Mike and I were having a Big Discussion, as we often do, where I’m doing most of the talking and he’s listening but looking a little exasperated that he can’t get a word in.
We’re talking about women and the often complicated interplay between relationships and work, particularly motherhood.
I’m hyper aware of the different ways women I admire walk out their roles as wives and mothers and entrepreneurs and working women.
I observe and ask questions, searching for the ideal, noting our similarities and differences. I’m always trying to find where I fall, or should fall, in the landscape.
In these conversations with Mike, I tend to use sweeping terms, describing large groups and pointing to one particular woman as an example to stand for all others “like her.”
The whole thing feels much more anthropological than judgmental. I approach it with honest questions, not looking to condemn anyone, but to learn from everyone.
When I take a breath, (finally), Mike jumps in with what may be the most profound observation to come out of any of these discussions:
“I wish you wouldn’t frame this in terms of all women, or Christian women, or all mothers. You’re never going to find a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to something as personal as marriage and family.
You don’t get to look in the manual for what you’re supposed to do at any given phase of life. You get to look to God, and ask Him what you can do for Him and for your family at this moment in time, in this season.
Learn from other women, but first, go to God. What He’s calling you to could look completely different. You just have to stay humble and nimble, willing to change direction at any moment, regardless of what you think you’re ‘supposed’ to be doing.”
I didn’t have a tape recorder or anything, but that’s the gist. And I felt an anxious corner of my heart relax.
For the first time in a long time, I haven’t been so churned up about all this. I’ve finally stopped feeling like I need to solve the puzzle of ideal motherhood before I embark on the journey. (Still not embarking, just to nip any rumors in the bud.)
I’m grateful to have a man that will talk for hours about women, who loves and respects the views of this flawed but seeking one.
I’m grateful for the simple reminder that applies in every family and every issue of the heart: but first, go to God.