I’m about to tell the truth. The whole truth and nothing but the truth. So hold on tight. This whole mothering thing. This whole mommy business. Well it’s just not quite what I imagined. It’s messier. Way way messier. And gut wrenching harder. Beyond challenging actually (whatever level comes after challenging). And tiring. And dare I even say it sometimes…disappointing. frustrating. borderline suffocating.
Devotional Scripture: Genesis 25:19-34
Key Verse: “For the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11
It’s a good thing the hospital didn’t offer Parenting 101: “The truth of what your life will really be like the next TEN TIRING YEARS.” Or I might have backed out. “You know what honey…I don’t think that’s quite what I had in mind. Let’s get cats or a gerbil or something less noisy.”
I know I’m making it sound like such a joy huh! Please don’t throw stones. I love my kids. I love them more than I ever thought I could love. But it’s different…way different. Requiring so much more selflessness, so much more patience, so much more praying than I ever expected. Stretching me in ways I didn’t know I could bend. Revealing the ugly in me I didn’t know was there.
Never did I imagine I’d seek ways of escape. Plotting and scheming for just a little alone time. Never did I imagine I’d have to walk away to control my rage. Never did I imagine I’d feel so much guilt. Or anxiety, or heartbreak, or worry. Especially when they’re sick, or sad, or struggling, or screaming. But neither did I imagine the hilarity. The chest exploding pride. The beyond anything I’ve ever experienced joy of watching them succeed.
But it’s different. (At least for me.) And if I had to wager a guess…I think you’d say the same…about many parts of life, not just parenting. So say it. It feels good to say…it’s different. Different than you imagined.
And I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say I think it was different for Rebekah too. Think about it. When her strapping husband leaned in close and told her of the awesome promises God had made to his family. The inheritance that was all his. What do you think she expected? I think she expected babies. Lots and lots of babies! But it didn’t happen. Over and over it didn’t happen. For twenty excruciatingly long years.
Apparently the fate of her deceased mother-in-law was upon her as well. (And would be on Rachel too). Why? I don’t know. I don’t know why things have to be so hard sometimes. Except that it grows our faith. And makes us cry to God. And makes us need Him for strength and peace and the ability to smile yet another day. And maybe (as some really smart scholars say) it’s because God was making a point to them and to us that salvation comes by him alone. The fulfillment of the promise would be His doing and His only.
So she waited. But when it happened. When it finally happened…it wasn’t quite what she imagined. It was different. In fact something insanely crazy was going on inside her womb. So much so she inquired of the LORD. Who informed her it was twins. Twins that would grow to be two nations, two peoples. And the older would serve the younger.
Sidenote: We cannot get around the theme of election in Scripture. It’s there and should not be denied. But needs to be bathed in the fact that God is love (1 John 4:8). God does not wish that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). And He is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands” (Ex. 34:6-7). God has a right to choose some for noble purposes and some for not. Because he is God. (see Romans 9) But this should not be upsetting. It should not send us spiraling in a tumultuous somersault. Because He is trustworthy. Any God who would leave heaven to put on human skin so He can spend eternity with people like us is undoubtedly trustworthy, right? So I’m good with it. And shall move on…
When Rebekah gave birth, the first son to come out “came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak.” Not quite the soft newborn she may have been expecting. The second came out holding the heel of his brother. A sign of tumultuous times to come.
For whatever reason Rebekah did not gel with Esau like she did Jacob. Yet as a mother I have to believe she loved him. Because I just can’t imagine not loving my child. Though it likely wasn’t easy. The boys were different as night and day. Isaac favored Esau and she favored Jacob. Was it the happy home full of freeze tag and craft times and snuggles she expected?
Or was it different? Not quite all she had hoped for. Because truth be told…a relationship with Jesus is the only thing that will ever really satisfy. Not marriage or mothering or vacationing or succeeding. Not being skinny or winning a bajillion dollars in the lottery. Not even Joanna Gaines revamping my entire home. (Booooooo…I was really hoping for that too!)
Just Jesus. Just Him. And His all-sufficient presence. And holiness. And peace. And joy.
He’s the only one who can fill us with all we’re looking for. The one who holds the key to the ever allusive door of contentment. Who can satisfy our desires in the scorched places. (Did you catch the key verse?) Have any scorched places? Disappointments so raw they’ve left burns? Together let’s throw ourselves unsparingly at His feet for not just healing but fulfillment in the spaces charred with defeat. For it’s He who makes things beautiful. My home, my heart, my attitude, my children, my marriage, the dreaded grocery shopping, even the laundry. Well maybe not the laundry.There’s just nothing pretty about poopy hog clothes. And that’s the truth. (Told you I was gonna tell the truth.)
Seek Jesus my friend. First and foremost seek Jesus. Because HE will NEVER disappoint you.
Contemplate and Evaluate:
Are you chasing dreams or date nights or wants or adventures for happiness? Or are you simply seeking Jesus?
Has life been different than you thought? How so? How might a deeper relationship with Jesus change things?