I know you were expecting to dig deeper into Exodus today. I was too, until yesterday when I realized the little talk I shared with my church on Sunday about motherhood, might be beneficial for you too. (With a few extras because well, I thought of a few more things.)
So let’s just start with how motherhood isn’t quite what I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to be a mom. I love those little peanuts. But the need to dig deeper for godliness in the midst motherhood – the part I least expected.
After all, my mom made it look easy. Patiently redoing my ponytails over and over, because I was just sure it was crooked! Keeping her cool when I stomped to my room angry because life just wasn’t FAIR! Taking me shopping when I insisted I had absolutely NOTHING to wear.
So easy in fact, when Kreg and I had our first son, I confidently told her we’d be fine our first night home. “We’ve got this, he’s such a great baby. We’re good. Go home.” But she knew and wasn’t surprised when I called sobbing at 2 AM because for some crazy reason my perfect baby wouldn’t go to sleep!
Little did I realize, how much motherhood would challenge me. How much it’d change me. How it’d blaringly point out all the ways I was selfish. How it’d be the hardest thing I’d ever done. The long days, the even longer nights. The exhaustion, the perseverance, the necessity of patience – none of which I registered for at Babies R’ Us.
Then came baby number two. Our precious little girl. I was elated, but how in the world, I ask you, do you grocery shop with two? How do you even get out the door? By the time you get ready to go, it’s time to come. Let alone, how are you supposed to take a shower? (With a vibrating baby seat and a Curious George episode – that’s how.)
Then, another boy – our Ethan. And not long after that – our Tyler. Four beautiful babies – my heart so full it could burst. Yet at the same time – so did my days explode with the needs and wants of four little people. The word mommy screamed, cried, yelled, spoken, whispered, whined, and repeated. And me running in four different directions for four different reasons at any given moment, racked with guilt for dreaming of a hotel someplace far away – maybe just for a night or two or seven.
Why was I not any good at this? (Ever felt that way mom’s?) Why did it seem as though motherhood brought out the worst in me, and the best in everyone else? (Because doesn’t it seem that way sometimes?)
Yet again at my breaking point I made another phone call. “MOM – How do I do this? I can’t do this.”
Her calm and familiar voice: “You’re right honey, you can’t.” (Not quite what I was expecting.) “But Jesus can.”
“But you did it mom, why is it so hard for me?”
“No that’s not true. I didn’t do it. I just clung to Jesus and let him do the rest.”
Words never truer, I’m grateful for her honesty and wisdom.
It’s funny, or perhaps ironic, or maybe more like astoundingly perfect, that the very things I was lacking, desiring, and in desperate need of were the very fruits God promised if I’d simply abide in him – joy, patience, kindness, perseverance, gentleness, love, peace. God knew I couldn’t do this life, this job, without Him, and He never expected me to.
It wasn’t more sleep I needed or time away or better behaved children or a housekeeper (though I wouldn’t mind that one), but the presence of He who tells the waves to come this far and NO further. The strength of He who holds this world tightly together. And the love of He who died for it.
It’s tempting to think the things that come most naturally to us, are the very things we shouldn’t need help with. Thinking our abilities should sustain us, and our instincts carry us – it’s there at the edge of independence we often fall short and then wonder what happened. “Guess I’m not as good as I thought.”
But it’s not our ability that matter’s, it’s Christ’s. It’s not our instincts that carry us, it’s Jesus. His word a path to victory no matter the road, the job, the disappointment, the difficulty. Paving the way for all of us whether a mom, a wife, an employee, a leader, a student, a friend.
Verse after verse spoken to the church or through the prophets or for the people of Israel thousands of years ago still pertinent today. Encouraging me. Directing me. Uplifting me.
Phil 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I can be a godly mom amid chaos.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” I can keep my cool, when no one else is.
Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, [even diapers] giving thanks to God the Father through him.” I can get up with gratitude and do it again.
1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him, because He cares for you.” And I can do it without being anxious.
Phil. 2:3-4 “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” [even your children]. “Looking not only to my own interests, but also to the interests of others.” My mantra for motherhood.
And so on and so forth. I could go on forever. His word giving me the courage to write weekly devotionals and post them for the world to see. His word guiding me as I parent. His word softening my heart in some areas and making me braver in others.
So that today and tomorrow and the next my very full cup can runneth over not just with craziness but godliness. Because contrary to popular belief, I don’t have it all together. I just seek to cling to the one who does.