed each day, although sometimes barely. And I condemn it for the lives it failed to carry. For its inability to completely bounce back from the trauma of pregnancy and birth. For the constant aches that seem to come with age. For its limitations. Yet, I thank God for a body that still moves through the storms, breathing in the scent of fresh rain. But I’d still like it to be stronger, prettier. And I wonder if I will ever truly love my body for all that it is and all that it has done.
I’m somewhere in between complaining and contentment. Claiming to be grateful for all of life’s goodness, but failing to act like I am. When one good thing comes, I have a hard time being still with it, always desiring something more. I complain about the petty things as much as I am grateful for the seemingly insignificant things. And so many of the big things? Well, so much of the time I forget just how big and beautiful they are. I forget how lucky I am. And I wonder if I’ll ever reach pure, simple contentment.
I’m somewhere in between belief and unbelief. Believing in God. Evidence of his presence everywhere. I claim to believe that Jesus shed his blood for me, for my sin. And I think I do believe it. But I can’t get over how ridiculous it all sounds. And I’m still unsure of what all I believe. I’m stubborn. Scared to move forward in faith. Sometimes I roll my eyes when someone says they have found true joy in Christ, because I don’t think I can say the same for myself. I wish I could. I want what they have. But I’m not sure it really exists. And I’m scared that I’m beyond saving. I wonder if God will rein me back in. Will I ever truly believe?
I’m not sure I’ll ever get there. If I’ll ever get past the in-between. If I’ll ever reach maturity or adulthood. If I’ll ever reach a place a pure gratitude, for my body for life, for all things motherhood. I’m not sure I’ll ever reach a place of full belief.
But despite all of the in-betweens, I know of one place I am for sure. It’s a place where perfection doesn’t exist. A place where anyone who matters doesn’t expect me to be perfect. And most importantly, it’s a place where I don’t HAVE to be perfect.
Because I’m in a place where grace abounds, despite my flaws and often prickly demeanor. It’s a place where the questions don’t always have to have answers in order for life to be good. It’s a place of forgiveness, unconditional love, and trying again.
And even with the confusion of the in-betweens, it’s a beautiful place to be.