I put that part in the parentheses up there for myself.
Mental slumps stink. Seriously. Putting our all into motherhood and serving our families is one of the greatest responsibilities and most blessed roles that we can have as women, but it's also exhausting and, at times, stifling. I thank my Jesus daily for the joy of my husband and children, in between praying that He keeps me from eating all the dark chocolate in the house because Libby just accidentally punched me in the eye or Grace is having a 3-going-on-13 drama day. Raising a young family makes it hard to find time to take deep breaths and let God permeate my heart, refilling my joy tank with His simple peace. It's also hard to evolve as a woman when my biggest daily transformation is making a poopy diaper turn magically clean (with the aide of a trashcan, of course). So, when I think about what my passion is as a person, it makes me feel guilty to ponder anything outside of the realm of family life. But, that's mama guilt making me all willy-nilly. I need to turn on the mute button.
Recently I was in a mental slump, and one of my good friends pointed out that we were created by The Creator in His image, so we are creators ourselves. I just wanted to smooch her and then bronze her bust (statue of her head, thank you very much). When we move through life in a spirit of following instead of creating, of being transformed but not sharing, then we're lacking a very vital piece of who we are. God created us to be artists whether it comes through painting, calculating, talking, thinking, being, staring, walking, writing, jumping, traveling, cultivating, decorating, baking or any other -ing that produces that thrill and zeal inside of our hearts.
I once read in a magazine that one of the ways to tap into our true joy is to think about what activities made us happiest when we were around the age of ten. For me, it's reading and writing. I used to long for Christmas Eve not to anticipate the gifts on the Lord's Birthday but to stay up all night long speeding through the pages of those mega-huge "special" books in The Babysitter's Club series (how badly I wanted to be Claudia...then Stacy...then Claudia...then Stacy!). I've also written for as long as I can remember and was one of those kids who always placed in the Young Author's competitions in elementary school. I even dabbled in journalism as a college major and was asked to take the next level class by my journalism professor, who I admired greatly, but was really touched when his response to my telling him that I was pursuing an education degree instead was, "the world needs more good teachers". I agree, and it's cool that today I'm able to write (blog) and teach (my daughters).
So instead of feeling guilty for contemplating a passion outside of the spectrum of serving my family, I'm going to revel in the passions that make me feel more joyful and complete so that I can serve my loved ones and my God better.
We were created to create. I like that.