It’s easy, as a mother, to let our circumstances steal our joy. But don’t miss the moments of goodness; keep your eyes on Jesus.
I don’t need to tell you that motherhood is hard work. It’s physically grueling, emotionally exhausting, and intellectually numbing. But one hardship we often overlook as moms is the challenge it makes to our sense of purpose.
Through the consuming trials of motherhood, we lose many of the earthly ways we used to understand the purpose of our lives before—we may no longer work out of the home, our friendships may change, our relationships with our husbands may differ as we make room for the family, and so on.
Because the challenges of motherhood strip away our old identity markers, we are tempted to replace them by finding our purpose in godly motherhood.
Although godly motherhood is valuable, it is not our purpose. It is not our first calling, but the result of it.
Our purpose is first and foremost to love God more.
Therefore, we don’t wrap our purpose up in our children—or in any other relationship. Roles and relationships don’t define who we are and why we are here. Only one relationship defines us: our relationship with God.
Dear Mommies, we are so much more than the summation of our children. His purpose for your motherhood is that you would know him better, love him more, depend completely on his strength, and understand his faithfulness in a new way.
I called my husband one day in tears about our child, saying, "I just don't know what to do."
It was a deja vu experience because I had said the same thing with the same tears multiple times since becoming a mother. I guess I assumed that as my children got older I would grow in wisdom and understanding and things would be smoother than they were when everything was all new andconfusing and exhausting—when they were babies, then toddlers, then preschoolers.
But the truth is, I still feel just as helpless as I did the first day I held my oldest son at the hospital.
I don't know about you, but I don’t like feeling helpless; I like knowing what to do in every circumstance. I like to be equipped, prepared, and ready. I like to have plans in place to prevent chaos. I like to control the unexpected. But as I quickly learned, there's no controlling motherhood.
And while I am helpless as a mom, I am never hopeless. Never. And neither are you.
In all our helpless situations, Christ is our hope. He has redeemed us from our sin and given us his righteousness. Through faith in his perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection, he made us right with God.
In our greatest helplessness and in our small daily helplessness, Christ is our hope.
He is sovereign over all things.
He knows all things.
He bears all burdens and hears our every cry.
He works all our circumstances together for our ultimate good.
He is our comfort, our peace, and our rest.
So, moms, yes we are helpless. But in Christ we are never hopeless.
Sometimes, in the chaos of children and cooking and cleaning and errands and just generally managing a household and family, I forget why I'm doing what I'm doing. I forget who I serve. I get so focused on the here and now, I forget Him and eternity. Last night, as I was cooking dinner, dad was working late and the kids were whining at my feet, I felt exasperated. Strung out. Overwhelmed.
And then, I stopped and sang,
"Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord"
But my friend, your feelings of insecurity and need are important and they are real. Don't just ignore them! You ARE struggling and failing in your own attempts to be and do everything right for your kids. Don't gloss over your need for help and release from this incredible burden, because there is someone waiting to welcome you into His arms.
Ever since we've been married my husband has worked long hours. I don't know why I've ever expected it to change, but I suppose there has always been this hope in me that it would. To give perspective (and I suppose some credibility as to why I'm writing this post), my husband typically works 12 hour days, and though he is supposed to have every other Friday off, he works them about half the time and at times, he is unexpectedly called in on the weekends or in the middle of the night. He also goes through long seasons once or twice a year, working 12-15 hour days (or nights) for anywhere from 30-90 days straight (yes, even weekends), although this past year they introduced "Fatigue Days," where it became a requirement that they give the employees every 14th day off. (I'll be honest, I've always wondered how this could be legal.)
I know there are a lot of professions that require husbands to work long hours and I am not the only mother preparing and eating dinner with the kids by myself. But it can feel like a very lonely road sometimes and it can be tough to know how to talk about it or what to do, because for most of us, we know deep down, it's not going to change anytime soon, so what good does talking about it do?
That said, I'm not writing this to say that I have anything revelatory to add, nor do I always have a good perspective or follow the advice I'm about to share, but in seven years of being married to a man that works long hours and four of which I've been a mom to small children, I have come a long way in my attitude and learned a few tricks to ease the frustration. So to the mom who's husband works long hours, this is my letter to you.
When I find myself losing my temper with my children more often than normal, it can be easy for me to spiral downward, feeling guilt, condemnation and listening to the lies from Satan that I cannot change.
But when I believe this lie, what's really happening is I'm believing that I am beyond the reach of God's grace – I'm believing that the cross wasn't enough.
When I consider a common source of my irritability, it's summed up in one word: expectations.
I expect my children to be neat and tidy, quiet, simple to discipline, and free of health issues or sleep problems. I expect them to be the model of godliness at the ripe age of 3. I expect them to make me look like I'm doing a wonderful job so everyone can see how "under control" we are. I expect them not to overreact or ignore my direction.
When it comes to toiling in the call of motherhood, I often shift my focus from the upward call of Christ (Philippians 3:14) onto my self-constructed image of the "perfect" mom. Instead of working with the energy the the Holy Spirit provides for the work God has put before me, I clench my fists and drag the weight of "not good enough" as I press on to attain my idea of godly motherhood.