This Is The Greatest Show

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I didn’t enter motherhood easily. I had to wait for it.

I cried and wept for my babies, before they came to me.

And now they’re here. My daughter is five, and my son is one, and somehow, in the chaos of our days, in the crumbs on the kitchen floor, I forget the wonder.

Of them. 

Of this. 

But, I was awakened, all over again, to the wonder that is motherhood–by a movie, “The Greatest Showman.”

It spoke such a piercing message to me, I wanted to kneel and weep right there on the theater floor by the time the credits were rolling.

Why? How did a movie about the circus reach through the screen and grip my mama-heart as I sat there holding hands with my husband during our date-night?

I’ll tell you…

The movie is not about a circus–it’s about a man. A husband, and a father. The movie is about P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman), who is a poor boy, who dreams and sings…

A million dreams are keeping me awake. 

And as an adult, he chases those dreams. Dreams to create “the greatest show.” The most thrilling, entertaining, wow-ing event you could imagine. He searches near and far (for circus “freaks”), goes to great heights (including acrobats), risks all his finances, reputation, even his family–to do this one thing: create “the greatest show.”

A show that will be:

“Everything you could ever want, 

Everything you could ever need,

And it’s here right in front of you…”

(Spoiler alert.) It works. He does it. The crowds are awed, and amazed, and flock to the show. Barnum has wild, unprecedented success.

He becomes so sucessful that he goes on tour with his most prized performer, vocalist “Jenny Lind.” Meanwhile, his wife watches sadly, as he rides away in a carriage without her (with another woman). And his daughters look out during their ballet performance to see their mom, and an empty seat beside her, where their dad once glowed and clapped, and cheered them on.

But he’s out chasing his million dreams. 

He’s chasing them, and leaving his first dream behind. His first love. His wife, and his daughters.

And while he’s out chasing those dreams, he gets caught up in a scandal with the performer he went on tour with–who has unashamedly fallen in love with him. And when he finally comes home, he finds his precious circus…burning down. And falling apart. 

And his family with it. He almost loses them.


He comes to realize something. He sees it. It’s so powerful, it makes me cry just thinking about it.

The greatest show, was never the performance of the acrobats, and opera singers, and lions jumping through flaming hoops. 

It was right here. At home. 

Right in front of him. All along. 

This is the greatest show. 

And P.T. Barnum gives up his circus, to watch his girls grow up. To be there. He gives up his million dreams–to pursue the first dream. His wife and daughters.

And at the end of the movie–he’s in the seat next to his wife (that was formerly empty), and he’s watching his daughter’s ballet performance. And as he sits next to his wife, and watches in awe, as his daughter spins on the stage, he sings the song a second time. The same chorus he sung at the beginning, now this time, slowly, and with his very soul, “It’s the greatest show.” 

“It’s everything you could ever want,

Everything you could ever need,

And it’s here right in front of you…”

Tears rolled down my cheeks. I gripped my husband’s hand. As my mind flashed to my children. The ones twirling in my own living room, in my own kitchen. The ones I cried, and waited, and prayed for so many years.

And a great hush fell over me.

The Holy Spirit awakened something deep inside me.

“It’s everything you could ever want,

Everything you could ever need,

And it’s here right in front of you…”


Somehow, as I watched P.T. Barnum chasing his million dreams–I saw myself.

A broken woman, desperate to be more, than I am. 

“I just wanted to be more than I was,” he confesses to his wife in the movie.

And I feel it, working in me. This desire–to be more. That what I am.

Though I prayed so many nights for these children, though I waited so long to be a mom, now that I’m here. Now that they’re here–I’m still tempted to think, “It’s not enough.”

I’m not enough. 

And the demons whisper in my ears. 

The demons that blind me to the beauty of this motherhood. 

Though I have a husband that works hard–who provides (by the grace of God) everything we need. I still feel like I need to make money. I need to be “successful.” And tax-season is extra painful–because when you are filling out “stay at home mom” on your tax form–it looks pretty pathetic on paper. Am I just taking up space in this world?

What is my value? Really?

So, then I feel this pressure. (Not from my husband, just from this place inside of me.) To work. To make money. And to try to prove I’m successful. To feel successful.

