Sometimes we get so tired of the same sins, we want to just give up and stay where we are. But keep going back to the cross for grace, because Christ's forgiveness drives us to repentance.
I yelled at my daughter the other day. Not a gentle ‘Don’t do that, honey,’ kind of correction, but an angry, ‘What on earth were you thinking?’ reaction.
She, in turn, yelled at her two year old brother for making her do it, and pretty quickly there was a lot of frustration going around for a little bit of spilled sparkling water. A simple misstep halted my child’s creative idea on a nice day, and there we were, yelling at each other as if the offense merited some sort of punishment.
After we cleaned up, I thought about how quickly that moment went from fun to frenzied. Rather than parenting my children with the patience and instruction they need, I responded to a common sibling squabble like I was one of the siblings.
If a mama speaks out of the overflow of her heart, my overflow had been speaking loud and clear, pointing to the fact that I wasn’t guarding the sources filling my heart-well.
The problem is really simple: it’s me. My heart is. My misplaced worship is. The idolatry of my time and performance is. And the way I feed these things by comparing myself to other mothers, that’s the problem.
And the way I’ve sought to fill my life with the things God tells us will not satisfy—these are the barrier between me and the mom that I want to be. As I’ve escaped to worldly influences, I’ve robbed my soul of the fellowship with my Savior that it needs, and I’ve seen firsthand the difference between the overflow of a heart filled with treasure and a heart filled with idols.
Motherhood is one way God makes his goodness tangible, and I am learning each day that to be the mom I want to be, to experience that goodness, I have to begin with a posture of humility; which is sometimes as simple as the choice between one of the many temporary comforts fighting for my affection, and repentance. Simple, pure, childlike repentance of my sin. Because we’re all in need of saving from the thing that keeps us from God and from one another.
But the best news for all of us is that grace is already there.
I know what it’s like to be a mom.
When I was 17, I got pregnant. Right after graduation, I was married, and then about a year later I was divorced. I know what it’s like to be a single mom with a little one to care for; to struggle to balance work and college and mothering and the laundry and…and….
Then, right about the time I turned 21, the Lord graciously saved me.
After a few years in church, I married Phil, who became dad to my little guy. Soon, we had two kids of our own: Three kids, one husband, two dogs…and chickens.
As I look back on those days, I’ll admit that there were plenty of times when I felt completely overwhelmed and alone. I frequently felt like I was drowning.
I’m sure, had you asked me, I knew the Lord was with me, but I’m not sure that I knew how near he was, how much he understood, or how that understanding would have transformed my daily experiences of isolation, irritation, exhaustion, and hopelessness.
Jesus knows what living a boring daily grind is like. He also knows what it’s like to have tired feet, and to feel overwhelmed, to be exhausted, as though you never get a moment to yourself. And (single moms this is just for you!), he also knows what it is like to be the single head of a household.
What do you suppose his life of sawing wood, hammering nails, striving for holiness, loving his neighbor, longing for a bride, was like? It was just like yours. He isn’t ‘out of touch with our reality.’
Get that. He knows what it is to live the life you’re living.
Except, of course, he didn’t sin.
His obedience means first, that he was qualified to bear the punishment for our sin and secondly, that his perfect record of always having obeyed is yours and mine right now.
And that, dear sisters, means that every time you need help, every time you feel like you’re just not going to make it, every time that child needs something again, you’ve got a friend in really high places. He understands what you’re going through and he’s promised to be there with you, supplying all the grace you actually need for that day.
He gets it. He gets you.
Better yet…you get him.
We claim to believe it, but what really stirs in our hearts when we don’t get the job we applied for? How about when our kids disobey, or don’t do things the way we hope? What runs through our minds when dinner burns, or—even more practically—when our little one wakes early and interrupts our morning “quiet time?”...
What if we accepted the beauty that God, in his sovereignty, wants to cultivate something different than we expected in the hours of that missed nap? We might have a fussy toddler on one hip and a screaming baby on the other, but circumstances like these press us into the joy of sanctification that the Lord graciously ordained in order that we might look more like his Son.
He isn’t asking us to go anywhere that he himself hasn’t been. Isn’t this what Jesus did for us over 2,000 years ago as he prayed, ““Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
By his example, Jesus enables us to surrender everything about our lives for the sake of those around us.
So many of us entered motherhood feeling totally unequipped for the task, both emotionally and practically. Whether it was questions about how to soothe a gassy infant or questions about how to keep going on days with 3 hours of sleep, the need for helpers arrives swiftly at the doorstep. With all of these insecurities, and a real need for guidance, we quickly can find ourselves needing a mentor.
While that sounds good in theory, is it realistic to find a mentor in motherhood? And even if you find someone, how do you approach them and what should your expectations be? Here are 3 quick thoughts I have on engaging a mentor:
Like most mothers, I have high hopes for the weeks leading up to Christmas. In my mind, we calmly put up dozens of ornaments, read long passages of scripture as a family by candlelight, and marvel at the presents piling under the tree.
The main issue with this vision? I'm pretending that my very young children are as capable as 10-yr-olds. I'm ignoring and wishing away this season of life, hoping for the future days of good tidings and great joy, feeling a little resentful that today's Christmas season looks pretty different.