A friend sent me a blog post this morning written by yet another mom who writes yet another mom blog on Planet Blogitron, around which so many of us are orbiting in the vast Momiverse.
Did that sound cynical? Forgive me. The blog was actually quite good and clever and I forwarded it to a couple other moms who read such things.
I'm a mom with young children, who works from home, so I embody the Mommy Blog demographic. That means I feel lonely and isolated and crazy for at least several hours a day. When I first discovered there were cool and talented women out there, who were willing to get real about life and faith and pancakes and PMS, I perked up.
Since I am also introverted, and not so hot on leaving my house in search of new friends, I was thrilled with all my new cyber mommy pals who were quick with the perfect C. S. Lewis quote or a review of a snappy new lip gloss, or an embarrassing toddler comment about poop.
"Hahahahaha! LOLLL," I would respond.
"You think that's crazy?" I'd reply in the comments section. "Getta load of what my little angel said to the waiter!"
Then just like that, I lost interest in mommy blogs. Overnight. In fact, more than losing interest, I started to resent the very blogs I used to read and adore.
I didn't want to see any more step-by-step craft pictorials or toy reviews or photography pointers. I started to resent every quirky Instagram and poignant anecdote. I'd spew ugly mental ridicule like, No, really, blog lady with 40,000 followers, I am dying to know 14 different uses for the clothespin (even though I do love a good clothespin and would have taken copious notes a few months back).
Why the sudden resentment?
Obviously, the issue was mine.
It became clear, after some self examination, that this constant observation of other people's lives—the relentless purveying of their families and children and cupcakes and clothespins—had shined a glaring light on the lack of real community in my own.
I'd allowed (subtly and slowly) my online voyeurism to become a cheap substitution for engaging in actual relationships. In actual pancakes with actual people.
It was a sad and sobering afternoon when I looked down and realized that my own daughter had a death grip on my leg for 20 minutes begging me to paint with her, and I had literally tuned out her little voice (not easy) because I was obsessing about somebody else's daughter's little painty project on Pinterest. Someone else's over-there life was far more fetching than my real here-and-now one, and I couldn't even hear my sweet girl begging for me to be present.
Everything in someone else's blog (and kitchen and garden and makeup drawer and vacation and birthday party and recipe for homemade bath salts) was perfect and unattainable and way more alluring than this ramshackle, busted up, boring pile of whatever I've got going on over here.
Guess what men call that?
And Satan calls it a good day at the office.
Held in His Hand
I think my sudden distaste for the whole mommy blog landscape was about my sudden distaste for my own life. My own (oh, by the way) incredible, full, healthy, joyful, hilarious, messy, 22-day-old-French-fries-under-the-car-seat life. It's actually spectacular. I just forgot. How does one forget one's life is spectacular? By hours spent fantasizing about someone else's. God help me.
Women invented this practice, I'm sure of it. It isn't enough to fantasize about someone else's waistline or sculpted yoga arms. Now we must shake our fist at their fresh, leafy basil, growing miraculously way past basil season. Gifted gardeners, I smite thee.
Oh, the Father's heart breaks for this. I know it.
The care with which he finger-dresses the lilies, and cups the sparrow in his great hand. This is the same hand that dresses me. Cups me. Covers me.
This is the hand that delivers bread to my table many times each day. The hand that tucks the blanket up under the chins of my babies, one more time, after I've left the room. The hand that knocks on my door because my elderly neighbor needs help finding his yappy dog. The great hand that taps me on the shoulder, gently and persistently, until I look up from my own singular pot of wilted basil to see the banquet he has spread before me. To behold the table he sets in the presence of my enemies. Even when that enemy is primarily myself.
It's the very hand that keeps trying to turn off my computer and my phone and my iPad, despite my repeated efforts to swat it away.
Look, points the hand. Look here, not over there.
"From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done" (Isaiah 43:13).
No one can undo what I have done. And no one can do it better.
So Jesus, in those moments of blathering boredom and unease in my day, the interior chatter that promises improvement or at least entertainment if I can just see, read, Tweet, pin, or like how someone else is doing life better, I will try not to reach for a screen.
I will try to reach for a Hand.
Nichole Nordeman is a singer and songwriter. She is author of Love Story: The Hand that Holds Us from the Garden to the Gate. Nicholenordeman.com