Space is a big deal for me. I like space. Don’t get too close to me. If you are in my face when you talk to me, I will slowly back away as my shoulders tighten into anxious knots. Honor the bubble, y’all. This whole kids being all up in my space for the last decade thing wears on me. The other day I went to the bathroom and my three-year-old sat on the floor and played with my toes…while I was peeing! Seriously?! For crying out loud…GIVE ME SOME SPACE!
But, I’m not always psychotic about my spaces. I also like my space for normal reasons. I like to create little spaces throughout my house that are designated areas. So, my husband and I have a coffee space where we hang out together in the mornings. I have my writing space where I am able to climb out of the trenches of motherhood for a bit to breathe, dream, and play with words. I like these spaces. These are my happy spaces.
I assumed my four daughters would appreciate and respect my space, but…well...in spite of my effort to create reading nooks with dreamy, sheer curtains and decorative pillows, and dress up areas with hooks for hats and tutus, these kids won’t stay put in their spaces-they keep jumping over into mine! I realized the futility of my efforts one day as I was looking for these cherub-cheeked children of mine and couldn’t find them (which immediately makes a mother think “Oh no. What kind of mess am I about to find?”). I checked the dress-up space in the playroom, the reading nooks in their bedrooms, and the play teepee outside. Nope. Those spaces were untouched. Then I heard giggling from the direction of my bedroom. Oh no. Following the sound like a bloodhound I tracked them down. They were in my closet with every pillow and blanket they own, stacks of books and their favorite stuffed animals. I shook my head in bewilderment. I also had a flashback to when I was a little girl doing the exact same thing. I remember the day I found my mom’s secret stash of make-up in a cardboard box in the floor of her closet…jackpot! I was entertained for what felt like hours.
But at this moment, with my daughters, I was not entertained. I did what every 21st century mother does. I took a pic of them snuggled together in my closet, put it on Instagram with a filter and something about letting kids be kids so that I sounded like the cool mom who's totally laid back and chill - the opposite of what I was really feeling. Then texted it to my husband and whined about how I had worked so hard to create cozy space for them to read and play and they ended up in my cluttered closet messing with my stuff.
Then my husband said something that made me stop in my tracks. He said, “Of course they are, Babe. They have an innate desire to create their own space.”
I forgot that these daughter’s of mine, like me, and our first mother, Eve, have a built in sense of creating space. They can’t help but create space for life. They don’t even realize they are doing it. It is in them to subdue the world around them and make it habitable, useful and beautiful, because that is the job God has given them. As a mother of daughters, I should be better at recognizing this, but sometimes I am selfish with my spaces and I forget that I’m raising women created in the image of Creator God. I get caught up in the creating of my own spaces and forget that they need to flex those creative muscles, too, and that the way they create space will be different than the way I do.
It challenges my sense of control-which is delusional at best anyway. It reminds me that my love for creating space is teaching my daughters to do the same. They will one day become women who will create beautiful spaces out in the world as well as in their own homes. Maybe it will be space that protects victims of human trafficking. Maybe it will be space that brings families together. Maybe they will create space for children to be educated, patients to be treated, or some useful space that no one has thought to create yet.
No matter what shape their spaces take, I pray that they will create space where the seed of the Gospel has room to flourish. I pray that as each of them discovers who they are, created in Christ, they will dive into their space in this world with all their heart for the good of others and the glory of God. I pray this for myself, too. It fills my heart with joy when I get to create space, whether it is space in my home for loved ones to rest and be fed, or an online space where moms can catch their breath and be encouraged by the Gospel. It is in these spaces that worship to my Creator flows most truthfully.
I’m so thankful for my spaces. I am also thankful that my spaces are filled with these delightfully creative children. Even when I can’t seem to get an inch of elbow-room, or a private moment in the bathroom, I know that these spaces I’ve been given to cultivate are beautiful and exactly what God knows this momma needs.
What about you? What spaces are you carving into the corners of your life? Where do you flex your creative muscles? In what spaces do you find yourself worshipping God fully?
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it...And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. Genesis 1:27-31
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:24
So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: Romans 12:5-6