But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
That is such an encouraging verse, isn’t it? How many times in mothering these little ones do we feel like we are just going to collapse from how exhausted we are? Mothering little ones is a never ending task, and it takes all we have to keep going. Here’s what I’ve learned though. I don’t have what it takes to be an awesome mom. I can’t do it all. I can’t teach my kids how to follow Jesus. I can’t do this mom thing…apart from Christ. He has to be my strength, my all. I have to keep surrendering fully to Him every moment of every day, for His word reminds us:
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Boy, is it hard, though. When your temper reaches to the point of no return. When you are trying to write something to encourage other moms, and your three year old WILL NOT nap. WILL NOT! When you look at their face of pure exhaustion, but they just sit in their room and play, but then cry over every little thing. Oh my word. Olivia is in that phase right now, she is completely exhausting. Many times, I just don’t know what to do with her. When I try to teach her or correct her, it’s like talking to a wall many times. She really doesn’t seem to get it. It’s like talking to someone who has the hearing aids off. I know it will be better in a while. She will develop, she will grow, she will change. How do I know? Because I’ve seen it with my oldest Jacob, who’s five now.
Jacob was awful at three. He bit other kids, hit them for no reason. He hit and bit Olivia as a little baby, it was so awful. I would just cry out to God at nap time, because I literally had no idea how to parent him. No idea what to do next. But God would show me moment by moment, day by day, and now I have quite a son. He obeys most of the time, and most importantly has quite a passion for Jesus. He’s sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and the stuff he says sometimes can only come from God, in its wisdom. He truly astounds me sometimes. He still has his moments, but he is so much more fun to be around.
I share these two examples, especially for those of you that may have one, and you might not be that far on your parenting journey. Your just not sure that it could ever get better. Being a mom is hard, it is the hardest job I’ve ever done, and I’ve worked in many different areas. It’s mind numbing and overwhelming, but, it’s gets easier. I promise. It’s still not easy, but easier. I’m only to five, so I can only share wisdom from that viewpoint. I’m out of the baby stage with both kids, so I’m not so foggy anymore. I can usually think clearly, and I get to sleep through the night most of the time. That’s how I know. That’s why I want to encourage you to keep going. Cling to Christ with all your might. Cry in the bathroom for a bit, lock the door. Take the deep breath you need and ignore the fingers under the door. Let it go. Pray. God’s got you, like you have those kiddos. Keep trusting. Pray through that tantrum, put that kid in their room, or just walk away, and talk to them when they are calm. Sing in that fussy baby’s ear songs about Jesus to calm the both of you. You are doing it, you just keep clinging, this bad moment won’t last forever, He is there with you, and He won’t leave you to deal with it alone.
Something else I’d like to talk about is this mom guilt thing. My friend Mandy helped me with some ideas for this post, and the mom guilt thing was on her list. Man, guilt is ugly, ugly as sin. Don’t listen to the mom guilt! It’s Satan whispering in your ears telling you straight up lies. Like you are a horrible mother, and you can never get it right. You and I have NEVER been horrible mothers. That would be pretty hard to accomplish. Even if it were true, God’s grace is there to help you change, and to forgive you. Also, the not getting it right thing. I’ve learned that there is not really very many black and white things about parenting, so it’s pretty hard to get it wrong. Satan and lies work in extremes, so most of these lies, if we can see them for what they are, are certainly ridiculous. We need to fight back with truth always. Fight back with the word of God. Satan hates to hear God’s word. When you feel like you are failing as a mother, think of all that you HAVE done in a day, not what you haven’t. You got your kid up, fed them, dressed them, and talked to them. You got yourself up, dressed, and tried to look somewhat presentable. You got out of bed, lady!! You made some coffee, and maybe ate something. These are great achievements in the world of motherhood, and if you managed to go somewhere with the kids, well, hallelujah, that is truly a miracle. These things all count! If you have a newborn, and you fed them, and took care of them, and did nothing else. Well, that’s enough, that is a beautiful, wonderful thing. You are all doing it, the kids are all alive, and so are you!!
I know being a mom is so full of discouragement, and dare I say, hopelessness at times. It’s almost suffocating. You can’t always eat your dinner warm, as a friend and I were discussing the other night. You just eat after they are in bed, because, well, it’s easier. That’s normal. That’s okay. It’s a season, this too shall pass. I know you are tired of all the dishes and the cleaning. Try to use this mess as a reminder of the beautiful blessings we have in our homes. Pray over their places at the table as you wipe them down. Pray at the sink as you fill the dishwasher or scrub those pans. This is the beautiful work God has given you at this time, and when He watches you, He is pleased. Pour out all of yourself, and watch as Jesus lovingly fills you back up again, so that you can take care of all of those around you. In ways you never thought you could. This is where God is growing us. He is stretching us, and pulling that selfishness right out. It’s painful, it hurts. It’s infuriating, and at times, too much to bear. This is where our faith becomes real. This is where we see how much we need Jesus. If we want to show others how much we love Jesus, it’s by being the mothers He has called us to be.
Living out your faith is hard as a mom, the kids take almost everything, we feel there’s nothing left. I know that there’s that little mustard seed inside you. Keep watering it and growing it as you walk this bumpy road. Don’t let it die. Get a bible or bible study app, something you can do in a few minutes. You can read it while nursing or when your kid is playing. Fit it in where you can, keep filling your heart with His beautiful word. He will take it and grow it! He is so faithful, even when we give Him so little. Write in your journal as you can, just jot things down. Get those crazy thoughts out of that head of yours. Lay all of those emotions and thoughts at His feet. He is waiting to take your burden, He’s waiting to fill you up again. Our kids need us, and the thing we must remember is that THEY are our ministry. They are our work, and it is so rewarding. There could never be more important work, making disciples. You are doing it, momma. Keep going, surrender all to Him, and He will sustain you for the work ahead.
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6