Because being “just a mom,” just does not feel very satisfying (or successful) sometimes. And I decide, “I need chase the dreams that I have.”  Because all these Christian-women speakers and authors I see on social media who have HUGE followings and are packing out arenas–they are something. They have done it. 

And me–who can’t even finish a blog post in a month, and changing poopy diapers, and desperately searching just to find socks that match, while we are already late to preschool–am nothing.

And I want to be something. Don’t we all?

Being a mom–sometimes makes me feel crazy. Because they always need something of me. They always want me. And sometimes I just want to finish straightening my half-frizzy, half-straight hair. Or, I just want to have one “complete” digestive movement on the toilet without having to jump up, and console somebody. Or, get someone a snack.

And it feels like motherhood is this constant choice between sanity and love.

And sometimes I just want the sanity. 

And lately, I’ve thought, “Maybe I need a job?” Maybe I need to be hired by someone else. Maybe I need a paycheck. Maybe I should be able to buy the expensive jeans and skin care regimen I want, and whatever else suits my fancy–without pinching pennies. Or, maybe I just need to get out of this house–where nothing is ever finished, or resolved, or CLEAN?

Yes, as moms, we have crazy moments. Days. Weeks. Even years. BUT.

We also have beautiful moments, too. Every day. And sometimes you can look at your babies from across the room, and your heart aches so bad–it physically hurts.


Yes, I have dreams. A million dreams. To write, or speak, or be “somebody.” But you know what?

Right now, I have these children. For these short couple years, I have these children.

And they were a dream once, too.

They were who I prayed for in the dark, on the bathroom floor. They were who I cried for, day after day, waiting on God to answer.

And He gave them to me.



And now they’re here. And I’m tempted to chase a different dream. 


My daughter Selah is five, and sometimes she comes to me like a little prophetess. When I totally don’t expect it.

The other night she was crying in her bed, and I went in and asked her what was the matter?

“I had a bad dream,” she said, still crying.

“What was it?” I asked.

“We (our family) were all in our house, and a big wave came, and there was lots of water and waves outside. And Daddy opened the window. And a balloon went out the window, and you chased it. You went out the window, in the waves, and you were chasing the balloon. And you had your fancy shoes on. And I was yelling, “Mommy! Mommy!” But you kept chasing the balloon, and it went higher in the air,” and she began to cry.

And I began to cry.

I just held her there in the dark, on my chest. As the tears rolled off my cheeks. 


Chasing balloons. 


Chasing dreams. 


Leaving them.


Leaving the best dream behind me.


To chase something. Filled with air. 


The movie’s song sings, “A million dreams are keeping me awake.”

But right now, only one dream keeps me awake at night.

This one. Selah’s dream. 


Dear Mama, 

What is the balloon you’re chasing?

The one that is promising you something?

The one that is tempting you to leave the greatest dream behind you?

I know what mine is. And Selah’s dream haunts me. And sobers me at the same time.

And I remember what is true.

And what is good. What is from God.

This motherhood is a gift.

These babies are a gift. 

These messy, chaotic days, full of the babies I prayed for–are a gift.

If only I can have eyes to see it. 

My husband. Holding me in his arms in our bed. These children. Their big blue eyes looking up into mine, watching to see if I look back into theirs, or not. They wait for me. 

Every day. 


These little ones learning to walk. Climbing on my lap, tangled in my hair, kissing me, climbing me, and just wanting so badly for me to watch. To listen. To inhale their scent. To breathe them in. While they’re  here. 


This is the greatest show.

This is the greatest show. 


Everything you could ever want. 

Everything you could ever you need. 

And it’s here…right in front of you. 


Right in front of you.

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  1. I needed this today, Rebekah. I also tend to feel like I’m not enough, and not achieving enough… As a married, but childless preschool teacher, I often feel like what I do is just not enough… With a salary not even enough to cover our rent, and all my other friends achieving so much and becoming mothers and designers and lawyers (etc), and with many parents of our preschoolers younger than me or my age, I often feel like I’m underachieving. Thank you for the reminder that some of the other things we are chasing, are like the balloons, filled with nothingness (reminds me of the Bible passages in Ecclesiastes, it’s all vanity…) Blessings to you and yours, and thank you…