Three years ago, I gave a talk on leadership at a Christian leadership conference.
I kind of chuckled to myself when I received my binder of honor. The organizers picked a mommy to three littles to deliver a 15-minute talk on how to be a Christian leader.
Who was I to give this talk? Who was I to inspire 60 people into action in their spiritual walk?
I was knee-deep in potty-training, convincing toddlers that they wouldn’t die if I left the room, itching for five minutes to myself, and homeschooling a wild, out-of-the-box child.
Oh, and I had to feed these little loves, wash their clothes, drive them around, and be a wife, sister, daughter, friend, and church lady.
I don’t know how I had time to sleep, eat, shower, read, pray, or write that talk.
Oh, I remember.
What Leaders Do Before Breakfast
I did what leaders do – I got good at doing lots of things before breakfast. I read, prayed, drank coffee, washed clothes, and showered all before their feet hit the floor.
I also failed at this quite often because one of those little loves would need something critical (like a “hold you”) in the middle of the night. I’d often ignore that glint of light coming through my blinds for 30 more minutes.
Hit the Ground Running
Then I’d do another leader-like thing – I’d hit the ground running. The reality is I’d hit the ground running behind my decided failure of keeping up with all I had to do.
And then I’d do one more leaderish activity. I’d make a plan to reclaim my days, life, and to-do list. I’d look at how I had gotten off track and aim to improve my productivity by reallocating resources and adding productivity hacks. I’d also develop a chore chart for my wild, wayward child. She was the missing piece of the puzzle – delegation.
When the Rubber Met the Road
Then, this would fail and I’d very vocally give up my leadership position. I’d sit on my bed in tears with my pile of babes and moan my resignation letter.
And then I’d remember, I couldn’t simply quit and walk off the job.
Lives were at stake. They REALLY needed me. And Daddy was out of town until Thursday.
Survive the Transition
So, I’d do what any good leader does in crisis mode. I’d call my chief strategists (my mom and my husband). They’d give me completely different plans of attack. I couldn’t implement either because all hell had broken loose by this point.
The tyrants (I mean loves) had taken over. Their list of demands would take the rest of the day.
So, I accepted the role of burned out leader. I pulled up my bootstraps and got to work (after I snuck some chocolate from my stash).
Make It to Thursday
The little loves and I went through the leadership transition that all mothers must weather at times – survival mode. I just had to get them through the day – alive, slightly clean, fed, and loved enough to not turn back into tyrants. I had to make it until Thursday when the reinforcement came home.
The Holy Call to Leadership
However, this talk assignment was a turning point in my life. Maybe I wasn’t just there to inspire others. Maybe the Lord placed me in shoes I was to fill like he did so many of his heroes and heroines.
Moses didn’t think he had what it took to be the leader of a nation. Sarah was quite amused at the promise she would be a mother well past her time. Esther didn’t think she was qualified to stop the powerful Haman.
God uses these beliefs we have about ourselves to redeem us or “to change for the better.” (Merriam-Webster)
Tomorrow, I’m going to continue this story about leadership and motherhood.
Spoiler alert: I wholeheartedly believe mothers are leaders of a generation. We don’t do the job in full. However, if we were to write our resumes, we’d be able to highlight the skills of negotiation with tyrants and our extensive vomit crisis management plans as a one-way ticket to the C-suite.
Stay tuned. You may just gain a new perspective for your days in the trenches. You may just begin to understand what a treasure you are.